How To Grow And Care For Balloon Flowers (Handy Guide)

Balloon flowers get their unusual name from the shape of their buds. They grow puffy little buds that then bloom into beautiful star-shaped flowers.

If you want to grow these special flowers in your garden, we’ve got the guide for you. Read on to find out different ways to plant balloon flowers and how to care for them after they mature.

How To Grow Balloon Flowers

1. Choose A Sunny Location For Your Balloon Flowers

Balloon flowers do very well with a mix of morning sun and afternoon-filtered light. They can tolerate shade to a point, but they won’t bloom as much as those put in sunnier areas.

In addition to sunlight, think about your soil. If you’re planting directly in a garden bed rather than a pot, the soil should have good drainage and be slightly acidic. The ideal pH level is between 5.5-7.5.

In short, choose an area that’s sunny for at least part of the day and make sure the soil has proper drainage and is slightly acidic.

2. Start Seeds Indoors And Harden Them Off

If you want to grow your balloon flowers from seeds, you should start the seeds indoors. Start them one or two months before the last frost date for your area.

Put a very thin layer of soil inside a tray or container and then place the seeds on top. Cover the seeds with only 1/16 inch of soil.

Allow the seeds to germinate in a warm location. Then, a week before the last frost, start to harden them off outdoors. Hardening the seeds prepares them for the move outdoors without shocking them so much they fail.

All you have to do is place their container in the sun for a few hours every day. Do this for about three to five days, and they’ll be ready to plant.

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3. Plant Balloon Flower Seeds And Seedlings ¼” In The Ground

You should plant each seed about 8-12” apart, ¼” deep into the soil. Lightly water the plants every day for between 9-14 days.

Once the seeds sprout to about three to four inches tall, cut back on the watering so you’re just keeping the soil moist. You don’t have to water your balloon flowers every day, but don’t let them dry out.

If you’re growing from a cutting or an established transplant from a nursery, planting is simple. Dig a hole deep enough to hold the soil from the original container.

You should still keep the same spacing you would use for seeds if you’re planting multiple flowers.

It’s important to note that while transplants may bloom the same season you plant them, seeds take more time. Balloon flowers you grow from seeds won’t bloom until their second season.

Tips For Caring For Your Balloon Flowers

Starting and planting your balloon flowers is the easy part. But what should you do to keep your plant beautiful and healthy once it’s established?

Here are a few tips and tricks to care for your balloon flowers throughout the seasons.

Avoid Transplanting Established Balloon Flowers

Balloon flowers are strong self-sowers, but if you do want to propagate them, avoid using the division method.

Division is breaking up the plant but leaving the roots intact, which actually can damage the roots. Since balloon flowers have pretty fragile roots, this method can cause too much harm to their root systems.

This also means that balloon flowers don’t respond well to transplanting in general. Make sure you pick the best spot for them before planting so you can avoid trying to move them later.

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Don’t Use Too Much Fertilizer

Too much acidity in the soil can decrease the bloom production of your balloon flowers. Instead, they may grow leggy and less attractive. So, avoid using too much fertilizer, or any at all if you already have rich soil.

You can add compost at the end of the season or use a slow-release fertilizer at the start of spring if your soil does need a pH boost.

Deadhead Tired Blooms To Encourage A Longer Season

Deadheading is the process of clipping away full faded blooms during the growing season. This allows your balloon flower to put more energy into releasing new blooms.

You don’t have to remove the whole stem; you only need to clip the spent bloom.

Commonly Asked Questions

Do Balloon Flowers Spread?

Yes, balloon flowers are self-sowing flowers. While you may need to do some pruning of leggy stems, they’re generally not aggressive spreaders.

Do Balloon Flowers Like Sun Or Shade?

Although balloon flowers can tolerate some shade, they like full sun for at least half the day. If the afternoons get very hot where you live, you can plant your balloon flowers in dappled shade.

Are Balloon Flowers Annual Or Perennial?

Balloon flowers are perennial plants. This means they’ll come back every year with proper care!

How Do You Keep Balloon Flowers Blooming?

The best way to keep balloon flowers blooming all season long is to deadhead. By removing spent and faded blooms, you’re giving space and energy for new blooms to continue.

You can also cut back balloon flowers in the fall to prepare them for winter. As perennials, you don’t have to do much to care for balloon flowers in the winter.

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Can You Grow Balloon Flowers In Pots?

Yes, you can grow balloon flowers in pots as long as the container is big enough. Balloon flowers have long taproots, so you need a container where they can grow comfortably.

A 10-12-inch-tall pot works best, with a width about two inches more than the size of a full-grown plant. It should have good drainage, and you should go for a nice, nutrient-rich potting soil with between 5.5-7.5 pH.

Finally, if your balloon flower does outgrow its pot, don’t transplant it until well into the growing season. Balloon flowers have fragile roots, so you have to be very careful when moving them.

To End

Anyone can grow and care for balloon flowers with little effort. They enjoy sunshine but can tolerate shade, don’t have excessive water needs, and can grow in flower beds or containers. 

Use the tips and tricks in this guide and you’ll have gorgeous balloon flowers for years to come.

Lucy Young

Meet Lucy, a seasoned gardener with a green thumb and a wealth of experience cultivated over 10 years in her own backyard oasis. Now, she channels her passion into writing, sharing invaluable gardening knowledge on her website. From nurturing plants to expert pruning techniques, Lucy's articles are a treasure trove for both seasoned enthusiasts and budding gardeners. Join her on this leafy journey as she sprinkles insights, tips, and tricks to help you create your own flourishing paradise. Get ready to dig into her gardening wisdom and unlock the secrets of a thriving garden!

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