balloon flowers

lam702June 20, 2014

Last year I got a couple of balloon flower plants cheap at the end of the season. This year, they look great, haven't started to bloom yet but they are stretching and looking a bit leggy. Can I pinch these back to make them more full? I've found I can pinch most plants, but since these are my first balloon flowers, I don't know for sure about these.

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debbiecz3(z3MB)

Yes balloon flower responds well to pinching back to control its flipping nature.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 7:27AM
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debbiecz3(z3MB)

That should be flopping nature. LOL.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 7:29AM
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gardenweed_z6a

I whack back my balloon flowers in mid-June every year to prevent flopping. Some varieties will grow 4-5 ft. tall by the time they bloom which isn't a look I'm going for in my garden beds. It may or may not encourage branching--I haven't noticed--but it does eliminate flopping.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:03AM
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Campanula UK Z8

gosh - wish mine got to 4-5ft tall (a look I DO want in my (ahem) beds - lucky if they straggle in at 2 feet. I have a few more in the greenhouse from last years seeds....which I have been neglecting because they look so measly.......
Obvs. mine are some wimpy variety......so what are the giants then?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:57AM
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lam702

Great, thanks. I'll definitely pinch them back today!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 9:13AM
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greenhearted(5a IL)

I love balloon flowers! I have 'Sentimental Blue' that is a dwarf. It stays very tidy and neat, gets about 8-12" tall.

I am delighted to see it peeking out of the soil (about an inch tall right now) because I brought it with me to the new house last year -mid summer no less- at which time it was 3 years old. I heard they don't do well with transplanting.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 11:08AM
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Glen4sure(7a)

These are my balloon flowers popped and unpopped. Is blue the only color they come in? I want to purchase more flowers in other colors

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:40PM
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carnealy

Swallowtail Garden Seeds has varieties in pink and white. I have never grown them, so I can't speak to their performance, but the photos look great!

Here is a link that might be useful: Swallowtail Balloon Flower Seeds

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 9:18PM
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gardenweed_z6a

Glen4sure - Platycodon grandiflora/balloon flower is available in blue/lavender, pink & white as well as double blooms. I like them particularly because so far there don't appear to be any critters that like how they taste.

Campanula - I'd be happy to send you seeds of my tall plants but the question is, what are the chances they'd grow as tall where you are? I can't be sure of which varieties I planted where--I have about 8 or 10 clumps of them growing in various beds. I do know which clumps grow tall and just whack them back with pruning shears each year to control height.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:21AM
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Michaela .:. thegarden@902 .:. (Zone 5b - Iowa)

hpny2 do you have any photos of your balloon flowers now?

I was at walmart a few weeks ago and spotted one there for like $4 and picked it up not expecting much and it's doing so well. I think I am going to have to go back and get some more now that I know they survive zone 5 winters.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:35AM
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Michaela .:. thegarden@902 .:. (Zone 5b - Iowa)

Looks like I have Sentimental Blue Balloon Flowers.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:40AM
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gardenweed_z6a

thegardenat902 - they're super easy to grow from seed via winter sowing and will sometimes bloom the first year from seed. I ordered seeds from Swallowtail and will be growing their Fuji Pink this year.

Sorry - tried to post photos but they didn't upload.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:58AM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Re balloon flowers generally:

It's amazing how long lived balloon flowers can be here.

The patch below, at Merlin's Hollow, Aurora, On. (July 11, 2010), is certainly over 20 years old.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 1:28PM
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Michaela .:. thegarden@902 .:. (Zone 5b - Iowa)

SunnyBorders - those are lovely.

gardenweed_z6a - thank you for the tip. I am looking for easy to sows for this winter. I will give these a try. :D

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:29PM
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stir_fryi

I bought a couple sentimental blue last year, end of season and put them in the dumbest place between two daylillies.

I'd like to move them -- I hear they take being moved very hard.

If I wait to late fall, can I cut them back and move them then? Hopefully they will be happy again by the time spring comes?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:57PM
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lilsprout

I bought 8 white ones many years ago. Very pretty in bloom, but unfortunetly too much work for my liking. I found them to be very high maintanence that required CONSTANT deadheading.

I pulled them and gave them away....

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:10PM
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gardenweed_z6a

stir_fryi - I haven't moved any of my balloon flowers but all were grown from seed via winter sowing and took planting out with no visible problem.

The link below seems to confirm they resist being moved. Can't say if that's just Sentimental Blue--it's the only one I Googled.

Here is a link that might be useful: Transplanting balloon flowers

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:43PM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Related to balloon flowers not liking being divided or moved is the fact they have tap roots.

I'd agree that they also grow in a way (small clumps) that makes division unnecessary.

Taproots make them drought resistant and give them food reserves and hence perhaps contribute to an unusual longevity for garden perennials.

I do deadhead my balloon flowers (Re Lilsprout's comment), but feel that if dead-heading is not done, the short ones look worse than the taller ones.

I find taller balloon flowers easy to stake. In my experience, they don't tend to flop but they do grow towards the sun.

Below (July 30, 2013) my (Hakone series) favourites.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:21PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Beautiful blue in that picture SB.

I know "Balloons" with that tap make it more difficult to move but I can tell you from personal experience that I have successfully relocated these plants several times. The depth of my shovel seems good enough.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:59PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Deer pruned my tall platycodyn from front to back at a gradual angle two nights ago. I don't prune mine and they mostly stand upright. Am interested to see how they look in bloom with this pruning.

I also deadhead but it is quick work. Have also transplanted and dug up plants to share. Shovel deep works for me as well.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 12:36AM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Rouge: Think also, the older the plant (the deeper the taproot), the less movable they are.

Mnwsgal: Agree re deadheading, though find it easier to deadhead the taller ones; less stooping.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 7:43AM
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Glen4sure(7a)

Hi hpny. Here's another look at my balloon flowers now that they are popped. My flowers are at least a year old and in a small space. How tall does these flower grow?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 7:11PM
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greenhearted(5a IL)

Lovely, Glen!

Stir_fryi, my experience is the same as rouge's. I posted earlier that I moved my three year old 'Sentimental Blue' to my new house last year and they have survived. There is some risk in moving them but if they are going to get crowded out anyway, might as well take the chance. And as SunnyBorders points out, a younger plant is likely easier to transplant.

I don't always deadhead mine... I find this cultivar's habit and clean foliage attractive even when not in bloom.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 2:52PM
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