Platycodon grandiflorus 'Astra Blue'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Common Name: balloon flower
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Campanulaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy

Culture

Best grown in light, medium moisture, organically rich, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Avoid wet or poorly-drained soils. Plants are easily grown from seed. Division and transplanting are possible but tricky because of the fragile, fleshy root systems of these plants, and it is probably best to leave plants undisturbed once established. Deadheading spent flowers generally prolongs the bloom period. New season plant stems emerge late in spring, so gardeners must be careful not to damage crowns by early cultivation (leaving old plant stems in place throughout winter to the point when the new growth first appears helps mark plant locations). Taller plants often need to be staked because of floppy stems. Consider cutting back plant stems by 1/2 in May to reduce plant height and possibly avoid staking.

'Astra Blue' is part of the Astra series which is an F1 hybrid seed strain featuring white, pink and blue flowers. 'Astra Blue' can be purchased as seed, and will self-seed in the garden in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Platycodon grandiflorus, commonly called balloon flower, is a clump-forming perennial that is so named because its flower buds puff up like balloons before bursting open into outward-to-upward-facing, bell-shaped flowers with five pointed lobes. Plants are native to slopes and meadows in China, Japan, Korea and Siberia. Purple-blue flowers (to 2-3” across) bloom throughout summer, singly or in small clusters, atop stems typically growing to 30” tall. Ovate to lance-shaped, toothed, blue-green leaves (to 2” long).

Genus name comes from the Greek words platys meaning broad and kodon meaning a bell for the shape of the corolla.

Specific epithet means large-flowered.

'Astra Blue' is an extremely dwarf plant which only grows to 4" tall. Features 1.5" diameter, blue flowers which seem almost out of proportion to this dwarf plant. Oval, dentate leaves. Blooms throughout the summer.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Root rot may occur in overly moist soils. Watch for slugs and snails.

Garden Uses

Rock gardens or border fronts. Containers. Edging.