Balloon Flower Power

balloon flowerI’ve been blown away by the abundance of blooms on my Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) this year. When I first purchased my balloon flower a few years ago, it was very small. It had one one huge purple bloom and that was enough to draw me in. Purple was my favorite color as a child and it’s still my favorite color of flower.

ballon-flower-budI took it to the counter and the design associate explained that it was a balloon flower. She shared that the blooms are hollow and swell like balloons before bursting open into the most glorious purple flowers. I was already sold on the flower and this more than sealed the deal. Within days, a bud formed and it was fun to watch it swell and pop open to a beautiful purple star.

balloon flowerEven though it was a perennial, I didn’t give my balloon flower much hope for survival because I’ve killed many other perennials in the bed in which it was planted. However, to my surprise, it came back again last year – at least a sprig or two with a few blooms.  I thought for sure our unexpected harsh winter would do this plant in, but I was wrong. This year it has gone crazy and I have a large mound filled with buds and blooms at varying stages.  I love that the blooms are still going strong in the heat of July.

I did a little research and as it turns out, the Balloon Flower tolerates major extremes such as the scorching summer heat in Arkansas. It thrives in full sunlight but also adapts to partial shade when need be. About the only extreme it doesn’t tolerate is soggy soil or drought.

In A Southern Garden (1942), Elizabeth Lawrence wrote of the balloon flower: “Once entrenched, it improves with time and should be one of the most permanent plants in the borders. It is certainly one of the most beautiful when grown well.” I’m pleased that I took a chance on this flower. It has more than exceeded my expectations and I’ve certainly gotten more than my money’s worth from this purchase. I highly recommend adding this to your garden or at a minimum to a container for a fun splash of color and intrigue.

~Southern Fried Gal

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