Q. Is balloon flower (Platycodon) easy to grow?
Platycodon grandifloras, balloon flower, is a herbaceous perennial plant, in the Campanulaceae family. Hardy to zones 3 to 8. Blooms from June to August. Bloom color purple-blue. Likes to grow in full sun (more flowers) to part shade. Very showy, low maintenance flowering plant used for rock gardens or border, containers, and for edging.
Avoid planting it in wet or poorly-drained soils. Plants are easily grown from seed. Division and transplanting are possible but tricky because of the fragile, fleshy root systems of these plants, and it is probably best to leave plants undisturbed once established. Deadheading spent flowers generally prolongs the bloom period. New season plant stems emerge late in spring, so gardeners must be careful not to damage crowns by early cultivation (leaving old plant stems in place throughout winter to the point when the new growth first appears helps mark plant locations). Taller plants often need to be staked because of floppy stems. Consider cutting back plant stems by 1/2 in May to reduce plant height and possibly avoid staking.
Balloon flower is a clump-forming perennial that is so named because its flower buds puff up like balloons before bursting open into outward-to-upward-facing, bell-shaped flowers with five pointed lobes. Plants are native to slopes and meadows in China, Japan, Korea and Siberia. Purple-blue flowers (to 2-3” across) bloom throughout summer, singly or in small clusters, atop stems typically growing to 30” tall. Ovate to lance-shaped, toothed, blue-green leaves (to 2” long). Platycodon in Greek means broad bell in reference to the flower shape.
Courtesy of the NYBG Plant Information Service