Thursday, January 14, 2010

Platycodon grandiflorus Balloon Flower

A botanical lesson first. Platycodon is a monotypic genus which means there is only one species in the genus. However it can come in various forms or cultivars including white and various shades of blue flowers and occasionally double flowers. There are a few cultivars that grow to different heights including dwarf ones.

It gets its common name from the shape of the unopened flower buds that look like inflated balloons. When open the flowers measure up to 7.5cm across and have beautifully and prominently veined flowers.

It is a native of all the islands of Japan and Korea, Northern China and Eastern Siberia growing on grassy slopes in hills and mountains. It is very hardy for all New Zealand conditions.

In the garden they are very hardy but resent wet feet. The large fleshy rootstock enables it to survive in dryer conditions. One advantage is that the rootstock increases in size slowly which means it does not need high levels of maintenance like some other perennials. In the garden it can produce seeds and a few will germinate to slowly increase plant numbers.

Cultivars include
‘Snowflake’ a white semi double flower.
‘Mother of Pearl’ light pink
‘Apoyama’ deep blue


Noel Morata said...

thank you kindly for this lesson and history, i enjoyed your post


Rosie Nixon Fluerty said...

Its sold mostly as a houseplant here and its quite hard to keep as it hates being to wet. Colours being white, blue or pink. I had some in the garden but they never appeared last year due to the winter wet in 2008. We call them Balloon flowers as the kids love to pop their buds.


Anonymous said...

Ah, the fact that Platycodon doesn't like wet feet explains why it is so happy in my sandy soil. It is a favorite flower of mine and grows happily and prolifically in my garden in the northeast corner of the US. The blue ones self-sow at the rate of about one new volunteer a year. Alas, one of my favorites, a variety called "Shell Pink," is no longer available at local nurseries. Thanks for the informative post. -Jean

liza said...

nice post