Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Balloon Flower, Chinese Bellflower, Japanese Bellflower, Toraji
Platycodon grandiflorus

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Family: Campanulaceae (kam-pan-yew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Platycodon (plat-ee-KO-don) (Info)
Species: grandiflorus (gran-dih-FLOR-us) (Info)

Synonym:Campanula glauca
Synonym:Platycodon glaucus
Synonym:Campanula grandiflora

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

53 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Category:
Perennials

Height:
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:
12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
Pink
Medium Blue
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:
Herbaceous
Blue-Green

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 59 photos.
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Profile:

23 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive Old_McGrama On Jun 7, 2014, Old_McGrama from Prescott, AZ wrote:

Was given this plant in a small pot after it had already gone dormant for the winter. I had no idea what a balloon plant was but it was free, so why not? I put the pot next to a grape vine and gave it water throughout the winter when I watered the rest of the orchard. It started growing, and growing and growing. It was in full sun here in Prescott, Arizona. I have since moved it, small pot and all, to a dappled sun area (at best) and it is still doing great. I will be transplanting it to a bigger pot until about February, when I can split it into two or three other plants then I will plant it near the rose garden; I have a lovely "Fragrant Plum" rose which is a lavendar and purple grandiflora that I hope it will compliment. I am hoping for purple or blue blooms of course.
I did have a fair size branch fall on it, and other than repositioning the stems to a horizontal position, it hasn't seemed to hurt it. New growth still angles to face the sun. I'm anxious to see what color this flower will be!

Positive Clint07 On Aug 3, 2013, Clint07 from Bethlehem, PA wrote:

Positive, BUT something eats the buds and flowers. I lose perhaps a third of the potential blooms to some pest every year. My other campanulas don't have the same problem. Does anyone know what it might be?

I bought it about 8 years ago in an end-of-season sale. Since then it's been hardy and dependable in my Zone 6 mostly sunny site. The spent blossoms are unsightly enough to make deadheading rewarding.

Positive JonthanJ On Apr 14, 2012, JonthanJ from Logansport, IN wrote:

Coming up early in my gravely bed by the Drive, these are throwing so many shoots, in their third or fourth year, that I am wondering whether to thin the shoots. The shoots come up from far enough under the ground that for the first warm weeks, I was wondering whether the plants had survived at all. There are a couple of dozen seedlings in the crushed limestone of the Drive nearby.

Positive A_MacGyver On Aug 30, 2010, A_MacGyver from Bedford, PA wrote:

I absolutely love these flowers. We moved to our current house about 6 years ago. It wasn't until a couple of years later that I noticed a rather tall weedy looking plan growing at the very edge of a flower bed. Since I'm not good at recognizing weeds vs. flowers, I left it alone to see what would happen. Beautiful blue-purple blooms! (I transplanted it this spring, so I'm crossing my fingers that it'll grow back.) Two years later I found another growing in a bed behind the house...it came out white. Just last year when the white ones came back, another grew, but it was white with the deep blue-purple streaks! Wonderful! This year I was so excited to see them growing up again but my son gave me a resounding commentary on the state of my gardens (I'm a terrible gardener!): Before they had buds, I went out one morning to find one stem broken completely off and the other almost broken off. Turns out he thought they were weeds so he wacked them with a stick! I was so sad because it's one of the few blooming plants I have in that bed. I did leave them alone, not knowing what to expect, but not only did the one broken clean off grow in and bloom (it was the purple and white one) but the stem that wasn't completely broken bloomed as well. They had tons of flowers this year. I so want to move them to a better place, but I'm afraid to mess them up!

Positive shadydame On May 14, 2010, shadydame from North Walpole, NH (Zone 5a) wrote:

All that the Bellflower did the first year was create a mound; it never flowered. However, the next spring the mound was still there, & was still green. It grew long stem spikes in the center, and I was rewarded for my patience with beautiful white flowers! (The only problem, I suppose, was that the tag that came with the plant said the flowers would be blue, but I'm not complaining!)

