November 20, 2017

Up, Up and Away

Platycodon grandiflorus - Balloon flower

Janine Pineo Photo | Platycodon grandiflorus – Balloon flower

Few flowers are as adorable as Platycodon grandiflorus when in bud. Native to Asia, this perennial is called balloon flower for its buds, which resemble little balloons just prior to opening into a bell-shaped flower. Hardy to Zone 3, balloon flower reaches between 2 and 3 feet in height, is somewhat shade tolerant and can blossoms for several weeks in midsummer in Maine. While purple is the most common shade, there are also white and pink varieties. In Asian cultures, balloon flower is used both medicinally (the root is used as an anti-inflammatory) and in cuisine (the plant and root).