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.
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.
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!
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.
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.