Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorum) organically grown flower seeds. Floral Encounters.
Overlay Text
Item # Packet size Nett Weight Number Seeds(approx) Price Qty
Small 0.18 g 200 Seeds. $3.30
Medium 0.36 g 400 Seeds. $5.80

Please note: all seeds are sold by weight and seed count is approximate.

To keep seed prices low much of our seed is semi cleaned. More Info


Easy to grow perennial hardy to zone 3 with lovely sky blue star shaped flowers that bloom throughout the summer months. Known as balloon flower because the flowers begin life as a large balloon like globule that suddenly burst open to display the flower. It's hard to pass by the plant without popping open at least one of the blooms and children delight in this activity. Very easy to grow, will flower from seed the first year, often short and prostate for the first year or so before the large tap root is strong enough to produce tall upright plants reaching up to 4 feet (1.2m) in height. Due to tap root does not like to be moved once established but will come back year after year with no care, just cut down the stalks once a year so it's ideal for any flower garden or meadow setting in a 'mow it down' garden. Likes full sun to part shade and well drained soil.

Description of Balloon Flower (Platycodon Grandiflorus).
Tough cold tolerant perennial with fleshy tap root. Dies down in winter in most zones. In spring stiff bright green stems emerge which are quickly populated by leaves. These are ovate with pointed ends and strong serrated edges. The arrangement on the stem is unusual in that the lowest leaves are often arranged in whorls while those in the center of the lengthening stem are usually arranged alternately and the ones near the top are in opposite pairs; leaves range from small to about 3 inches (7.6cm) in length. Stems can be short forming more prostrate plants or stiffer and taller in more upright forms. Often the same plant can take different forms depending on how old the plant is. Young plants are often more prostrate but as they grow older in years and the fleshy roots increase in size the plants become more upright and can reach 4 feet (1.2m) in height. Stems are usually unbranched until the apex when small branches appear each carrying a single flower bud. Buds increase in size from a small globular mass to a larger five star pointed balloon shape that finally bursts open to become an upward facing bell with five pointed petals. The center is dominated by a large upright stigma with five curling receptors, below are five thin yellow stamens. Flowers are commonly sky blue in color but sometimes can be white.
Each flower is short lived but they appear in such profusion that flowering goes on for over a month sometimes more. Flowers are followed by small star shaped seed pods that open at one end like small vases and are much loved by small rodents.
In colder zones plants die back in winter but may stay green in zones warmer than 7b.

Growing Balloon Flower (Platycodon Grandiflorus) from Seed.
Seeds need light to germinate so do not cover. Best started inside as seedlings are fragile and easy to damage. Germination is slow and erratic and can take up to 30 days. For these reasons we recommend starting indoors in individual pots or cell trays to ensure each seedling has its own room and does not affect other seedlings that may not be as large when transplanting is required. Individual peat or cardboard pots are ideal.
Keep warm and moist with a good light source until germinated and seedlings are large enough to transfer to larger pots. Make sure the roots are not damaged. Platicodons are very sensitive about their roots and damage can stunt growth.
Once plants are large enough and have been hardened off they can be transplanted to the garden: again ensure that the roots are not disturbed and choose your location carefully as they don't take well to transplanting.

While some sources suggest that stratification is required all our seeds are kept in cold conditions and we have not found extra stratification necessary to achieve good germination rates.

Location and Care of Balloon Flower (Platycodon Grandiflorus)
Tough plant hardy to zone 3.
Soil. It does seem to prefer a slightly acidic soil rather than strongly alkaline. Soil can be locally modified by adding coffee grinds or finely chopped pine needles in small quantities to the soil around each plant. Do not add mounds of these ingredients as this can burn the plants and the soil. Otherwise will grow in most kinds of soil provided it is not continuously wet. Likes a well drained soil and does quite well in sandy soils. However best results are achieved if the soil has a good amount of organic material in it. Recommended that this should be added before transplanting. Create a mix that has about 45% organic material at planting time. These are perennials and there will not be another chance to add material to the soil once they are in place so this has to last them a lifetime. Small amounts can be top dressed after the plants are established if desired.

