Balloon Flower

(Platycodon grandiflorus) Native to Asia, balloon flower is an easy-to-grow perennial and a fun addition to the garden. And they are cold hardy from USDA zones 4-9! The flower buds puff up just like a balloon before bursting open to showcase their colorful blooms. They require full sun to partial shade and will often self sow their seed. Plants prefer rich soil, amended with well-rotted compost. Soil should be consistently moist, but well draining and slightly acidic. Seeds can be direct sown in fall or spring, or started indoors in early spring. Cover them with a thin layer of soil and lightly water. Seeds germinate in 5-15 days. Ideal germination temperature is 65-75 F. In addition to being one of the most ornamental flowers, the plant also has edible and medicinal uses. The young leaves can be cooked as a vegetable or dried, powdered and used to flavor various dishes. Traditionally, the root has been peeled, then pickled to preserve for later use. The root is also used in traditional Chinese and traditional Korean medicine, and it is believed to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Note that the leaves and roots are considered edible; however, the blooms are not known to be edible. Please do thorough research before ingesting plant.

 

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