The Chinese Balloon Flower is very closely allied to the Campanulas. It grows erect and the stems are rigid. The flowers have five petals and open out rather flat, but when in bud they look like inflated balloons, from whence the common name is derived. The flowers are both single and double. They are blue and white in color and sometimes will have blue or white veins which makes them appear as if they streaked. They begin blooming about the middle of June and last throughout the Summer. The Chinese Bell Flower or Balloon Flower is known as Platycodon grandiflorume and grows 3 feet tall. P. g. Mariesii has deep blue, bell-shaped flowers, some of them nearly 3 inches across, but it is more dwarf, only growing about 12 inches high.
UTILIZE. Platycodons are splendid border plants, for the plants are neat and well formed and they are in bloom all through the Summer months. They are also planted among shrubbery. The flowers can be cut and last well.
GENERAL. These plants nearly always flower the same season they are planted. They grow readily, sending up long spikes, so that nicely shaped bushes are formed in a couple of seasons. Medium sandy loam is the best soil. Do not cut the old stems back in the Fall when the blossoms are gone, but let them die away naturally so as not to injure the crown, which should be set about one inch below the surface. Slight Winter protection is beneficial.
PROPAGATION. The most successful method is by seeds. The root stalk is fleshy and thick and a great deal of care must be exercised in dividing it.