Balloon Flower Guide: How To Grow, Plant, Care for Balloon Flowers (Colors)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | May 1, 2024

Man ecstatic to see purple balloon flower flourishing after reading on how to identify balloon flowers, how to cultivate and plant types of balloon flowers, and the growing zones for easy to grow flowers.

If you’re a homeowner and gardener who loves cool-colored flowers that are easy to grow and take care of then you should start planting Balloon flowers in your landscape today.

Balloon flowers are extremely disease-resistant, cool weather hardy, elegantly decorative, and low-maintenance plants to take care of.

If you enjoy cutting flowers and creating your own bouquets Balloon flowers are the perfect choice.

This comprehensive guide offers numerous tips on how to grow, plant, and take care of Balloon flowers. Everything you need to know about how to become a DIY Balloon flower florist is in this guide.

Balloon Flower, Japanese Bellflower, Chinese Bellflower

(Platycodon grandiflorus)

Balloon Flower image in an oval frame on a green background.
  • Characteristics: Balloon flowers, known for their bud's resemblance to hot-air balloons and distinctive popping sound, bloom into blue, veined, star-shaped flowers with trumpet flares.
  • Family: Campanulaceae
  • Genus: Platycodon
  • Leaf: The leaves are green or bluish-green ,feather-shaped, and feature saw-tooth serrated edges.
  • Seed: Platycodon grandiflorus seeds are tiny, brown to dark brown colored, and are equivalent in size and dimension to a grain of rice.
  • Blossoms: Summer
  • Native Habitat: Eastern Asia and Russian Far East
  • Height: Platycodon grandiflorus can grow anywhere between a foot to over 3 feet in height.
  • Canopy: 16 inches
  • Type: Perennial
  • Native Growing Zone: USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9

Growing a Balloon Flower From a Seed, Cutting or Seedling

If you live in a cold region, you should try to grow your Platycodon grandiflorus in a pot indoors about two months before the last frost date in your local calendar. Even if you don’t live in a frost-heavy climate it might still be a good idea to consider germinating your seeds indoors first.

Platycodon grandiflorus seeds don’t always germinate when expected, so it could take anywhere between two weeks to a full month before they germinate.

Place each tiny seed in its own slot in a seed tray or its own flower pot. Platycodon grandiflorus seeds are very tiny, so there is no need to push them deep into the soil; each seed can be placed on top of the soil without actually being fully covered.

Additionally, you don’t have to cover the soil top with any plastic cling film.

Platycodon grandiflorus can grow in indirect sunlight exposure as well. Keep the soil moist but never soaking wet.

Balloon Flower Sprout

Gently transplant the Platycodon grandiflorus seedling to a pot or outdoors when you notice it has grown at least two sets of leaves, which is a sign that it is mature enough for transplantation.

Balloon Flower Seedlings

Your best option for planting success if you don’t want to wait for the germination period is to plant Platycodon grandiflorus as a seedling. Just take care to gently transplant the extremely fragile roots and not plant the root ball too deeply or too far above the soil line to minimize transplantation stress.

Platycodon grandiflorus Cuttings

Also known as air-layering,8 cutting is basically the process of manipulating a sheared branch from a plant or tree into cloning itself. To start, you should carefully cut a branch from an already established and healthy Platycodon grandiflorus plant that is at least four to six inches.

Use a very clean and sharp knife or potato peeler to carefully strip away the top layers of bark about an inch from the bottom of the branch. Generously apply rooting hormone to the newly exposed woody flesh of the plant.

Carefully plant the cutting into a pot that has been filled with a well-moistened mix of coconut coir or peat moss and perlite. This soil mixture is well-draining, cuts down the probability of root rot, and provides a loose and aerated soil consistency that helps Platycodon grandiflorus roots develop healthily.

It could take anywhere between 30 to 60 days before you notice root or new leaf growth. Once you do, you can then gently transplant the cutting from the pot to the soil outside.

Collecting Balloon Flower Seeds

The easiest way to collect Platycodon grandiflorus seeds is to wait for the brown seed pod to dry out as much as possible on the end of the stem. Then, carefully cut the brown seed pod from the stem base and place the pod into a brown paper bag to allow it to dry out for a few more days.

Remove the seed pod from the brown paper bag after a few days, pop it open, and scores if not hundreds of Platycodon grandiflorus seeds should flow out.

A cluster of vibrant purple Balloon flowers in full bloom surrounded by green leaves, with a single bee perched on top of one flower to pollinate it.

