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Platycodon (Balloon Flowers): Number 7 in a Garden Photo Series

Updated on January 4, 2018
Balloon Flowers have delightful habits and stunning blooms! Known as Platycodons in some circles, children love their common name.
Balloon Flowers have delightful habits and stunning blooms! Known as Platycodons in some circles, children love their common name. | Source

Do You See Flowering Balloons? Then You See Platycodons!

Also known as Balloon Flowers these delightful plants are so named because their blooms look like hot air balloons. Platycodons may be blue, pink, or white and they are easy to grow, coming back to have a party in your garden year after year.

Before you read more, try saying this three times real fast:

"Platycodon blooms flower like balloons." :)

(If you did it, you are probably already familiar with this garden favorite!)

A Quick TIme-Lapse View of Platycodon Greeting the World!

The Balloon Flower has so Many Names!

Among other names, this flower is also known as the Chinese Bell Flower. The delightful Platycodon has unique blooms with the amazing habit of forming a fat bud, then blowing up like a balloon before unfurling their sturdy petals into a crisp 5-point star shaped like a cup.

Being one of the charmers of my garden, I look forward to them each year because their behavior and presentation are so striking. Their five petaled balloons bloom into beautiful stars. They happily astonish most visitors, stopping them in their tracks, even little children who often want to touch them with one tiny finger.

No matter what they are called, kids seem to simply accept the fact that this is just the way Balloon Flowers were created and go on to enjoy and explore them. Grown ups who have never seen them before always insist on knowing what they are and finding out more about them. Without fail, everyone is curious about the Platycodon!

Platycodon: Enjoy a Time-Lapse Look at the Blooming Process

Blooming Balloon Flowers!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Delicate, yet sturdy.Tiny buds surprise!Look what they become.A regal flower.Platycodons are stand outs.Small buds begin to balloon.Balloons grow largerThen they are stars!As soon as first blooms fade, new ones pop out.
Delicate, yet sturdy.
Delicate, yet sturdy. | Source
Tiny buds surprise!
Tiny buds surprise! | Source
Look what they become.
Look what they become. | Source
A regal flower.
A regal flower. | Source
Platycodons are stand outs.
Platycodons are stand outs. | Source
Small buds begin to balloon.
Small buds begin to balloon. | Source
Balloons grow larger
Balloons grow larger | Source
Then they are stars!
Then they are stars! | Source
As soon as first blooms fade, new ones pop out.
As soon as first blooms fade, new ones pop out. | Source

Platycodons are Intriguing Flowers that Bloom with a Pop

While I have an affinity for white flowers, and I do hope to grow white platycodons one day, the brilliance of this purplish-blue color is not very common. My Mariesii is a stand out no matter what else it is planted with. There is another blue that is a dwarf (like the white) and I am thinking of mixing them in a bed in the near future.

I’ve read that Balloon Flowers are delicate plants, but mine have proved to be very hardy, even recovering well when someone who shall remain unnamed stumbled and dropped a package large enough to turn the pot that the balloon flowers were growing in completely over and roll it into a stand of creeping phlox. (I’m glad I saw the event, for I would have found the whole story hard to believe otherwise.)

In that tipsy pot, my first blue balloons of this season were beginning to open under the podocarpus they have been growing with for several years now. I’ve divided them once, and hope to again this year. They grow well from seed, and I plan to harvest those for the first time this year. I’ve never tried to grow them from cuttings, but it is my understanding that it can be done.

Although these flowers can be encouraged to continue blooming by deadheading the plants, Balloon Flowers do have a fairly short bloom season in my area. I’ve decided to try to grow them in several places throughout my front islands in order to get as much impact as possible from their showtime. I especially want to start a stand in view of my kitchen window in which they can multiply at will.

Native as far north as Siberia, they do well in many areas, but are generally hardy in zones 3-8. They like moist soil that drains well, making them great companions for other plants in pots or in garden beds. I’m training my potted podocarpus into a simple topiary shape and the platycodons do a great job of filling in around its base.

Had you ever heard of platycodons before reading this hub?

