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

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
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Perennials

Foliage Color:

Blue-Green

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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

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

San Marcos, 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

Joliet, 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

Slaughter, Louisiana

Brookeville, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland

Ellicott City, Maryland

Westminster, Maryland

Amesbury, Massachusetts

Milton, Massachusetts

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Cassopolis, Michigan

Constantine, Michigan

Dearborn Heights, 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

New York City, 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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

23
positives
4
neutrals
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

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 d... read more

Positive

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

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

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 t... read more

Positive

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

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

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

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

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 a... read more

Positive

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful balloon flower growing in Cleveland, Ohio.

Positive

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

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

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

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 wit... read more

Positive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grows in Heat Zones 9-3.

Neutral

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... read more