(Image: Martin Steiner (stooni)12)

Platycodon grandiflorus grows deep taproots and horizontally spreading surface roots that grow out shoots about the soil surface.

Can You Grow Balloon Flowers in Pots?

If you want to grow Platycodon grandiflorus from seed then it is recommended that you grow it in a pot indoors for several weeks before transplanting it outside.

Best Growing Conditions for Balloon Flower

Platycodon grandiflorus prefers growing in well-draining and loamy soil, although you can grow it in any soil medium except clay.

You can grow this plant in gravel as long as the roots have room to grow. The soil pH should range between 5.5 and 7.5.

Aerate the soil down to a depth of a foot or more before planting to help ensure that the roots don’t struggle to establish themselves. Platycodon grandiflorus doesn’t necessarily need to be fertilized but you can add a slow-release fertilizer once every spring if you prefer.9

So, what are the watering needs for Balloon flower plants? While Platycodon grandiflorus is a very drought tolerant plant you still shouldn’t forget that it needs water to survive.

You can give the plant a deep watering once a week and always be mindful to keep the soil moist but never soaking wet. Never overwater the plant as root rot can establish itself easily if the soil is not well-draining.

When to plant Balloon flower for the best yield? The best time to plant Platycodon grandiflorus is in the late spring after the date of the last frost local to your climate and region.

As for how far apart to plant Balloon flower, the further the better. You should space out your Platycodon grandiflorus plants by anywhere between 18 inches and up to two feet apart.

How much sunlight does Balloon flower need each day? Platycodon grandiflorus can grow in indirect light, but for best results try to expose your plant to at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily.

How To Stop Balloon Flower Disease

You don’t really have to worry about common pests of the Balloon flower or any natural pest control for Balloon flower maintenance. Platycodon grandiflorus and almost all of its cultivars are generally disease and pest-resistant.

The main Balloon flower disease prevention strategy you should always remember is to never overwater the plant or plant it in non well-draining soil to prevent the onset of root rot.

Companion Plants For Growing Balloon Flower

While you can plant companion plants like yucca, daylillies, Celosia, or yarrow with Platycodon grandiflorus, take care to plant them at least 18 inches or more away from it. You don’t want your Platycodon grandiflorus roots to aggressively compete for soil resources with your companion plants.

How To Identify Balloon Flower

It is very difficult to not notice Platycodon grandiflorus plants growing.

Graphics showing how to identify balloon flower plant, with images of Balloon flower leaves, Balloon Flower roots, and the bloom itself.

The plant’s swollen pre-blossom buds and post-blossom petals demand urgent visual attention when seen.

Balloon Flower

The Platycodon grandiflorus flower blooms from late Spring to Summer and can measure anywhere between one to three inches in width.

The petals open up, trumpet style, to reveal a five-petal flower. The petals feature darker-hued veins reaching across the surface of the petal contrasting the lighter main hue of the flower.

Balloon Flower Leaves

Platycodon grandiflorus leaves are thick in width and green or bluish-green in color. The leaves are feather-shaped and feature serrated, sawtooth edges.

Balloon Flower Seeds

As Platycodon grandiflorus flowers die off on the stem, a brown-colored ovoid-shaped seed capsule with a cone-shaped top will grow out from the top of the stem. This ovoid-shaped capsule is actually a dry fruit pod that does not contain any fruit, only hundreds of tiny, rice granule-shaped seeds.

Balloon Flower Growing Zone

What are the best growing zones for Balloon flower species? Where to grow them?

Platycodon grandiflorus grows optimally in USDA planting zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. It will die off above the soil but become dormant in freezing temperatures and can become stressed in dry temperatures well above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Balloon Flower Growth Rate

How long it takes to grow Balloon flower? Since it is a perennial it can grow a few inches annually.

You should also keep in mind that Platycodon grandiflorus can take up to two seasons before it begins flowering relative to your local growing environment and climate.

Do Balloon Flowers Spread?

While Platycodon grandiflorus is generally not considered to be an invasive species, one of the most ardent Balloon flower facts is it can become invasive if you don’t take care to space out the plants when you initially plant them. Platycodon grandiflorus grows deep taproots and roots grow horizontally just under the soil line and send out vertical shoots above the ground.

Closeup of a Balloon flower plant with bright purple blooms bathe in sunlight.

(Image: Aline Dassel (dassel)14)

These shoots can grow into clones of the plant and spread exponentially via slow growth creep. If you were asked to identify weeds by photo, Platycodon grandiflorus wouldn’t look like one, but it can act like one if you aren’t mindful to carefully trim any shoots you notice.

