Growth and Care of Balloon Plant

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balloon plant

If you are looking for a guide to Balloon Plant, you have landed on the right page.

The balloon plant and its flowers tend to be a part of the bellflower family and tend to begin as puffy, balloon-like buds before blooming out into star-shaped flowers.

Moreover, the balloon plant is also popular as Chinse bellflower.

It is an herbaceous plant that tends to be a vascular plant and does not have woody stems above the ground.

This makes their stems soft.

Balloon plants tend to bloom as long as the length of summer.

Ballon flowers are called so as the buds inflate and puff into a ballon-like shape before they tend to bloom outward.

Once they open, the balloon plant appears in a more traditional, star-shaped form.

This star shape tends to be unique, within the bellflower as the other varieties resemble bells.

Keep on reading.

Balloon Plant

Ballon Plant, Platycodon grandiflorus are clump-forming perennials.

These plants are members of the easy-to-grown bellflower family of plants though the blooms do not resemble bells.

Instead, puffy, balloon-like buds tend to swell up to produce 2 to 3-inch star-shaped flowers.

This easy grower tends to bloom all summer along with intense blue-violet flowers.

However, there are also cultivars with white and pink blooms.

balloon plant 1

Balloon flowers are often planted in the spring after the danger of frost passes, growing quickly to bloom in the first year.

It is important to note that these plants have a low maintenance disposition, and are native to Eastern Russia, China, Japan, and Korea.

Moreover, they have gained popularity in the US as they are heady, easy to grow, and tend to bring vibrant colors to a number of garden styles, including rock gardens.

This plant tends to thrive in organically rich and moderately moist soil that is well-drained.

While balloon plant sizes tend to vary, the species in its native home can exceed 3 feet tall and 18 inches wide at maturity.

Quick Facts about the Balloon Plant

Some quick facts about the balloon plant are:

Common Name Balloon flower, Chinese bellflower, Japanese bellflower
Botanical Name Platycodon grandiflorus
Family Campanulaceae (bellflower)
Plant Type Herbaceous perennial
Mature Size 1– 2 1/2 ft. tall, 1–1 1/2 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full sun to part shade
Soil Type Rich, loamy, medium moisture, well-draining
Soil pH 5.5–7.5 (acidic to slightly alkaline)
Bloom Time Summer
Flower Color Blue-violet, white, pink
Hardiness Zones 3–8 (USDA)
Native Area China, Korea, Japan, Russia

Balloon Plant Care

It is important to note that balloon flowers tend to make excellent plants or border gardens or rock gardens.

These plant blooms tend to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies due to their wide-open petals.

Moreover, these perennials tend to self-sow their seed, though they are not aggressive spreadings.

plant care

Overall, ballon plants are fairly low-maintenance plants and are quite a pest and disease-resistant outside of root rot in areas where there is a large amount of rainfall.

The taller varieties of these flowers, however, can become a bit floppy.

You can choose to stake them or plant them in clumps to let them support one another.

Make sure, to begin with nursery plants or grow them from seed.

Light and Soil Requirements

If you want to have the most flowers, you will have to plant balloon flowers in full sun.

This means at least six of sunlight is necessary for them to bloom on most days.

However, they will still strive in part shade and might actually prefer some shade from where the afternoon sun is especially hot.

Moreover, these flowers tend to thrive in organically rich, loamy soil that tends to have good drainage.

They will not grow well in dense soil, like clay soil.

They will grow well in a soil pH that is about 5.5. to 7.5 range.

Water, Temperature, and other requirements

You will need to keep the soil of the young plant consistently moist but not soggy.

Once they establish, balloon flowers will like a moderate amount of moisture in the soil.

However, they can tolerate short periods of drought.

They will not need a lot of supplemental watering unless you have a long period without rainfall that causes the soil to dry out.

Moreover, balloon flowers are hardy and will do well in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8.

Their ideal temperature range is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but they can also withstand higher temperatures if they have some shade in the afternoon.

It is important to note that frost can kill young plants and will cause established plants to die back into the ground in the fall.

Balloon plants can tolerate both humid and dry air conditions, provided they tend to have the right amount of soil moisture.

Balloon plants will not need supplemental feeding if you already have rich soil.

However, a layer of compost in the fall can help them replenish the energy they expend blooming during the growing season.

If you have poor soil, you can use an all-purpose, slow-release fertilizer in early spring.

Types of Balloon Plant

There are a number of popular varieties of balloon flowers and plants, including:

Platycodon grandiflorus Astra series: This one tends to grow double flowers with 10 petals in blue, pink, or white.

They are an ideal choice to begin from seeds.

P. grandiflorus Fuji series: This one is the most commonly sold variety as well as the tallest one.

balloon plant 2

It tends to have a 30-inch stem and flowers are in blue, pink, or white color.

P. grandiflorus ‘Komachi’: The purple flowers in this variety tend to stay in their puffy pillow stage even after they bloom.

P. ‘Sentimental Blue’: This one is a dwarf variety that grows about 6 inches tall with lots of 1 to 2-inch purple flowers.

Pruning and Propagation Tips

It is important to note that pruning is often not essential for balloon plants. though you can do so for appearance.

To achieve stockier plants, you will need to cut back tall stems by about half in the late spring.

This can help you to prevent the plants from flopping over.

Moreover, deadheading your plants, i.e. removing spent blooms will keep them looking good and repeatedly blooming.

Make sure to avoid removing the whole stem, just the faded flowers and the remaining buds on the stem will continue to open.

Balloon flowers are favorites of gardeners as they are solid and fast performers so the more the merrier.

However, you will need to be careful when propagating the plant.

Propagation by division is often not recommended for the plants as the deep taproots will not like being disturbed.

Instead, you can propagate the plant by stem cuttings.

Here’s how to do it:

  • make sure to use sterile, sharp pruners to trim a 4-inch length of the stem
  • remove the lower foliage to expose the bare stem
  • you can use rooting hormone on the bare stem if you want, and then pot it in moist soil
  • keep the soil moist but not soggy, as you wait for the roots to take hold
  • once you see leaf growth and feel resistance when you give the cutting a gentle tug, you will know that the roots have grown
  • then your pant is ready for transplantation into the garden

Growing Ballon Plant from Seeds

You will need to start the seeds indoors in the early spring about 6 to 8 weeks before the last projected frost date in your area.

Make sure to use a seed starter mix or ordinary potting soil to grow the seeds.

Moreover, barely cover the seeds with 1/16 inch of the soil.

growing in pots

You will need to place the container in a warm location until the seeds germinate.

After the weather warms, you can then transplant the seedlings outdoors.

If you plant the seeds directly in your garden, make sure to do so after the last frost date.

However, know that they likely will not flower in their first year.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

It is important to note that ballon plants and flowers often attract slugs and snails, as do so many other outdoor blooms.

These can be coaxed off the plants with bait.

However, your plant can also become afflicted with crown rot, root rot, botrytis gray mold, powdery mildew, or fungal leaf spot.

Moreover, crown and root rot can cause your plant to die over the winter.

Leaves that represent powdery spots, mottling, or blotching can often be treated with a fungicide.

You will need to quickly discard the plants with gray mold so that it does not spread.

Then make sure to use a preventive fungicide on the remaining plants.

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