Light. Plants in zones 3-5b do well in full sunshine all year. From 6a to 7b can tolerate some partial shade with some shade and some full sun throughout the day. Below 7b light shade is best with good shading from noon sun, an area that gets morning or afternoon sun is ideal but it can tolerate north facing areas provided light is good, does not do well in full shade.

Water. Plants develop a large strong tap root and do not like to be moved once they are established so choose your location carefully. Once the tap root has developed the plants are fairly drought resistant but if drought is prolonged and regular the plants may wane over time without added water as it will shrink the tap root. They certainly do better if they have some regular watering becoming much stronger and larger. An ideal watering would be to run a soaker hose around the base of the plants and water at least 3 times a week depending on the amount of rainfall, location and soil drainage.

Will most commonly flower the first season from seed but plants are usually smaller often prostrate as they are beginning to develop their tap roots. In poorer locations or inadequate soil or light plant may remain prostrate for several years. If location is acceptable they grow much taller and produce small clumps of flowering stalks. If your plants remain prostrate you may consider carefully moving a few to a different location to see if this improves their form.

Once established with a good tap root these lovely flowers take little care and only need cutting down once a year. Ensure you know where they are located as they are much slower to produce spring shoots than other plants and can sometimes be forgotten and either dug out or planted over accidentally. Works well in meadow like settings mixed with other perennials and mown down once a year.

Pollinators and Wildlife with Balloon Flower (Platycodon Grandiflorus).
The continuous flower production is much appreciated by many pollinators especially butterflies and bees. In more prostrate forms rodents like to eat the seeds. The roots are also desirable for wildlife. If the soil is loose voles will often burrow in and consume the entire root leaving only the above ground stalks. If the area has moles burrowing through voles will often use their tunnels to gain access to the fleshy roots which they seem to find delectable. Ensure that piles or mulch are not left around the plants in the wintertime as this gives great cover for voles who then have easy access to the roots.

Harvesting Balloon Flower (Platycodon Grandiflorus)
The roots are used both as food and medicine. These are harvested in the last autumn once the plants are dying down for the winter months. Roots are often large and white. Dig them out and store them in cool conditions until ready for use.
While some sources state that the leaves can also be used only the young leaves at the top of the stem should be harvested since they produce toxic substances as they mature.

Culinary Uses of Balloon Flower (Platycodon Grandiflorus).
The large white fleshy roots are used like turnips being added to soups stews and other dishes. They can also be pealed and candied for later treats. Our experiments have found the roots to be rather bland and uninteresting, turnips are better.
Young top leaves can be added to salads, where they give a satisfying crunch. The older leaves are sometimes collected dried and used as flavouring in Asian countries.

Medical uses of Balloon Flower (Platycodon Grandiflorus)
The roots have been used in Chinese medicine for over 2000 years. They contain saponins that stimulate the liver thus reducing the production of glycogen and cholesterol storage in the liver. It can also inhibit the release of histamine so is used in allergy remedies especially those that respiratory issues such as colds, cough, bronchitis, pleurisy, pulmonary abscesses and throat infections. In Korea it is important in treating diabetes and hypertension

Other uses
Makes a good cut flower. Sear the cut stems immediately to prolong blooms.

Which name is correct Platycodon grandiflorus or Platycodon grandiflorum?
These two names seem to be used interchangeabley for the same plant. The actual botanical name is Platycodon grandiflorus. However in Asian medical texts especially those from Korea where the root is known as Doraji it is attributed to Platycodon grandiflorum it is unclear whether this was originally a mistake that has been reproduced everywhere or if this is the accepted name in Korea. Whatever the origin the different names are proliferated depending on where the new author obtained their source material and what they are discussing. In other words it's darn confusing.

Other names.
Balloon Flower, Chinese Bellflower, Japanese Bellflower, Chinese Bellflower, Platycodon grandiflorum

Item # Packet size Nett Weight Number Seeds(approx) Price Qty
Small 0.18 g 200 Seeds. $3.30
Medium 0.36 g 400 Seeds. $5.80

Please note: all seeds are sold by weight and seed count is approximate.

To keep seed prices low much of our seed is semi cleaned. More Info