Platycodon grandiflorus

Take note of the darker-hued veins on the petals that contrast with the lighter hue of the petals. This cultivar presents its petals in a double row of five-petal star flowers.

Platycodon grandiflorus is the technical and scientific classification for Balloon flowers.4

Platycodon grandiflorus is both an herbaceous perennial flower and a deciduous woody plant species.4 The plant is known to die above the soil while its roots go dormant in the cold weather months.

Perennial Flower

However, Platycodon grandiflorus is known to grow back during the spring and blossoming seasons.

The roots of Platycodon grandiflorus are aggressive survivors and will grow out shoots to propagate its own existence.

Platycodon grandiflorus is also scientifically considered to be a deciduous plant because its stems are woody and its leaves die and fall off during cold weather and shifting of the seasons.

Platycodon grandiflorus is a member of the scientific family Campanulaceae which is also sometimes called the Bellflower family.5 There are over 2,400 species of herbaceous shrubs, plants, and trees that are classified under the Campanulaceae family.


Platycodon grandiflorus is the only plant species genus Platycodon.6 More scientific research must be conducted to trace the scientific family tree of the species.

The term Platycodon grandiflorus may be derived from an ancient Greek term that roughly translates to “bell” or “wide.”4

It can grow anywhere between a foot and well over three feet tall depending on some species. Its canopy can be as wide as a foot and a half depending on the species.

Close-up of a purple Balloon flower bloom showing textured petals and white stamen at the center.

(Image: Bruno (Bru-nO)15)

Even though Platycodon grandiflorus is perennial and deciduous, it is cold hardy and will survive tough long winters via dormancy; Platycodon grandiflorus can survive temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit via dormancy.4

Chinese Bellflower

Processed Platycodon grandiflorus roots are being prepped for sale to consumers in South Korea. Platycodon grandiflorus is known as the Chinese Bellflower in China and is an important food source and herbal medicine ingredient.7

Platycodon grandiflorus has probably been used as a food and medicinal ingredient in East Asia for thousands of years.7

China cultivates and grows over 2.2 million pounds of Platycodon grandiflorus flowers and roots annually.7 China also exports over half of the plants that it grows domestically to other countries.

Kikyo Flower

In Japan, Platycodon grandiflorus is known as the Kikyo flower. The term “Kikyo” can have several meanings relative to context and interpretation but in terms of the Platycodon grandiflorus plant, it can refer to something of high status or having extreme value or honor.

Blue Balloon Flower or Purple Balloon Flower?

While Platycodon grandiflorus is widely revered for its signature blue flowers, the plant can also manifest flowers of other different colors and hues.

Platycodon grandiflorus can also aesthetically manifest purple, violet, bluish-pink, and pink flowers. There are also some types of white flowers and plant species of Platycodon grandiflorus that are more prevalent and native to South Korea.4

Balloon Flower Plant Bouquets

If you are an avid gardener and love creating your own fragrant bouquets, growing your own Balloon flowers could save you a lot of money in the long run. The typical cost of a bouquet of flowers is at least $60 but can easily cost double or triple the estimate depending on the species, colors, supply, difficulty of growth and maintenance, season, or holiday.1

If you are planning to host or attend a small-scale and budget-conscious wedding you could spend a season or two growing all of the wedding bouquets as a DIY florist with Balloon flowers. The typical wedding venue will spend at least $2,300 and upwards of $30,000 just on the flowers alone.2

Balloon flowers are prized for their dazzling blue color hues. Roughly less than 10 percent of over 300,000 particular species of flower plants are blue.3

You can also grow Balloon flowers in a backyard garden or home garden to cultivate different colors via species or cultivars.

Balloon flowers are also plants that attract hummingbirds and many types of butterflies because they are great pollinators.

Additionally, the flower petals and especially the fleshy roots of the plant are entirely edible; the Balloon flower is a staple food ingredient in many regions of East Asia, especially in South Korea.4

Is Platycodon grandiflorus Edible?

The flowers and roots of the plant are all edible and have been eaten by Asian populations for thousands of years. In Korea, Platycodon grandiflorus is used in a multitude of dishes and even candies.

If you enjoy eating the Korean dish Bibimbap, which is a Korean rice and vegetable dish, then you have probably eaten the Platycodon grandiflorus roots already without even realizing it.4

How Are Platycodon grandiflorus Roots Prepared for Consumption?

Platycodon grandiflorus is very bitter to the taste, so you should wash, soak, and rinse it several times with water. You should also vigorously rub coarse salt or sea salt on the roots between washings.