See results

An Enchanting Garden Walk--Find the Platycodons!

Photos and Videos of Platycodon (Balloon Flowers) for Your Viewing Pleasure

I hope you enjoy the photo montage. I put it together before their trip across the lawn. I enjoyed trying to catch them in that afternoon's lighting. Too bad I didn’t catch their journey of that very evening on camera!

Be sure to check out the included videos of Balloon Flowers opening up, too. It’s pretty incredible to watch them do what they do! If you want to hear more about growing this flowering perennial, catch the video below, just above the comments.

Enjoy a closer look at the happy balloon flower (platycodons) and see if you can resist including them somewhere in your own garden! If you do, you'll find them to be a faithful friend.

Sunlight for Balloon Flowers

Are You Familiar with the Amazing Balloon Flower?

Submit a Comment
  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from the short journey


    You might want to contact your local extension agent on that oddity! I hope you get to enjoy the real deal this year, though this heat wave has turned things upside down. Thanks much for stopping in.

  • profile image


    4 years ago

    I too have balloon flowers (blue) that don't open! They are neat in the balloon phase, but I'd like to see them open. I thought there might be some sort of secret, but it sounds like we have an oddity e. jordano!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from the short journey

    rajan jolly:

    Thanks for taking a look at these platycodons and for letting me know you enjoyed the hub!

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 

    6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

    These are amazingly beautiful flowers. Watching them open was a real treat. Voted up & beautiful.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey


    Thanks much for letting me know you enjoyed seeing this plant here and for all of your input.

  • molometer profile image


    7 years ago from United Kingdom

    These Platycodons are beautiful and the time lapse was a real treat. Thanks for sharing some lovely images. Tweeting.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey

    Trees for me:

    So glad you enjoyed this and learned about a new-to-you flower. Thanks much for letting me know. I hope you get to grow platycodons soon!

  • Trees for me profile image

    Trees for me 

    7 years ago from

    Really interesting videos! I enjoyed the time lapse very much and happily discovered a new beautiful flower. :)

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from the short journey

    Eloise Hope:

    You are welcome! Thank you for stopping in with your comment. Balloon flowers do like sun, but I know what you mean about that dusky gardening--dangerous stuff! Do try them again--they are terrific!

  • Eloise Hope profile image

    Eloise Hope 

    7 years ago from Portland, Oregon, USA

    Thanks for this - I tried growing them once, but (I guessed) they didn't have enough sun in their location. Although possibly I pulled them out by accident...I do too much gardening at dusk! I think I might try them again, in a sunnier spot. Very pretty pictures.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from the short journey

    e. jordano:

    I've never heard of such a thing! It would be interesting to know about that oddity. I'll see what I can find out. That's strange, but I like the balloon phase so much that I wouldn't say it's all bad.

  • profile image

    e. jordano 

    8 years ago

    My blue balloon flowers never open. They stay balloons! I have pink ones that open. They grow side-by-side. Is there a reason the blue ones don't open? I've had them for at least 5 years.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from the short journey


    So glad you enjoy balloon flowers and this hub. Appreciate your visit very much!

  • Erika Marie profile image

    Erika Moriarty 

    8 years ago from Pennsylvania

    My balloon flowers are going to bloom any day now, I am excited! They are one of my favorites in my garden. Thanks for a great hub!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from the short journey


    Thanks much--so glad you enjoyed the photos. :)

  • KarenBorn2Write profile image


    8 years ago from Lincoln, CA

    Stunning photos! What a show-stopper of vibrant color! Thanks for the Hub.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from the short journey

    They truly are amazing. Glad you enjoyed the hub.

    Thanks much for coming by and commenting!

  • davenmidtown profile image

    David Stillwell 

    8 years ago from Sacramento, California

    These are wonderful flowers. I may have to find a spot to try them out in my garden. Thank you for the great article too!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from the short journey

    It's been fun to introduce so many HP friends to the balloon flower! Yes, they are definitely like a miniature clematis once they are open.

    So glad you stopped by for a visit. Thanks for your input!

