Plant Pick : Easiest and Most Beautiful Platycodon

Is there a flowering plant that is easiest to grow?

I would need it to be:

  • NOT invasive, check!
  • Beautiful vivid flowers, check!
  • Cute buds that look like balloons, check!
  • Large blossoms and easily seen in your garden, check!
  • Blooms all summer, check!
  • Can be cut for a vase, check!
  • Propagated easily, check!

If you don’t have the platycodon grandiflorus, you are missing one of the most beautiful flowers for your garden. It fits virtually all your needs, and will seed to make you more and more. And it is not one of those seeding plants which overcomes everything else in the garden. It just drops its seeds and grows more little plants in the bed where it lives. I have added more and more in different areas of the garden, and have not regretted it at all.

photo of balloon flower (platycodon)

The Platycodon is an herbaceous flowering perennial plant of the family Campanulaceae, and I love everything in that family, believe me.  The grandiflorus has a tall variety which grows to about 18 inches or maybe slightly taller. After my plants get to be 8-10 inches tall, I start pinching them so they branch and become very sturdy. Of course, pinching delays the development of the blossom, but it is worth it to me not to have a top heavy plant. I have had them grow up very tall, but then the large “balloon” makes it top heavy and it may lean or flop over. If you want yours for cutting, you may want them to develop the longer stem though.

Platycodon Balloon Flower - An Easy Perennial to grow

The buds grow into a large “balloon” before they open into a quite large flower. These are a really intense blue and the plant is literally covered with blossoms. It will continue to bloom all summer, and if you want repeat blooms, just deadhead. Let some of the blossoms dry out, and when you break them open, they will be full of dark seeds. Save or sprinkle around and just transplant new ones in spring.

When new plants come up in spring ( the plants are herbaceous and die to the ground and regrow in spring), they look like little asparagus tips coming out of the ground. They are late to emerge, so don’t forget where they should come up!

Platycodon from

The variety called “Sentimental Blue” is just perfect for a deep  trough.

This variety grows only about 10-12 inches high and is covered with the same huge balloons and flowers. So pretty in a deep hypertufa  container. These short ones are not really for cutting since  they don’t have the necessary stem length, but they are so cute, you will be harvesting seeds.

Platycodon fron

These platycodon come in pink, white, and blue, but I have only had blue up to this point. Balloon flowers take full sun or part shade and have a huge taproot. As I have read in the gardening magazines, it will usually say not to move them, but I have dug them up, being sure to get a large portion of the root and replanted.  I have even left mine sitting wrapped in wet newspaper for a week or more and planted them with no problem. ( I guess the plant didn’t read the magazine so it didn’t know it was supposed to roll over and die. So it just waited patiently for me to replant. )

So this plant is a “Thumbs Up” from me. The intense blue is so wonderful, I don’t know how you could resist.

Do you have Platycodon?  Will you maybe try it now?  Let me know in the comments, and share with your friends.

Kim, The Hypertufa Gardener

Hi, I am Kim and thank you so much for visiting my magazine! I am a gardener and a hypertufa maker. If you came here to learn about hypertufa, I have a lot of information. But I also write about flower gardening and using succulents which are great drought-tolerant plants.

Of course, I have some recipes and some random family concerns which I hope interest you too! Please page through the Magazine and find what you like! and Subscribe!

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4 thoughts on “Plant Pick : Easiest and Most Beautiful Platycodon

  • September 21, 2014 at 8:14 am
    I have grown this wonderful plant for years. This is the first time I have ever seen a mention of this plant anywhere. They are never available in my local garden stores and cannot understand why. I agree that they are one of the easiest and most beautiful flowers for your garden. It was great getting some tips on transplanting since mine are in need of relocating. Reply
    • September 21, 2014 at 10:06 am
      Thanks for reading, Patsy. I just love this plant so much. And like you say, don't hear about this very much. But I have it blooming still and the blue is gorgeous with the fall colors. Mine seed a lot, so I always have young ones. When you transplant, be sure and get as much of the root as possible! ( but you already know that.) Reply
    • June 29, 2014 at 8:57 pm
      I don't think you are any more arid than I am in zone 5b or 6 (depending on who you ask). Try it. You will love this plant. Reply

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