Positive cornea503 On Sep 28, 2008, cornea503 from Spring Hill, TN wrote:

I wouldn't worry too much about transplanting this plant, at least not if it somewhat small. I found a small one (4"-6" tall) while weeding in the middle of the summer. Not knowing any better, decided to move it to another location. I dug about 4-6 inches around the plant and moved it along with the soil. It was a bit floppy and wilted for a couple of weeks post transplant then started growing like crazy after about a month. It's now double or triple the size since moved (2-3 months ago)and is giving a bunch of flowers.

Positive nastynasturtium On Aug 15, 2008, nastynasturtium from Nantucket, MA wrote:

Probably one of the best plants to put in a sunny spot. No babying, lots of blooms. The deer did eat it back in the spring when the first buds showed, but it hardly noticed.

Positive SpatialOne On Jul 14, 2008, SpatialOne from Huntington, WV wrote:

Beautiful plant! Love the blooms! I live in zone 6 and this is the plants' second year in the garden. There are 6 plants with not only beautiful purple flowers but also white ones on the same plant! They are doing well in my clay soil, surprisingly!

Positive Angsoden On Jun 13, 2008, Angsoden from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

Like everyone else, I love this plant. I bought a mix of pale pink, white and purple ones from Michigan Bulb about 4 years ago. The first year it was just one or two stalks. Last year, they were still long and leggy, but with about 7 or 8 stalks. This year they are very bushy with twice as many stalks each. The number of stalks seems to hold up better, I haven't had to stake them yet. One of them turned into double blooms last year (it wasn't a double bloomer before). I also bought some from Walmart in the same year. I have one left and it only has one stalk again this year. My soil is slightly acidic (I have junipers and use pine bark chips for mulch). The soil is well drained and in full sun for most of the day (shade in the morning). The cooler than average spring hasn't had an affect on them so far.

Positive Katze On May 17, 2008, Katze from Minneapolis, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I actually was able to transplant my balloon flower successfully. We dug it up last May (somewhat early in the growing season for 4a) and transplanted it (I only found out after transplanting that it was "don't transplant" plant). It did fine last year, other than being very floppy for the first time I can remember, and has just started to come up today. I guess the trick is to either transplant fairly early or late in the season.

Positive angihansen On Jun 25, 2007, angihansen from Watkinsville, GA wrote:

As others have said, it's very late to emerge in spring.... about the time when spring bulb foliage is fading, so it's a great choice to intersperse with those ... sort of like a time share in my garden ;) I recommend NOT planting the white variety with other white flowers that will bloom at the same time... the blue veins in the balloon flower make it look extra-white so most other whites look either yellowed or washed out in comparison.

Positive bluespiral On Dec 28, 2006, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is one of my favorite plants - hybridzers haven't yet succeeded in making it look like anything but itself, and it acts like being in my garden is total nirvana :)

About transplanting - I have discovered that if you transplant it when it's dormant (when either the leaves and stalks have died back in autumn or not yet appeared in spring), it does not notice it is being transplanted.

Hollyhocks are the same way for us. Roots of either one that were tossed into the compost pile the previous fall will be happy to be planted again in the spring. A new neighbor was once beginning his garden one spring while I was rooting about in the compost pile and found very nice platycodon and hollyhock roots. They were tossed over the hedge and planted and did fine.

Positive janetcc On Aug 27, 2006, janetcc from Orland Park, IL wrote:

spread seed mixture from Park Seeds late, July 11, because we were waiting for a utility to bury a line in that part of the garden. Only 3 took, but boy did they take! 2+ feet tall and blooming like crazy. Supposed to be doubles but only single blooms, but gorgeous anyway! Zone 5, Cassopolis MI.

Positive wendypincham On Aug 22, 2006, wendypincham from Cleveland, OH wrote:

Beautiful balloon flower growing in Cleveland, Ohio.

Positive fluffygrue On Jul 12, 2005, fluffygrue from Manchester
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

Very easy and undemanding - nothing seems to eat it and it doesn't demand water or food. I've had mine in a container for a few years and it's a reliable and pretty plant.

Neutral Leehallfae On Mar 15, 2005, Leehallfae from Seattle, WA wrote:

I planted seeds, in late February, which are already sprouting, in zone 8b.

Also, planted bare roots, about two weeks ago.

