Very useful perennial – it features it in lots of our borders. The mid- to dark-green foliage emerges in late spring; while it's not particularly noteworthy, it holds up through the rest of the season, well after flowering. Of course the main show is the swelling buds, which give the plant its common name, and the bowl-shaped flowers that follow. We grow a few different varieties. Our mainstay is 'Sentimental blue', with rich blue flowers on a compact, bushy plant. The others, white and Axminster Streaked, are more upright, which makes them a little more difficult to place in the garden.
||ordinary garden soil
||germinate at room temperature
detailed seed-starting info below
|Seed ripens||late September||
||Although the plain species has blue flowers, non-blue cultivars seem to often revert to white from seed. The plant in this picture was grown from the same seed batch as the Axminster Streaked in the background; likewise, plants we grew from seed collected from 'Fuji Pink' came out pure white.
|Flowers come more freely on the third-year plants. |
|In late October, balloonflowers are strong contributors to the autumn foliage scene, their leaves turning a rich butter yellow that's especially striking when the sun comes out to play
|Streaked buds on Axminster, too |
This plant used to grow in our garden, but it slipped away...
Seed for this plant is included on my seed trade list
One or more images of this plant are included in my stock photo catalog
About my plant portraits
PlantLinks to other web pages about Platycodon grandiflorus
Visitors to this page have left the following comments
|Sandra Trentz||Aug 22, 2005||Rob,
You are a joy and a wonder! This is exactly the plant. My neighbor, Penny, has been showing it and asking folks if they knew what it was ever since the first bud opened in early July. When I show her this, she'll probably bake me some cookies! Thanks so very much. Sandra|
Glad I could help - enjoy your cookies :-)
|Aurosylle||Jun 02, 2006|| i did a search for Platycodon grandiflorus because i just saw one flowering for the first time, here in south India and its a wonder to behold. Wanted a bit more info on how to keep them growing,what conditions and so on.Great photos, thanks.|
|c-crook||Apr 22, 2008||This page has more good info then any of the others I have looked at. Pictures are great. Have been looking at this plat in my daughters yard and want to find one.|
|susan suchowski||Aug 19, 2008||hi - i bought this lovely perennial - it bloomed nicely and now it's growing and there are buds (small ones) but the buds haven't gotten any bigger and obviously hasn't produced flowers in weeks! i don't know how to make this happen. i fertilize - lots of water daily - what shall i do? any assistance will be appreciated. susan s.|
Are you sure what you're looking at are buds? I suspect they are developing seedboxes, and that your perennial is done blooming for the season. That gives you something to anticipate for next year!
|Kathy Firth||Jun 06, 2009||I have a plant similar to balloon plant in its bud formation, but the flowers, when opened, resemble a tulip. Could you advise me on possibilities for identifying this pretty plant? Thank you!|
Check out the Name That Plant forum at gardenweb.com!
|Shirley, Dallas Texas||Jun 29, 2009||I love your page, but I would like to know must I pinch off the flowers on my current balloon flowers for them to flower next year|
Pinching the spent flowers will keep the appearance of the plant tidy as new blooms appear - but it is not necessary for the plant's health or its flowering potential in future seasons.
|marie Riggs||Jul 01, 2009||IS there just one blooming a season? What can I do with the long fallen over stems with so many dead looking past blooms? It was beautiful when it bloomed but it is the beginning of July and I am wondering if there is a possibility of more blooms?|
All the ones we grow show off their flowers just once a season, in early summer. 'Sentimental Blue' keeps blooming for quite a while (deadheading may help to extend the duration of bloom). But once it stops producing flowers, it's done for the year.
|Doreen||Jul 02, 2009||Your page is very informative & appreciated. I've had a difficult time finding care information on these beautiful flowering plants. My balloon flowers have really taken off this year after being planted just last summer. I was under the impression that they will bloom all summer long, but after pinching off the dead blooms I'm left with a tall stem with lovely green foliage, but no more buds or blooms. Is this normal? Am I supposed to be pinching off the dead blooms afterall? LOL Also, in one of your comments above you talk about a "seedbox." What does that look like, please? Thanks for your help |
By 'seedbox' I meant the dry round fruiting body which contains the seeds. If you deadheaded the plant, none will develop.
