Balloon Flower

Platycodon grandiflorus commonly known as balloon flower, is a species of herbaceous flowering perennial plant of the family Campanulaceae, and the only member of the genus Platycodon.

The extracts and purified platycoside compounds (saponins) from the roots of Platycodon grandiflorum may exhibit neuroprotective, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-allergy, improved insulin resistance, and cholesterol-lowering properties.

Evidence for these potential effects was mainly observed in vitro, with the exception of cholesterol lowering effects documented in vitro and in rats.

The lack of efficacy and limited safety data in humans however, necessitates further research.

The balloon plant is easy to grow and hardy in USDA Zones 3-8. It will thrive in sun or partial shade.

It likes well-drained, slightly acidic soil; and although the balloon flower plant will tolerate dry conditions, it prefers (and needs) plenty of moisture.

This cold hardy plant also prefers cooler conditions in summer, so afternoon shade is a good idea for warmer regions.

Seeds can be directly sown in the garden or started indoors in early spring. It is not necessary to cover seeds; simply moisten the area and within a couple weeks you should have sprouts.

Balloon flower
Balloon flower

Thin these to about a foot apart. Generally, balloon flowers bloom within the same season they are sown.

With exception to occasional bouts of slugs or snails, balloon flower pests are few. Basically, all you’ll need to do for these plants is sit back and enjoy these long-blooming plants throughout summer.

Of course, they may require staking if falling over. You can also add them to cut flower arrangements.

Since the succulent stems have milky sap, you’ll need to lightly singe the cut ends with a candle (or match) immediately after cutting to make them last longer.

Balloon flower propagation can also be done by dividing the plants. Dividing balloon flower can be a bit tricky because it has a very long taproot and doesn’t like being disturbed.

If you want to try it, though, choose the best, healthiest plant you have.