How to Grow Balloon Flower Seeds

Grow Guide #2349
Family: Campanulaceae
Binomial name: Platycodon grandiflorus
Life Cycle: Perennial

This 'How to Grow' guide details everything a home gardener needs to know to plant, grow and care for Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus).

When to Sow Balloon Flower Seeds

Balloon Flower is a perennial plant that grows year round in most climates. Use the table below to identify the best time of year to sow balloon flower seeds in your climate.

  JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Cool
Temperate
Sub-Tropical
Tropical
Arid

Preparation

Balloon Flower plants are perennial, meaning they live for several years. Choose a permanent position where plants can grow undisturbed by regular digging.

Balloon Flower plants are best grown in full sun or part shade. Choose a location that will receive at least 3 hours of full sun each day.

Balloon Flower plants need a well drained soil enriched with plenty of organic matter. Prepare soil by weeding it thoroughly, digging it over to loosen it and adding aged animal manure or compost. Keep the area free of weeds until planting. Learn more about preparing soil for planting here.

Balloon Flower plants can be grown in containers. If possible choose a variety that’s recommended for container growing. Use a good quality potting mix and make sure your container is large enough for mature plants; a minimum of 10 litres is recommended for balloon flower. During the growing season, keep in mind that container grown plants may need additional fertiliser to encourage healthy growth.

How to Sow Balloon Flower Seeds

Balloon Flower seeds do not require any treatment (eg soaking, stratification) before sowing.

Exposure to light may help improve germination rates; sow seeds at the recommended depth, pressing the seeds onto damp soil and very lightly covering them with fine soil.

Balloon Flower seeds can be sown directly into the garden OR seedlings can be raised in trays or other containers and transplanted to the garden once established.

Sow Direct

  1. Sow seeds directly in the garden 0mm deep and 30cm apart.
  2. Keep soil moist but never wet or dry.
  3. Seeds should germinate in around 14-28 Days at a soil temperature of 16-18°C.
  4. Young seedlings will need protection from pests, pets and weather until they are established.

Raise Seedlings

  1. Fill trays, punnets or jiffy pots with a good quality seed-raising mix, or use soil starter pellets.
  2. Sow seeds 0mm deep.
  3. Keep soil moist but never wet or dry.
  4. Seeds should germinate in around 14-28 Days at a soil temperature of 16-18°C.
  5. Transplant seedlings to the garden once they have their first true leaves and are large enough to handle (usually 5-10cm tall).
  6. Plant out, spacing plants 30cm apart.

Tip: Seeds of this variety can be slow to germinate. Take note of the expected germination time, be patient and follow the recommended depth and temperature guidelines closely for the best chance of success.

How to Grow Balloon Flower

Balloon Flower plants need regular watering during the growing season. Do not let soil dry out; keep soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Water deeply in the early morning or late afternoon. Avoid watering the leaves of plants to avoid fungal diseases. Learn more about watering here.

If soil was well prepared no extra fertiliser should be necessary. In poor soil or to give your plants an extra boost, application of a high-potassium fertiliser or one formulated for flowering plants can be beneficial:

  • Apply slow release fertiliser at the recommended rate when transplanting or when seedlings are 5-10cm tall.
  • Apply liquid fertiliser at the recommended rate and frequency while plants are fruiting or flowering.

Balloon Flower plants should flower in approximately 200 days.

Deadhead balloon flower flowers regularly during the growing season. Using sharp secateurs or snips cut fading or dead flowers off just above a set of leaves. Removing old flowers regularly will encourage plants to produce more flowers. Learn more about deadheading flowering plants here.

When plants have finished flowering prune them back to neaten them and encourage strong new growth. Using sharp secateurs or snips, cut individual stems just above a set of lower leaves.

Balloon Flower plants may die back in cold weather. Cut plants back just above ground level in late autumn, or prune off dead foliage when new leaves emerge in spring.

Common Problems when Growing Balloon Flower

Like all plants, balloon flower is susceptible to some pests, diseases and other problems. Below is a list of the most common problems gardeners encounter when growing balloon flower plants:

  • Downy Mildew
    Downy mildew is a fungal disease that causes yellow to grey-brown patches on leaves, especially the undersides. Water plants at soil level (not on the leaves), remove and destroy affected leaves and do not overcrowd plants to ensure adequate air flow. If problems persist, spray with a homemade milk spray or fungicide.
  • Root rot
    Root rot is a disease caused by soil-borne fungi found in wet soil. Plants may be slow to establish, have yellowing or wilted foliage and have soft, brown tissue around the base of the stem and roots. Root rot is often fatal; remove and dispose of affected plants. Reducing soil moisture, adding organic matter to the soil and making sure mulch doesn't touch the stems of plants may help avoid root rot.
  • Slugs and Snails
    Slugs and snails are molluscs that feed on tender leaves and shoots, mostly at night, leaving slimy trails behind them. Control them by removing their hiding places, keeping free range poultry, collecting them by torchlight or by placing traps. Read more about slugs and snails here.

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