|Jackie Myers||Jul 22, 2009||I was wondering how you collect seeds from Platycodon grandiflorus. I have the blue variety.|
Stop deadheading the flowers once the blooms start petering out, to let some of the round seedheads develop. Once they are tan and dry, you can pick them. Each will have many seeds rattling around inside - just break open to collect them.
|Ann Holmquest||Jul 25, 2009||Will this plant take a winter in New England?|
Easily - it's hardy to zone 3 or 4.
|jaye||Jul 31, 2009||I have a balloon flower that I would like to harvest the seeds from, however, I am not sure if the buds are finished? They are hard and round and have already bloomed but have found conflicting information about second blooms. I live in the shenandoah valley of virginia. Do I harvest the seeds in the fall or should I cut the buds now? Jdrhye@yahoo.com|
If the pods are dry, harvest them now.
|Christine||Aug 08, 2009||I, too am in Northern VA and happy to find some guidance on maintaining this flower. I bought two at peak bloom so I only had a couple of weeks of blossoms. I did deadhead them, thinking that letting the plant "focus" on settling into my garden was the better idea. I have lots of stems with no heads, but figure next year I can prune more closely. I do have a few seedpods that I am letting go, but they are still a long way from being dry.|
|GAIL||Aug 26, 2009||My Platycodon grandiflorus (baloon flower) is done blooming, do I cut the plant back??|
You can certainly prune off the spent flowers. I would not remove all of the top growth, since the plant is still storing energy for next year's growth and blooms.
|Doreen||Aug 30, 2009||Thanks so much for your info on the seedboxes. When I harvest the seedboxes should I plant the seeds indoors now? If & when I get a start off the seeds, will they produce perennial plants? |
I think it's better to wait till early spring to start them. The offspring will certainly be perennial.
|Winifred||Sep 24, 2009||My baloon flower behaves differently when in ground from in pots. First year in pots, they did not bloom. Second year I moved half to inground. In ground they grew to 3 feet tall and bloomed in late august. The in pot plants did not bloom second year and grew to only 8" high. Any suggestions on how to keep them in ground , grow to 1-2 feet in height and bloom all summer? I am in zone 4 in the Catskills, NY.|
All I can say is - keep experimenting. You won't get all summer bloom from a balloonflower, but you can probably get the height you desire by choosing the correct placement. Did your pot plants get sun most of the day? How about the in-ground plants? You may be able to pinch them back in late May to control their height, although I've not tried that myself.
|Marjorie A||Oct 13, 2009||I read on the 'net' that if balloon plant is deadheaded they will not produce flowers the rest of the season. Your opinion please?|
That doesn't sound right. Many plants will continue blooming longer if they are regularly deadheaded. I'm not sure if the bloom period for balloon plants is prolonged by deadheading, but removing the spent flowers certainly won't stop the plant from blooming more.
|Dan||Oct 18, 2009||Can this plant be grown inside at all? My grandmother has some of them in her flowerbed. I live in an apartment and wanted to have one to remember her each time i looked at it. Any suggestions?|
My guess is it would be difficult to get enough light. And the plant needs its cold cycle through the winter to renew itself.
|Chuck||Jan 20, 2010||Are there any varieties of this plant that are shorter than Fuji. I would like to get seed for a shorter plant. Any recommendations?|
Sentimental Blue is a bushy plant that grows 12-18" tall. In my opinion the most useful balloonflower (of the ones I've grown) in most garden settings.
|Janus Avery||Mar 22, 2010||i grew some of these and they are great! i live in the desert most of the year, and these grew awesomly. i highly recommend growing this flowers, for those of you who live in rural, hard and dry areas like mine!|
|Carol||Apr 26, 2010||My platycodon grandiflorus mareseii come up in late spring and grow for about a week. Then they become 'frayed' looking, cease growing and disappear. They do come up every year, however. They just don't flourish. What is happening? |
|pat madison||Apr 30, 2010||I have been growing a deep blue Balloon Flower for 3 years. Last year I took off the spent blooms and I did get more flowers than when I didn't the year before that. I noticed this year when the plant first came up the stems were blue and marked in an unusual crisscross pattern. At this time the tops are green but the blue color is still at the base. I have never seen a plant like this before. It is most unusual.
