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Growing Balloon Flowers (Chinese Bellflower)

Category Flowers
These beautiful flowers are a delight even before they bloom with their balloon shaped unopened flower. This is a guide about growing balloon flowers (Chinese bellflower).


Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

By 1 found this helpful
February 7, 2006

Botanical Name:

Platycodon grandiflorus

Life Cycle:


Planting Time:

spring or fall


1' to 3'


full sun or light shade (afternoon shade in hot climates)


average, well-drained soil


zones 3 to 8

Bloom Time:

mid to late summer


bell-shaped purple-blue, pink or white upward facing blossoms


green, fine-textured


seeds or cuttings, plants are difficult to divide

Suggested Use:

containers, edging, cut flowers and borders

Growing Hints:

In the spring, sow seeds directly into ground where you want them to grow. Keep sowing seeds up to 2 months before fall frost date. Seeds can be started indoors 6-8 weeks before transplanting. Seeds require light to germinate so don't cover them; just press them lightly into the soil. Expect flowers the second season. Mark planted areas. Balloon flowers are notoriously slow to wake up in the spring. Cuttings (2" to 4") can be taken in the late spring.

Interesting Facts:

Balloon flowers get their name from they way their flower buds swell before the petals unveil themselves.
Comment Was this helpful? 1
March 7, 20120 found this helpful

This is a great flower for beginner gardeners or anyone. It is easy to grow and very sturdy to grow. The problem I had was that every year it reseeds in different spots and since I used it as a border to my patio, it didn't work well. It is very reproductive and got bushier every year.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

June 2, 2017

Platycodon is another member of the Campanulaceae Family (bell flower). It is a very winter hardy perennial. It can withstand 3 degree temperature. It is native to East Asia.


It's roots are edible and often used in Korean cuisine. These roots are also used to make soft drinks as well as liquors.

Platycodon has the common name 'Balloon Flower'. As can be seen in the picture below, the flower inflates before opening, having somewhat the shape of a balloon.

Comment Was this helpful? 1
June 7, 20170 found this helpful

I have always thought these were neat flowers but no one around my area seems to know what they are so mine are kinda "rare". I give well rooted plants away but sometimes I wonder if the recipient bothers to plant them. Does it matter? Not really - I just love seeing new plants take shape and blossom. New life - wonderful to behold.

Thanks again for bringing us some of the "not so common" beauties.


Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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