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Growing Mixed Balloon Flowers

Q: I am growing mixed balloon flowers for the first time, I'm surprised at their height and the way some of them droop. Is it necessary to make supports for them, and at what time in their growth should I do that? What could I use to create the supports with items I have at home already? Would stakes and string be ok, or should each have it's own supports.
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Thanks,
Joan in CT

A: Joan,

Some of the taller balloon flowers (as tall as 30") will definitely need staking unless you are okay with droopy flowers. Large blooms add a lot of extra weight to the stems and especially after it rains, you can expect them to fall over. Any type of knee-height supports will work fine. You can get away with sticks and string or you might want to consider using some left over tomato cages or a similar heavy-gauge support that the plants can grow through. You can try dowel rods, the turn wands from old window blinds or wooden paint stirrers (tape them together). There is no right time to stake balloon flowers, but if you're using tomato or other grow through cages, you'll find it easier to corral and train the plants while they are young rather than risk damaging adult plants while trying to fit them through the support rings.

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August 12, 20050 found this helpful

Balloon flowers get up to 2.5 feet high and can become droopy with the flowers. I use a tomato cage to keep them upright. Push the cages into the ground in the spring before the balloon flower gets growing. Or put them in in the fall when you know for sure where the balloon flower is.

Balloon flowers will spread by underground runners and you will have them coming up 3 feet over from the original plant. I like using the extras in my annual garage sale. I find that the balloon flower is one of the last perennials in my yard to come up in the spring.

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