Platycodon grandiflorus ‘Axminster Streaked’ (Balloon Flower) [20 Seeds]
Germination Information: I recommend these seeds for experienced seed-sowers only, because they require patience as well as some special attention after planting.
Sow in pots, either indoors in late winter to late spring (in a bright spot at around 70°F) or outdoors from late spring to midsummer. Scatter the seeds evenly over the surface of moist growing medium and press them into the surface; do not bury them, and don’t let the growing medium dry out. Germination can be slow; look for some seedlings in 3 to 4 weeks, with additional sprouting possible thereafter.
Be aware that only 25 to 30 percent of the seedlings you grow from these seeds are likely to have bicolor flowers; the rest will be solid purple-blue. I suggest potting up the seedlings in groups of four or five when they are about 1 inch tall, then planting them in your garden (still in their groups) when they are 2 to 3 inches tall. When they begin to bloom, keep a close eye on the plants that first summer. If you see stems with solid-purple flowers, cut them off right at the base (if you don’t want them), leaving just the stems with variegated flowers.
Once you get your ‘Axminster Streaked’ plants producing their showy flowers, I heartily encourage you to collect seeds from them (remember, only the bicolor ones!) and share them with gardening friends and seed exchanges. I don’t know of any other sources of seed for this unique strain, and it would be very sad if it got lost to cultivation.
Commonly known as balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus), this perennial produces puffed-up buds that open into purple-blue flowers in mid- to late summer, with scattered rebloom in autumn. The blooms of this strain, ‘Axminster Streaked’, are speckled and streaked with varying amounts of white. It may also produce some predominantly white flowers with purple spots or streaks. The foliage turns yellow, sometimes shaded with maroon, in fall. Plants may flower the first year if started indoors in spring, at 12 to 18 inches tall. Established plants usually reach about 3 feet tall. Full sun to partial shade. Zones 3 or 4 to 8.
Harvested in 2019 for the 2020 growing season. At least 20 seeds.
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