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Plantidote of the Day 2012-09-03

twig's picture

balloon flower

Platycodon grandiflorus

Balloon flower

Maybe you're wondering why a plant with star-shaped blossoms that look nothing like balloons is called balloon flower. If so, you'll have to check below the fold and see for yourself. Ta da....!

balloon flower buds

The name comes from the buds, which do look a little like hot air balloons. Anyway, balloon flowers are perennials suitable for all zones. They're easy to grow from seeds, and come in typical flower colors -- pink, white, lavender. The flowers of the 'Komachi' variety stay like balloons when blooming, rather than opening up.

You can keep these plants blooming for months during the summer by pinching off individual flowers when they wilt. Gophers are their worst enemy (they eat the roots, the little dorks!). I'm not sure what can be done about that, at least not humanely. If you have suggestions that do not involve gophericide (sp?), please leave a comment. We will all be grateful, but the gophers especially.

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Readers, please send twig (twig4now@gmail.com) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

Try lining the planting hole with 1/2 mesh wire ( called hardware cloth) , filling with compost and soil and plant in that. It works for smaller plants but too difficult for bigger plants that gophers like ie. roses and citrus.

I have about 50 thousand gophers here so I never plant bulbs anymore, unless they are daffodils which the little buggers don't touch.