Positive MN_Darren On Oct 12, 2004, MN_Darren from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

The bluish purple variety has been a stalwart denizen of our garden for ten years--through some of the nastiest Minnesota winters on record. I don't mulch it, and have never consciously fertilized it. I do deadhead it with monk-like fervor to prevent it from reseeding. By keeping up with the deadheading, I can keep it blooming all the way to the beginning of October! The fact that its roots are fragile is a hidden blessing given that they will reseed like mad if you let them. Unwanted plants can be easily dispatched by breaking the root! Unfortunately, that means that you can't give them as gifts except by seed.

Neutral NatureWalker On Oct 1, 2004, NatureWalker from New York & Terrell, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Known in Chinese medicine as Jie-Geng, these mid-to-late summer, vibrant, star-shaped, blue-violet blooms have traditionally been used to treat sore throats, coughs, bronchitis, chest pain, and tonsillitis. Easy to grow and care for. Zones 3-9. 1-3 ft. Hardy Perennial.
~~
Jie-Geng, Balloon Flower Info:

A hardy perennial featuring star-like, blue-violet flowers. Plants will bloom all summer long. Jie-Geng is a very beautiful vining plant whose edible root has been used in Korean cuisine and to treat ailments of the lung including bronchitis, laryngitis, pleurisy, chest pain and tonsillitis.

Growing Info: Jie-Geng does well when started inside or in a greenhouse before planting outside. Will grow to about 1 to 3 feet tall in average garden soil with just simple care. This vine plant loves full sun and is quite resistant to cold temperatures. Will bloom and make seed in it's first year.

Standard Uses: The edible roots of this plant have been used in Korean soups for years. It's delightful abundance of blue-violet, star-shaped blooms make it a wonderful ornamental vine that requires very little special care.

Medicinal Uses: Platycodon grandiflora has been traditionally used to treat ailments afflicting the lungs and bronchial tubes. Conditions such as bronchitis, laryngitis, pleurisy, heaviness in the chest and tonsillitis. The edible root can be chopped up fine, put into a tea bag or stainless steel tea ball and steeped for a few minutes in boiled water to make a tea. Honey can be used to improve the taste. Info provided by GreenWeb.com
~~
Additional Herb Information:
By HolisticOnLine.com

HTH,
~* Robin

Positive OMC On Jul 15, 2004, OMC from Dothan, AL wrote:

I have two of these plants. They are great plants, and bloom every year. They do need staking if they are tall growing types. Wish all plants where as easy as balloon flower to grow.I live in zone 8b. Marie

Positive kooger On Jul 15, 2004, kooger from Oostburg, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:

My plant is a dwarf, blue, and only about 12 inches high. I seldom water or feed it and it keeps expanding. I have successfully shared very small, new plants. I am planning on trading seed with a friend who has a tall, about 3 1/2 feet, white plant. A fun plant to grow.

Positive Toxicodendron On Jun 22, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have to reiterate what was just stated above: mature large plants do not tolerate transplanting. I moved one last fall and it completely died. It was growing in rocky soil with large tree roots, and it was damaged considerably when dug out, so that was part of the problem, I am sure. The roots are very brittle. I have a dwarf variety that can be divided with some ease. I usually cut my tall plants back to about half their height after blooming, and the foliage provides a good yellow color in Autumn.

Positive DavidPat5 On Aug 23, 2003, DavidPat5 from Chicago, IL wrote:

Be sure to plant them where you want them to stay as they are difficult to transplant because of the tap root. Mine get about 4 feet tall each year and need to be staked. The unuaual thing about them is some will double flower and some wont. They don,t make for good cut flowers as the stem is short and they only last about a day. Be sure to deadhead for more blooms.

Positive suncatcheracres On Aug 10, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

My balloon flowers are white, started from seed about five years ago. They flowered the second year up in Georgia, survived almost a year in a pot, and are flourishing in a raised bed with high filtered light in north central Florida, zone 8b. They really started spreading this year, and grew a lot taller, almost to four feet, and I had plenty of long lasting blooms despite heavy rain. A really nice plant for the perennial border.

Positive Ladyfern On Aug 8, 2003, Ladyfern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

Easy from seed; blooms the second year, though it's still just one little stem. Emerges late in spring, so mark its spot.

Positive violabird On Apr 19, 2003, violabird from Barnesville, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I've had an old tall variety blooming and multiplying in a wild spot for 5 years now, that NEVER gets watered or food!