  • DayLeeWriter profile image

    Debra Cornelius 

    8 years ago from Georgia

    I'm not familiar balloon flowers, they remind me of the clemitis my grandmother used to grow, except clemitis are a vining trellis flower. Loved the slideshow!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from the short journey

    Thanks so much, anginwu, both for your visit and input!

  • anglnwu profile image


    8 years ago

    Gorgeous, blue balloons are dainty and beautiful. Great hub with wonderful information. Rated up.

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from the short journey

    Thank you, prasetio30, both for your visit and for your kind input. I very much appreciate that you came by!

  • prasetio30 profile image


    8 years ago from malang-indonesia

    I love flowers and you make this hub more beautiful. I had never heard about Platycodons before. Thanks for share with us. Rated up!


  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from the short journey

    Thank you for visiting. Happy to introduce you to these very nice garden friends and glad this was helpful!

  • sofs profile image


    8 years ago

    Beautiful!!beautiful!! Love them, I have never seen them before. Informative hub. Thanks for sharing

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from the short journey

    Thank you Chatkath! I will try to plan some landscape photography projects in the future, but right now would not be a good time to try it for the early heat has already taken its toll on many tender spring plants. I have two areas that I want to rework this summer (since it didn't happen this spring) and maybe I can get some landscape practice in with those. As always, I appreciate your visit and input very much!

  • Chatkath profile image


    8 years ago from California

    I just love your garden and flower hubs! That would be a treat to see the garden R. I am sure it is beautiful! Good Job!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from the short journey

    Movie Master:

    I'm glad that I was able to introduce you to this delightful plant. I hope you can find them in every color!

    Thanks much for your visit and kind comments!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from the short journey

    Becky Puetz:

    It's very gratifying to know that the hub was helpful and inspiring! Thank you kindly for stopping in and sharing your input. If you write about your balloon flower garden experience be sure to let me know so I can link the hub here. Appreciate your visit!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from the short journey


    So glad you enjoyed this. It was fun to put it together. Learning to use my cameras really well is going to take some time, but at least I've finally started! Maybe one spring we'll plan an around the world garden trip with fellow hubbers. :) Since we have an early spring, and you have a late spring (relatively speaking) we could get to all the gardens in one year. :) We are having a little heat wave and will be facing summer temps soon. Our spring is saying "goodbye" for the year!

  • Becky Puetz profile image

    8 years ago from Oklahoma

    I learned a great deal about balloon flowers through your hub. I plan to try my hand at growing these beauties. I love white too, it's my favorite color. The pictures are beautiful and I enjoyed the videos too. Thanks for an awesome Hub.

  • thougtforce profile image

    Christina Lornemark 

    8 years ago from Sweden

    Another one of my favorite! The Platicydon is amazing and so is this hub! The video of a Platicydon opening was wonderful to see:) Like you I wait for more colors of this beauty, maybe someone will take an interest and succeed with it. But for now the blue color is quite enough and well worth growing. I would love to see your garden. From your great photos I am sure it is an adventure to see it all. Even though it is great to have virtual garden friends, imagine how great it would be to visit! Sharing with others is one of the great things with garden lovers! And don´t get me wrong; I so enjoy to see the beautiful bits from your garden! And I agree with Pamela that a panoramic view from your garden would be fantastic too:)


  • Movie Master profile image

    Movie Master 

    8 years ago from United Kingdom

    I had never heard of the balloon flower, what a delight it is, I am on a mission tomorrow to buy some, I love the video, brilliant hub, thank you so much!

  • RTalloni profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from the short journey

    So glad I was able to introduce you to these fun friends! :)

    I may be able to do a panoramic view one day but it may not be before next spring. Right now we are fighting this heat wave. All the blooms are hanging on for dear life, but their little heads are drooping. We are about 10 degrees above our norm this week. It won't stay this way, but when it happens this early everything blooms early and suffers. I'm trying to plan some heat tolerant bloomers for the coming summer!

    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting, Pamela.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    I was not familiar with these flowers and they are beautiful. I wish you could do a panoramic view of all of your garden as the flowers you've consistently shown are so lovely.


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