Balloon Flower, Florist Blue (Organic)
Platycodon grandiflorum. Perennial in zones 3-8.
Developed for the cut flower trade, both the blue star-shaped flowers and balloon-shaped flower buds are intriguing in a vase as well as in the garden. Stems have up to ten blossoms each and last a long time in arrangements if seared at harvest. Does not bloom until second season, but will flower from midsummer through fall for many years. Grows well in full sun to part shade. Low maintenance and deer resistant.
Surface sow indoors 6 weeks before last frost, or direct sow once danger of frost has passed. Requires light to germinate. Germination in 21-30 days with soil temperature of 65˚F. Thin or transplant seedlings to 12″ centers. May not bloom in the first year.
Collect seeds from seed heads that are fully dry. Thresh by hand or by dancing, winnow to clean. Finish air-drying if necessary before sealing in airtight container. Some cross-pollination may occur. Isolate from other varieties of same species by ¼ mile.