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Platycodon grandiflorus

Platycodon grandiflorus
Common name balloonflower
Family campanulaceae
Life cycle perennial (Z3-8)
Flowers blue/pink/white (summer)
Size see below
Light sun-part shade
Cultural notes ordinary garden soil
From seed germinate at room temperature
detailed seed-starting info below
Seed ripenslate September

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.

Platycodon grandiflorus
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.

Platycodon grandiflorus
Flowers come more freely on the third-year plants.
Platycodon grandiflorus
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

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Seed-starting details for this plant

  1. 'Fuji Pink' seed from '02 trade. Baggy 70F (100%G, 5-10d)
  2. 'Axminster Streaked' seed from '02 trade. Baggy 70F (90%G, 5-10d)
  3. 'Axminster Streaked' seed from '04 garden. Baggy 70F (70%G, 7d)
  4. 'Hakone Double Blue' seed from '05 trade. Baggy 70F (81%G, 8-13d)
  5. 'Axminster Streaked' seed from '06 garden. Baggy 70F (100%G, 6-9d)
  6. 'Sentimental Blue' seed from '06 garden. Baggy 70F (95%G, 5-8d)
  7. 'Sentimental Blue' seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (100%G, 8d).
    'Axminster Streaked' from '08 garden. Baggy 70F (68%G, 5-6d)
  8. 'Sentimental Blue' seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (95%G, 7-9d)
  9. 'Sentimental Blue' seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (88%G, 6-9d).
    'Axminster Streaked' from '11 garden. Baggy 70F (81%G, 6-9d)
  10. 'Sentimental Blue' seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (92%G)
  11. 'Sentimental Blue' seed from '09 garden. Baggy 70F (46%G)

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