I read this year not to transplant but instead to cut down into the root with a sharp knife and plant and I will get a new plant. I am just now in the process of trying this. I also saved seed and have sown them in open soil. This is a beautiful perennial and deserves to be grown more than it is.|
|S.Lee||May 31, 2010||After growing this for 3 years, you need to move the plant to new soil. When the leaves start to wilt, it means it's gotten all the nutrients it can get from the soil. It's time to move to new land (soil). No chemical fertilizer either. If you use chemical fertilizer, it'll rot the roots of the plant. (translated from Asian native source.)|
Interesting advice - I'm sure it must be true in some situations, but I've had specimens in place much longer than three years without declining plant health. Soil composition and fertility of course vary considerably from garden to garden.
|Davy||Jun 24, 2010||I'm growing this plant again after many years and I wanted to share my own experience about growing it in pots. I had them on a balcony years ago and they grew well, and his year I've traded for some seeds and they have happily germinated in their pot, just left outside to be watered by the rain: An easy plant to grow in containers. At the end of the season they'll go into my mother's garden, and I'll be surprised if they don't thrive there as well.|
|bzmich||Jul 15, 2010||Rob, as with many tall perennials, I reduce the height of the foliage in mid spring to about half of each clump of my balloon flowers. This gives me a staggering timeframe of blooming as well as a bit a variety in the plant height when in bloom.
I do that with some of my perennials as well - but the balloonflower rises so late, and then grows so quickly, that I've never tried it. Thanks for the tip, I'll try to remember next year.
|Mary Beth||Aug 07, 2010||I got Axminster Streaked seed from you several years ago and the plant bloomed for the first time this year. What a beauty!|
|bubung||Aug 10, 2010||i have grown this doraji seeds since a week ago in my backyard (i live in Indonesia) but it has'nt grown yet. how long can it grow from seeds to plants normally? does it have similarities with ginseng? what is the usage of this plant's root? what is the other part of this plant that can we use? thanks for the answer|
Germination shouldn't take long - I would expect you to see seedlings soon. I don't believe there is any similarity to ginseng, and am not aware of any usage of the root. I just grow it for its pretty buds and flowers.
|Rita||Aug 14, 2010||I have just bought my first two white flowering plants in pots at the moment,and read with interest on how to prolong the flowering. As I live in the UK I was wondering whether you can advise me on the best place to plant them outside, and if I should collect seeds for the next year.|
Collecting seeds is always a good idea :-). However, these plants are very hardy, so I would expect them to stay in your garden for years. As for placement - that depends on the stature of these particular plants. As long as they get at least half-day sun, they'll be happy. The only tricky part is their late emergence in spring - you may want to mark their location, or place them somewhere you won't forget about them when you're rearranging your borders in early spring.
|pam ridley||Aug 16, 2010||I recently bought this plant which was just about dead when i got it at just 20p, did not have a clue what it was or if it flowered. I asked my grandson to look on the internet to see what he could find out about it, he came up with your page, it looks like i got a real beauty and a bargin to boot. Hope it will do well in northern england. You page was realy helpfull will add it to my favourtites.
Thanks for the helpfull info.|
|doris petterson||Aug 21, 2010||You can use bellflowerroot in different korean, chinees and japanees dishis and sallads: In Korea I have seen with my own eyes the blue ones in places where people growe there own vegetables. The korean man that followed me on the walk showed me them and told me what is was though I had not asked for it.
Now I want to try to growe them at home but I need seed for that. How can I get them? Do you know?|
Balloonflower seeds are not hard to find - most perennial seed suppliers carry one or more varieties. I usually have a few on my trade list, too.
|Angel||Dec 19, 2010||FINALLY I can buy and plant these again.
I bought quite a few of these yrs ago not knowing what I was getting as they were not labeled and not blooming at the time.
I enjoyed these year after year and was so surprised that they needed no care from me and continued to exceed my wildest imagination in color and hardiness. The blue was a rich, bright blue. Not light colored or transparent.
I moved from that house 3 1/2 yrs ago and have continued to try to find the name of the beautiful "sturdy blue star bushy" plants. Our garden shops just don't get far with my description.
I live in zone 6 and these truly needed NO help from me at all.
I am happy to learn about the medicinal properties of the roots as well.