While there is no conclusive evidence that Platycodon grandiflorus is toxic, especially since it is a staple food ingredient in East Asia, you should probably refrain from eating it raw.

The roots of this plant are best consumed as a pickled dish or as a salad ingredient.7 Koreans also make tea, beverages, syrup, desserts, and even liquor from the Platycodon grandiflorus root.4

Growing Platycodon grandiflorus can help make your landscape look amazing, cut down on your bouquet costs, and even provide you with a sustainable food source.

Growing the plant is also a very low-maintenance activity. The plant is drought-tolerant and will survive if you forget to water it for a week.

Balloon flower growing is one of the best ways to begin planting and cultivating outdoor ornamental flowers that you can enjoy for months.

Frequently Asked Questions About Balloon Flower

What Is the Most Efficient Way To Cut Balloon Flowers?

Platycodon grandiflorus, belonging to the Campanulaceae family, produces a milky latex from its stem when cut, which can drip or cloud the water if used in a bouquet. Sealing the cut end with a candle flame can prevent the latex from leaking.

Is Balloon Flower Used in Scientific Research?

Balloon Flower is used in many herbal home remedies and prescribed medications in East Asia but its medicinal benefits have yet to be proven in the West. Scientists are testing the ingredients in Platycodon grandiflorus, especially its saponin content, which is a toxic organic chemical, in the hopes that it may one day be used in treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease and even cancer.10

Are Balloon Flowers Good Wildlife Repellent?

While Platycodon grandiflorus might attract small wildlife animals like rabbits, the plant is a known deer repellent. It is also an efficient pollinator that will attract butterflies and birds.


1Flora Queen. (2023, March 15). How Much Does A Bouquet Of Flowers Cost. Flora Queen. Retrieved December 24, 2023, from <>

2Shrikan, A. (2022, April 5). Couples spend $2,300 on wedding flowers. Here’s the best ‘way to cut flower costs,’ according to florists. CNBC. Retrieved December 24, 2023, from <>

3Dyer, A., Jentsch, A., Burd, M., Garcia, J., Giejsztowt, J., Camargo, M., Tjørve, E., Tjørve, K., White, P., Shrestha, M. (2021, January 15). Fragmentary Blue: Resolving the Rarity Paradox in Flower Colors. Frontiers. Retrieved December 24, 2023, from <>

4Wikipedia. (2023, December 12). Platycodon. Wikipedia. Retrieved December 24, 2023, from <>

5Wikipedia. (2023, December 3). Campanulaceae. Wikipedia. Retrieved December 24, 2023, from <>

6USDA. (2023). Platycodon A. DC. USDA. Retrieved December 24, 2023, from <>

7Ji, M.Y., Bo, A., Yang, M., Xu, J.F., Jiang, L.L., Zhou, B.C., & Li, M.H. (2020, January 31). The Pharmacological Effects and Health Benefits of Platycodon grandiflorus—A Medicine Food Homology Species. NCBI. Retrieved December 24, 2023, from <>

8NParks Buzz. (2021, October). Air-layering – A Viable Way of Propagating Woody Plants. NParks Buzz. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

9Rose, R. (2002). Slow-release fertilizers 101. USDA. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

10Nyakudya, E., Jeong, J.H., Lee, N.K., Jeong, Y.S. (2014, June). Platycosides from the Roots of Platycodon grandiflorum and Their Health Benefits. Prev Nutr Food Sci. Retrieved December 24, 2023, from <>

11Species Information Image: Motsuji Garden Kikyo DSCN5315 20080822 Photo by Ogiyoshisan. (2008, August 22) / Public domain. Cropped and added text, shape, and background elements. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

12Platycodon grandiflorus, Flowers, Balloon flowers Photo by Martin Steiner (stooni). (2021, July 20) / Pixabay Content License. Resized. Pixabay. Retrieved January 1, 2024, from <>

13Balloon Flower Identification Leaf Image: Platycodon grandiflorus Prague 2014 1 Photo by Karelj. (2014, August 5) / Public domain. Cropped and added image, text, shape, and background elements. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

14Flower, Nature, Petals Photo by Aline Dassel (dassel). (2020, August 3) / Pixabay Content License. Resized. Pixabay. Retrieved January 1, 2024, from <>

15Balloon flowe, Beautiful flowers, Platycodon grandiflorus Photo by Bruno (Bru-nO). (2015, July 16) / Pixabay Content License. Resized. Pixabay. Retrieved January 1, 2024, from <>