Platycodon grandiflorus, balloon flower, is a long-lived perennial and the perfect flower for a mixed bed or as a stand-alone specimen. The buds swell and become puffy and full before the five-lobed blossoms of balloon flower appear, hence the common name. A member of the bell flower/campanula family, blooms begin in summer and last into fall.
Do Balloon Flowers Need Deadheading?
You may ask, do balloon flowers need deadheading? The answer is yes, at least if you want to take advantage of the longest bloom period. You can let the flowers go to seed early if you want to feature other blooms in the same area.
You can keep your plants bursting with blooms all season by using this technique of balloon flower pruning along with some deadleafing (removal of spent leaves). This keeps more flowers coming if you remove the fading bloom before it goes to seed, along with the top leaves. Seeding of just one flower signals the others that time has come to stop producing flowers.
How to Deadhead Balloon Flowers
Learning how to deadhead balloon flowers is a simple process. Simply snip off the flower as it declines or break it off with your fingers. I prefer clipping, as it leaves a clean break. Take the top couple of leaves off at the same time to deadleaf. This directs the plant’s energy downward to force out more flower buds.
New branches grow and sprout more flowers. Deadheading a balloon flower is a worthwhile chore. In summer, you can prune further down and remove up to one-third of the branches for a total rebloom.
Deadheading a balloon flower doesn’t take long, but your efforts will be rewarded largely with a bounty of blooms. Check weekly to find drooping blooms on your balloon flowers and remove them.
You can also take this opportunity to fertilize your plants to speed up their growth and get the biggest flowers possible. Be sure to water before feeding. It is also a good time to check for pests on your plants. Pests are rarely a problem on this specimen and they’re deer resistant, but it never hurts to be vigilant.