Thanks for the navigation ease of your site.|
|Barbara Taylor||Dec 27, 2010||Mine just popped up in an old terracotta pot. How the seeds got there I do not know, I have only just discovered that it is a Balloon Plant, and am thrilled to know that I can propagate it. Mine is pure white, and just lovely. Thanks everyone for sharing.|
|Diane B from NC||Feb 07, 2011||I have had one for 12 years and I love it but never knew what it was (is). It grows every year and has gorgeous flowers. It grows about 4-5 feet tall. NOW I know what the name is !! This spring I will be transplanting from the bucket it has lived in to my front garden where I can see it every morning. Thanks for naming my plant.|
|Blake||Feb 24, 2011||The flowers that looked like tulips on this plant could have been a double flowered Balloon Flower at the stage before it fully opens up. Because the double flowers are heavier, I've read that the stems need support to stay vertical.
I ordered some Hakone double blue from hardyperennials and it was all dead. With scarification and 2 months I got one to germinate and am hoping it doesn't die.
I also read that the leaves from these plants are used in salads in Asia.|
|Sally N from kent||Jun 20, 2011||I bought this plant in Tesco's and very pleased with it and pleased to know more about this lovey plant when does it stop flowering mine is blue and it sits on the patio sun until mid afternoon and it seems very happy there and has lots of flowers on it|
|Blake||Jul 01, 2011||Just wanted to correct myself. I bought them from hardyplants (aka specialty perennials).
The only one I was able to germinate has grown and instead of dark blue double Hakone, I got a lighter purple single-flowered balloon flower. So disappointing after all this time. I really recommend against this seed website despite the huge variety they have. There are so many complaints against them.|
|Sunny||Jul 08, 2011||My balloon flowers are not blooming, but it is full of the hard pods that are left after the actual bloom is gone. Do I just cut these off or should I leave them to naturally dry and fall off? I would love for them to bloom longer. |
Do with the pods whatever suits your taste - if you want seeds, you'll need to let the pods develop until they are quite dry. Otherwise, you can remove them now. Deadheading benefits platycodons, resulting in longer bloom as well as more attractive plants. I think it's too late for that now, though, as seed development has already started.
|Julie||Aug 01, 2011||I have tons of seedlings and no patience to wait 2-3 years for nice bushes. I combined 10-12 seedlings from the garden into a tall growers pot back in May. They looked very sad and wilted for about a week or 2 even with plenty of water, now, in early August,they are doing great and blooming in the pots along with the parent plants. Do you think they will be ok to replant as is or have I overcrowded them?|
I would space them out further when you set them in the garden – balloonflowers get big fleshy roots.
|George Burrell||Aug 30, 2011||I bought two blue balloon plants from Morrisons supermarket in Ayrshire, Scotland in 2010 and put them in a long container. After they died back in winter if forgot they were there. Despite temps of minus 15 they popped up again this year, much to my surprise. I am going to get more varieties for next year. Thanks for all your tips on this forum|
|Elaine||Oct 04, 2011||I bought a platycodon plant earlier in the year, repotted it, and I have had no flowers on it all summer, and now the stems of the plant have all died and fallen off. I have repotted the tuber and put it in the shed. will it grow back next year and shall i keep it in light or dark over winter? |
This series of events makes me fear your plant is not healthy (did it get overwatered in its pot?) - but if it is, then it should survive winter just fine. Light or dark doesn't matter (it is potted under ground, after all), but you do want to prevent the soil from becoming either waterlogged or bone dry.
|holly hardison||Oct 07, 2011||do these plants spread on their own?|
They will become larger and stronger-growing from year to year, and if they're happy they can self-seed. But they don't spread by roots.
|Lettie Viljoen||Mar 23, 2012||Thank you so much for the most informative information about the platycodon that I have come accross. |
|freddie glenn||Apr 24, 2012||Purchased a ballon flower (blue) platycodon grandiflorus growing in a 2.5 qt pot. The soil here in grand prairie tx is like clay. I do have a small area in my yard where perennials grow well that have mixed soil. Will my ballow flower do well in a container and will I need to bring it inside the garage during the cold season? The prepared mixed area soil draings fairly well. NEED HELP.
