Platycodons – Balloon Flower


July is a difficult month for most flowers but the lovely Platycodons seem not to mind its heat at all. We could not be without them at that trying time to produce blossoms both to brighten the borders and for cool bouquets.

The flowers are bell-shaped or sometimes open out star-shaped, large and in rich blue or white. A group of blue and a group of white planted near Texasplume (Gilia rubra)  makes a striking, patriotic planting for July.

The variety Platycodon grandiflorum grows to a height of 2.5 feet or more. If not staked, the wind will often times break the some what brittle, sprawling stems at the base. They may be pinched back like Chrysanthemums  to produce shorter, bushier plants.

The variety P. mariesi is a dwarf form. It grows less than a foot in height with equally as large or larger flowers  than Grandiflorum. Platycodons are easily grown from seeds planted in early spring.

If the young seedlings are reset carefully and kept growing, a great many will bloom the first season. The balloon-like buds may open into semi-double flowers having ten petals instead of the regulation five which  are indeed lovely.

This is a perennial that is very hardy and can even endure considerable neglect. Do not cut or pull away the old stems but let them die naturally, otherwise crown injury may result. It is wise to mark the spot where they grow.

Platycodons are late risers in the spring.


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