Although the Latin botanical names are the best way to talk about flowers, since common names vary so widely, common names are still a lot of fun, and definitely worth knowing. Balloon flower is a great example. Once you see one of these plants covered in buds and getting ready to burst into bloom, you’ll know exactly where the common name came from. There’s also a good chance you’ll want one in your garden! The good news is that growing balloon flower is really quite easy, and it will thrive in almost any garden.
Balloon Flower (the Latin name is Platycodon grandiflorus, for those who like to know) is a perennial. It does well in most climates, from zones 3 through 9. It flowers best in full sun, but will also thrive in morning sun and afternoon shade (and may actually do better there in warmer areas). New plants need regular water while getting established, but then are pretty drought-tolerant. In most conditions, balloon flower will grow to a couple of feet tall, though dwarf varieties are available for smaller gardens. The most common blooms are shades of blue, but pink and white varieties are available too.
In colder areas, balloon flower dies back to the ground in the winter. It’s often one of the later flowers to emerge in the spring, so when growing balloon flower you may want to mark the spot somehow so you don’t plant over it. If you want to start from seed, remember that it won’t flower the first year. Growing balloon flower is easiest if you start with plants from your local nursery. They start flowering in mid to late summer, and will continue throughout the season with regular dead-heading. That’s pretty much all the maintenance they’ll need, though.
A final tip: Looking for one more reason to start growing balloon flower in your garden? They’re deer-resistant! See more deer-resistant flowers here.