This is such a beautify flower. Mature size 6-8" tall 18" wide. In the spot
mentioned would like to plant alone side the ballon flower pink dianthus and salvia is this ok? both grow 12-24"wide and tall.|
No problem with hardiness – ours survive just fine in our zone 6 garden. I don't consider platycodons to be particularly fussy about drainage. With some amendments to your clay soil, I think they'll do fine – as long as they can withstand the heat in summer (they may need afternoon shade in your climate).
|Liz Botkin||Jun 12, 2012||I am glad I found your page and was able to read responses to past questions. My husband and I just bought two 1-gallon containers of Pink Shell balloon flowers -- an impulse buy, I just loved them immediately. They look fantastic and help dredge my garden out of the monotony of day lilies and hostas. :)
My question is, is it normal for balloon flowers to be droopy or will this problem correct itself after my plants are established? All of the specimens at the garden center had long stems and profuse numbers of pink blooms, but were also flopping over and pretty much parallel with the ground. They look a little better now that I have them in the ground but still don't have as much structural integrity as I would expect from a plant this size. Thanks!|
Your plants should do fine and grow upright once they are firmly established. Until they are, make sure they receive a regular supply of water.
|AliKat (Hampshire, UK)||Jun 17, 2012||I have just bought my first ever platycodon from a garden centre. It was unusual in that it came with no plant information or care instructions but I was so taken by its unique appearance (it is already flowering) that I couldn't resist. Thank you very much for your wonderfully informative article :-) I have planted it in a raised border and hope it will do well.|
|Steph S - NC||Jun 17, 2012||I have a blue and pink balloon flower. The pink I just bought this year and LOVE it. How do I know what the seeds are? I usually gut the flower off and discard. I'd like to try and grow some on my own to get white ones.|
Just don't deadhead, and round seedpods will form. When they dry and reach a tan color, they're ready for harvesting. The shiny black seeds will be rattling around inside the pods.
|Chandra||Jul 05, 2012||My friend gave me two Astra Blue platycodon plants for my birthday. I have never heard of this plant before so I am happy to find your web page about them. I found lots of good info here. Thank you.|
|bea||Jul 14, 2012|| i have a balloon flower in a pot where it flowered nicely and i took the dead flowers off my question now in ..what do i do? will it bloom again? do i have to do anything to it?|
In my experience, it will not bloom again this year. Just take care of the plant (keep it watered same as any other plant) until it goes dormant in late fall, then wait for the show to repeat itself starting late spring next year.
|Judith||Aug 10, 2012||I purchased this plant in June. Planted it in the Dallas heat, gets morning sun until noon and it continues to bloom in 105 degree heat. Beautiful white blooms. I look forward to having more of these.|
|Lily||Aug 25, 2012||I started with 1 platycodun that I bought at Lowes a feew years ago. Now I have about 6 or 8 plants in my flower bed.They spread on their own without any help from me. I am going to try and get some white to add to my flower bed. I think they are one of the most beautiful flowers.|
|Tricia M.||Aug 31, 2012|| I bought a Sentimental Blue because I just love the color. It is thriving and after no blooms from late July and August, I just notice three blooms. Do I just leave them alone, deadhead them or what??? Will they stay in a New England winter...mulches or just sitting there under the snow? What do I do next spring???|
You can deadhead if you like, for tidiness - the plant will be fine either way. I don't think any special protection is needed over winter. Just remember where you planted them, because they are late to return in spring. When they do return, they grow quickly; no need to do anything, just watch them do their thing.
|Mary Rauch||Mar 24, 2013||My husband and I just moved to our farm in Buckholts, TX. I saw a picture of a baloon flower and would love to have some to grow in our garden. I don't have anything in cultivation at this time, so I can't trade. Would you be able to sell me a few packets of Axminster Streaked and Sentimental Blue? My husband is retired...I still work through my home office...but we both love gardening and hope that now we will have the time to devote to it. Our farm produces corn and wheat but we are devoting a portion to our vegetable and flower endeavors.|
Hi Mary - I have no way to get in touch with you. Please send me an email using the "contact me" link at the bottom of this page.
|Stacey ||Apr 18, 2013||I live in central Connecticut. My balloon plants have not emerged. I planted them last May and thy did excellent all summer. I am concerned that they died. Can you let me know what I should do? Thanks! |
No worries – balloonflowers are late to rise. Most of mine haven't shown themselves yet either. They'll be up in a week or so, if we continue to have fairly warm weather.
|Garrett Evans||Jul 16, 2013||I've got one in my butterfly garden in Fort Collins CO. Mary from wildflowersofcolorado.com helped identify it, and I searched the Latin name to find your page. I'm jazzed its not normally found in Colorado. Where can I share a pic?|
It's always fun to identify new plants in the garden. My site only has pictures taken in my garden, but there are plenty of gardening forums that would be good places to share your photos.