Neutral lantana On Jan 4, 2001, lantana from (Zone 7a) wrote:

Grows in Heat Zones 9-3.

Neutral gardener_mick On Dec 2, 2000, gardener_mick from Wentworth, SD (Zone 4a) wrote:

Balloon flowers are perennial in zones 3-9. They grow 2-2 1/2' tall and should be spaced 1-1 1/2' apart. The foliage is blue green and the flowers are purple. They bloom mid to late summer. They need enough sun to thrive and enough shade to protect the color in the flowers (mostly sun to ligh shade by most of my books). They also need moist, well-drained soil. Just before the flowers open, they look like a balloon. After opening, they are star shaped. Flowers are 2-3" wide with pointed petals. The shoots are branched and are 2-3' tall with 3" toothed oval leaves.
Dwarf varieties are great for rock gardens and taller varieties are good for cut flowers.
Shoots are late to emerge so mark the location of the plants in summer so that they aren't damaged the next spring during cultivation. Plants usually take 2 years to flower from seed.

'Fuji'- mix of white, soft pink and purple that bloom from early summer to frost and grow to 12-16".
'Album'- white flowers
'Shell Pink' and 'Mother of Pearl'- pale pink
'Sentimental Blue'- bright blue flowers 15" tall

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Fort Payne, Alabama
Ketchikan, Alaska
Flagstaff, Arizona
Prescott, Arizona
Bootjack, California
Castro Valley, California
Citrus Heights, California
Clovis, California
Fullerton, California
Merced, California
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Santa Ana, California
Denver, Colorado
Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut
Greenwich, Connecticut
Hamden, Connecticut
Waterbury, Connecticut
Delmar, Delaware
Wilmington, Delaware
Washington, District Of Columbia
Apopka, Florida
Casselberry, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Old Town, Florida
Panama City, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Port Richey, Florida
Barnesville, Georgia
Clarkston, Georgia
Norcross, Georgia
Roopville, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Statesboro, Georgia
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Pukalani, Hawaii
Bolingbrook, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Grayslake, Illinois
Hampton, Illinois
Morton Grove, Illinois
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Oak Park, Illinois
Wilmette, Illinois
Bremen, Indiana
Brownsville, Indiana
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Logansport, Indiana
Poland, Indiana
Portland, Indiana
Inwood, Iowa
Nichols, Iowa
Williams, Iowa
Olathe, Kansas
Calvert City, Kentucky
Eddyville, Kentucky
Brookeville, Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
Ellicott City, Maryland
Westminster, Maryland
Amesbury, Massachusetts
Milton, Massachusetts
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Cassopolis, Michigan
Constantine, Michigan
Delton, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Livonia, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota (3 reports)
Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota (2 reports)
Wayzata, Minnesota
Lees Summit, Missouri
Piedmont, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Big Timber, Montana
Helena, Montana
Polson, Montana
Munsonville, New Hampshire
North Walpole, New Hampshire
Palisades Park, New Jersey
Pompton Lakes, New Jersey
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Binghamton, New York
Blossvale, New York
Deposit, New York
Ithaca, New York
Millbrook, New York
Ronkonkoma, New York
Southold, New York
Syracuse, New York
Burgaw, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Harrisburg, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (2 reports)
Rowland, North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina
Fargo, North Dakota
Cleveland, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Canby, Oregon
Molalla, Oregon
Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon
Scio, Oregon
Bedford, Pennsylvania
Butler, Pennsylvania
Clairton, Pennsylvania
Coopersburg, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Tionesta, Pennsylvania
Watsontown, Pennsylvania
North Scituate, Rhode Island
Chapin, South Carolina
Irmo, South Carolina
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Cosby, Tennessee
Hixson, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Spring Hill, Tennessee
Fort Worth, Texas
Garland, Texas
Grapevine, Texas
Houston, Texas
Lewisville, Texas
Lubbock, Texas
Mesquite, Texas
Murchison, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Tyler, Texas
Magna, Utah
Charlottesville, Virginia
Danville, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Everson, Washington
Federal Way, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Charleston, West Virginia
Huntington, West Virginia
Bayfield, Wisconsin
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Muscoda, Wisconsin
West Bend, Wisconsin
Casper, Wyoming
Cody, Wyoming



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