The botanical name of Balloon flowers is Platycodon grandiflorus and the plant get their name from their buds which actually look like little hot air balloons before they open into star-shaped flowers of blue, pink or white. Actually the balloon flowers are tough plants that need little help from you to thrive. The Balloon flowers are hardy perennials that will grow in sun to partial shade. The plants are long-lived and they don't need to be divided and they are also resistant to diseases. Butterflies, bees and birds love them, so a patch of balloon flowers will really draw wildlife to your garden. Balloon flower bloom time is summer. Where do balloon flowers grow best? Balloon flowers are native to Japan, China, Korea and Siberia, where for centuries the plant have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes. You can actually find dried balloon roots in the produce aisle at Asian grocery stores. But a lot of people grow balloon flowers as an ornamental.


How Do You Plant Blue Balloon Seeds?

You can easily start balloon flower from seed, but know that the seed-grown plants won't bloom until their second year of existence.

If you grow balloon flower from seed, start the plants indoors in early spring. Balloon flower seeds are so hard-shelled that you'll need to crack the seed to encourage it to sprout, a process called scarification.

Whether you transplant your Balloon flower seedlings or go with starter plants from a nursery, place them in a sunny spot in the garden. The plant will grow in partial shade, but you'll get the most flowers if the plant gets 8 or more hours of sun a day. The plants actually prefer well-drained, loamy soil that's slightly acidic.


How to Care for Balloon Flowers

Deadhead the old blooms to keep the balloon flower blooming.

You may need to stake the tall balloon flower to keep the plants from flopping over under the weight of their blooms.

Actually balloon flowers like moderate temperatures in the range of sixty to eighty degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a hotter climate, make sure the plants get afternoon shade.

Balloon flowers can actually stand up to humidity without succumbing to mildew or fungus.

Once the plants are established, the plants won't need a lot of water from you. The plant can handle short dry spells.

Fertilize the plants in the spring, before they bloom.

You can work compost into the soil around their roots in the fall to replenish the plant after a season of growth.

Pinch back the plants when they are about six inches tall so they'll grow into stocky, sturdy plants.


Pests Control

Balloon flowers are actually disease and pest resistant, but root rot can get the plant if they're grown in soil that's too wet.

Slugs and snails also find balloon flowers tasty, so make sure you keep an eye out for them.


Balloon Flower Varieties

The series have double flowers in blue, pink or white.

The fuji series are the most common varieties sold in nurseries. They're the tallest, too, reaching heights of thirty inches with flowers in blue, pink or white.

The 'Komachi' has purple-blue flowers that look like little pillows.

The 'Sentimental Blue' is a dwarf variety that grows six inches tall with scads of purple flowers.

The 'Shell Pink' has light pink flowers and they grow to twenty-four inches tall.

The Sentimental series is a compact variety that grows nine inches tall and they produce blue or white flowers.


Balloon Flowers Garden Uses

The blue balloon flowers actually look lovely with the pale yellows of lilies and yarrow.

The pink and white balloon flowers pair nicely with ornamental grasses and spiky plants like celosia, liatris and yucca.

You can plant them in mixed borders and rock gardens.

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