|Dan McMonigle||Jun 29, 2014||After buying a pot at the store with Sentimental Blue in it, we realized our "mystery plant" was another Sentimental Blue, only almost three feet tall. The one we bought is about 5 inches tall and the label with it said it grows to 6-7 inches maximum. Is there a dwarf and/or giant variety?|
'Sentimental Blue' shouldn't grow more than 12-15" tall – it is a compact variety. There are certainly more upright, taller Platycodon varieties out there; three feet tall sounds about right for most of the taller ones. I'm not aware of a variety that stays under one foot.
|Connie||Jul 07, 2014||I have had my balloon flowers in the same spot for 5 years, they've been great. However, my buds are getting smaller, therefore so are my blooms....what can I do about this? Any information would be greatly appreciated, I love these plants. They are the Sentimental Blue. Thanks so much!|
The only reasons I can think of are that the amount of sunlight they receive has decreased over the years, or they are starved for nutrients and need some fertilizer. Good luck getting them back in prime flowering form.
|Judith Snow||Apr 17, 2015||A few years ago I planted "balloon flowers" in hanging pots on porch. I thought they were annuals and disposed of them in fall. I have been trying ever since to find ones suitable for hanging. I can't seem to find a source? Can they be left out in hangars all winter in US Zone 7? Thank you.|
For hanging baskets, you certainly want the shorter varieties, such as 'Sentimental Blue'. I think they'd survive just fine in the baskets in zone 7.
|Dawn||Apr 28, 2015||I live in zone 5 and I bought a balloon plant last year. This year I cleaned out all my dead anuals and realized too late that I pulled out my balloon plant as well :-(. I did collect some seed think only 7 last year.i found the seed ( lost a few) I quickly planted this week the 3 seeds outside and trying to germinate the last 4 in a baggy and moist paper towel. Should I keep the seed in the paper towel in some light or in complete darkness while it germinates. I noticed the seeds has a green stain on the paper towel already. Is there any possibility that I can grow these beautiful flower? Thanks for your help. |
Yes, you can certainly grow your own. They are not difficult to grow from seed, but you won't have flowers until next year. They do not require light to germinate, so just keep them in the paper towel until you see roots emerge, then plant them in a pot to grow on until they are a reasonable size to plant outside. And put a marker next to them – they are late to return in spring, and you wouldn't want to lose them again :-)
|Nancy Menzin||Jun 08, 2015||A question, please: I just came in from trying to move an established Platycodon to a different spot. First I used my trowel, then a spade, and finally wrestled with it with my pitchfork. When I finally got it out, I could see the difficulty: the roots were thick and long, resembling and as large as fat carrots, and were obviously very deep with the several inches of white stems below ground. Is it a mistake to try to move this plant? After a certain age? Do I now need an immense hole to put the plant in, e.g. 15" deep, or can I lay the fat roots on their side? I would really appreciate your help, as it's a lovely plant that seems to have multiplied, too.|
Wow, I've never seen 'm that big! The good news is that yours has a lot of stored energy, and will probably recover even if it gets some abuse. I think laying the root somewhat sideways would be just fine, but the deeper you can get it, the more resilient the plant will be.
|LeAnn||Jul 18, 2015||My balloon flowers have lots of "balloons" but they never open. Any thoughts?|
What happens to the balloon buds?
|Melanie||Jul 18, 2015||I did a search on "yellow leaves on balloon plant" and that's how I found your site! It's very informative. Thank you. My grouping of 3 Sentimental Blues (these really are well under a foot tall....about 8" max, I'd say) are in a raised bed in full sun in Houston, TX. They're 3 years old. This spring I deadheaded religiously, and all 3 plants promptly stopped blooming entirely. What did I do wrong? Secondly, now it's July, and terribly hot, and the leaves are turning a beautiful yellow. The plant is not droopy or losing leaves, but I'm concerned about the yellow leaves. The plants are on a drip irrigation system and get watered twice a day in temps over a hundred. Thanks for any help!|
I don't think you did anything wrong in deadheading them. They have a natural season of bloom beyond which they will flower no more, you probably just hit that natural stop. Not sure about the yellowing leaves - maybe they just don't like the continuous heat, regardless of how well they are watered.
|LeAnn||Jul 21, 2015||The balloon buds look pretty for a week or so and then die like any other flower|
I've not seen that happen with any of mine. It's hard to say whether it's something about your garden conditions (I wouldn't know what), or an unusual feature of this particular plant.
