Balloon Flowers - Great for Bees, Great for Beauty, Great for #easy #gardening

Once upon a time, our lawn had a kidney shaped island with no plants. I tried a few annuals in the space, but really tired of having them die each fall and require replanting. Then on a random trip to the nursery, I found some badly dehydrated clearance priced perennial flowers. Balloon Flowers!

They were planted right before winter, and by the next spring I was sure I had made a mistake. Balloon flowers take their time starting up each spring, and they start out so little. I was wrong (thankfully!) and they took off in no time. By mid summer they look like the photo above.

They do produce seeds that will drop and make little seedlings. Again...little. They are easy to pull out or relocate. The flowers are so fun - they start out as puffy little balloons and open into adorable stars. Bumblebees seem to prefer them compared to honeybees but I have seen both bee types on these flowers. They have a very light pleasant scent and the petals are edible. They taste like nothing - rose petals maybe.

The plant does exude a glue colored latex. If you want them for cut flowers, you have to sear/burn the edges before bringing them in the house. I have found that if you chop off all the old flower heads, (they will be ball shaped) new flowers will grow and it will flower until the first frost. At frost, the leaves turn a burnt red - almost as red as a blueberry shrub.

They are gorgeous and I have since divided these to bring to our farm. They do not divide easily - they are really a mess of tangled roots underneath - but I have read that they will regrow from root sections so I buried one division and a bunch of roots. We will see!

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