|Kat||Sep 15, 2015||I live in NoVA and work at a public garden in the area. We would love to get some of the streaked (mottled?) blue & white Platycodons! Is there some way to get the Axminister Streaked, to encourage that plant, or is it just serendipitous? Really enjoyed your website and everyone's questions/comments.|
I've found that Axminster Streaked (or its lookalikes) come true from seed about half the time - so if you start enough seed, there will always be offspring with various levels of the variegation. You could choose to simply remove the others (you won't find out which are the ones you want until the second year after starting from seed).
|Barbara||Jul 17, 2016||I recently bought four Platycordon Astra's two of which have died.Can you explain this?|
There are too many possible reasons for me to speculate. The plants may have been unhealthy or diseased to start with (they grow from very fleshy roots that might have developed some kind of rot), or attacked underground by an unknown pest, or somehow succumbed to poor cultural conditions (the least likely, in my estimation, especially since several of them did survive).
|Ramona||Aug 22, 2017||My balloon flower plant was very attractive to a Monarch butterfly last Sunday. It fluttered from one flower to another with a breeze to battle in its flight.|
|Fran||Jun 29, 2018||The balloon part is beautiful but never open into a flower. Is this normal on some balloon plants?|
Not on any of mine. For some types of flowers, varieties have been bred that never open their buds – perhaps this is one of them.
|Heaven||Apr 01, 2019||I've been trying to find a place online to buy these seeds for the single layer blue, pink astra, and white varieties because I I can't find a local greenhouse that sells them. I'm running in to A LOT of places with no reviews, 100s of perfectly suspicious all 5 star reviews, or reviews saying that seeds and bulbs received in shipping don't sprout. I would like to have these for my container garden and to be started as soon as possible, but I'm worried about potentially wasting money and all of the spring growing season on duds. Is there a source you trust and could recommend?|
I don't necessarily know of a good source - but I do know that germination rates on platycodon are generally pretty good, and seeds sprout fast so you'll know pretty quickly whether you have good seed. What may not be as reliable is which variety you actually wind up with – you'll find out next year. But if you're willing to take a gamble, buy a few packets from different sources and give them a try.
|Toby||Jun 01, 2019||Beginner balcony gardener here - Is there a way to limit the height of these? I impulse bought some without doing my homework and put them in my fairly shallow balcony/flower boxes. They look great but based on what I've read it seems they will likely grow too high for their containers and flop over in the near future. Should I just move them to a bigger pot with some support for them?|
It depends on what variety you bought. Some were bred to be bushy and low, like 'Sentimental Blue'. I don't think it's possible to keep the ones that want to grow tall short without sacrificing the flowers, so for those you might need to provide some support on an exposed balcony.
|Ernest ||Nov 12, 2022||Couple questions. I live in the DC/MD/VA area. All the branches on my potted ballon flowers were dead. I tried to add fertilizers and nutrients on 10/11 before the 1st cold day (below 40s around 10/18). The effort didn't help. I ended up pruning the branches off due to the yellowing and browning of the flowers. How likely will the potted balloon flowers come back in spring? What would be the right time to start planting the balloon flower seeds in pots? Thanks!|
Hard to say what caused the decline of your plants, but I'd say there's a good chance they'll come back healthy next year. They are quite late to return (well after most other perennials), so be patient. For seeding, I used to start them in early spring - but the plants won't flower the first year.
- 'Fuji Pink' seed from '02 trade. Baggy 70F (100%G, 5-10d)
- 'Axminster Streaked' seed from '02 trade. Baggy 70F (90%G, 5-10d)
- 'Axminster Streaked' seed from '04 garden. Baggy 70F (70%G, 7d)
- 'Hakone Double Blue' seed from '05 trade. Baggy 70F (81%G, 8-13d)
- 'Axminster Streaked' seed from '06 garden. Baggy 70F (100%G, 6-9d)
- 'Sentimental Blue' seed from '06 garden. Baggy 70F (95%G, 5-8d)
- 'Sentimental Blue' seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (100%G, 8d).
'Axminster Streaked' from '08 garden. Baggy 70F (68%G, 5-6d)
- 'Sentimental Blue' seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (95%G, 7-9d)
- 'Sentimental Blue' seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (88%G, 6-9d).
'Axminster Streaked' from '11 garden. Baggy 70F (81%G, 6-9d)
- 'Sentimental Blue' seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (92%G)
- 'Sentimental Blue' seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (46%G)
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