This herbaceous perennial plant, Platycodon, also called bellflower, is a member of the bell family. The flowers of these plants have the form of large, broad bell-shaped flowers. In the wild, they can often be found in Eastern Siberia, China and the Far East, as well as in Korea and Japan. Platycodonas prefer to grow on forest edges, rocky slopes and in forest clearings. The name of the plant comes from the Greek word platys, meaning broad or even, and kodon, meaning bell.
This genus is monotypic because it includes only one species - platycodon grandiflorus, or large-flowered bellflower (sometimes confused with broad-leaved bellflower). This species has been cultivated since 1872 but did not become popular among gardeners until the early 20th century.
Peculiarities of Platycodon
The rhizome of Platycodon is fleshy and the height of its straight, thin, thickly foliated shoots can vary from 0.2 to 0.8 m.
The supropositely arranged leaf plates have an elongated narrow or ovate shape and a finely serrated edge. Leaflets located below are part of the root rosette. The leaf plates and shoots have a light bluish tint. Flowers can be singular or in groups of 3 to 5 in panicle-shaped inflorescences. Broadly open flowers are quite large, in diameter they can reach 8 centimeters, on the surface of the petals of blue color is clearly distinguishable network consisting of thin veins of dark color.
There are forms in which the color of flowers may be white or dark purple. The swollen buds of such a plant look very similar to lanterns. Flowering lasts about 8 weeks and begins in the second half of July. The fruit is an egg-shaped box with glossy, flat egg-shaped seeds. It is recommended to grow this flower in the garden together with tall bellflowers, Gypsophila or low-growing phlox.
Garden Bellflowers . PLATICODON. Website sadovymir.ru
Growing Platycodon from seed
Often gardeners choose the generative (seed) method for propagating Platycodon. Seeds can be sown directly into open soil in the springtime or under the winter, but specialists advise to grow such a plant through seedlings.
Sowing seeds in seedbeds is recommended in the last days of February or the first days of March. Before you start sowing, the seeds should be prepared. To do this, they are poured into a bag of gauze and placed in a not very large vessel filled with water, where they should stay for two days. To sow the seeds it is recommended to use a large vase or boxes, which should be filled with an earth mixture consisting of humus, peat soil and sand (1:1:1). The substrate should be well loosened, and then the seeds of Platycodon are placed on its surface.
About the seed burial in the ground there are 2 different opinions, some gardeners say that the seeds do not need to deepen, and others say that they should be covered with a thin (thickness of 0.3 to 0.5 cm) layer of sand. When seeding is finished, the substrate should be moistened with water at room temperature, using a sprayer. A container from above should be covered with a film, and then move it to a warm place (20 to 22 degrees).
Water the crops only after the top layer of substrate dries out. The first seedlings should appear 7-15 days after sowing.
How to take care of seedlings
Growing Platycodon seedlings should be taken care of in the same way as seedlings of other garden flowers. When the first seedlings appear, cover should be removed, and the container itself should be moved to a cooler place (18 to 20 degrees). Seedlings should be watered only when it is necessary.
After each watering you must be sure to loosen the soil in the container very carefully. After the seedlings appear 3 or 4 true leaves, you will need to make their picking in individual pots of diameter about 10 centimeters. In these containers the flowers will grow until planting.
What time to plant
Perennial planting should be done in the last days of May or first days of June when you are sure that the night frost has passed. It is recommended to choose a sunny site in the garden for this plant, but it can also grow and develop normally in the penumbra.
The soil should not be too wet, well-drained, loose and saturated with nutrients. Loam with a small amount of sand and neutral reaction is best for such a flower. In an adult bush, the system of roots is arranged vertically, in connection with this, the groundwater on the site must necessarily be deep enough. Also note that the platycodon can not be transplanted, because its roots are very fragile. In the same place it can be grown for more than 10 years.
Before planting seedlings, the plot should be recultivated by adding fertilizer to the soil, so 1 big spoon of complex mineral fertilizer and 0.5 tbsp of wood ash per 1 square meter.
The size of the holes should only slightly exceed the volume of the pots with seedlings. The distance between them should be 25 to 30 centimeters. Before planting, the plants should be abundantly watered.
There are gardeners who recommend immersing the plant completely in water together with the pot before planting. Then the seedlings are carefully removed from the pot, and the ground lump is lowered into the prepared hole, which is then filled with soil and slightly compacted. Planted plants need to be watered.
Garden care for Platycodon
Sprouts just planted in open soil need systematic watering. It should be done every day for the first 14 days.
Then the plants are watered no more than once every three days and not as much water is poured per plant. When Platycodon is watered, it is necessary to loosen the soil surface and pull out all the weeds. To reduce the number of watering, weeding and loosening the soil, it is recommended to cover it with a layer of mulch.
Also this plant should be systematically fed with a complex fertilizer for flowering plants once every 4 weeks. These flowers have a peculiarity, that is, they stretch out strongly upwards, this becomes clearly visible after the bush is 3 years old.
To maintain the decorative value of the flowers, it is recommended to prune them regularly or you can treat them in the spring with a special drug, which helps to slow down the growth of the plant (inhibitor), for example, you can use Atlet. If the platycodons are still very elongated, they will need to be tied to a support. It is also necessary to remove in time, the flowers that have begun to fade.
The best and most reliable way to multiply such a plant is the generative (seed) method. Some gardeners try to propagate Platycodon by cuttings, but only a few manage to do it.
But if there is a desire, you can certainly try to grow such a flower from cuttings. Cuttings are prepared in the spring time, for this purpose it is necessary to cut a stem sprout with a pair of internodes, as well as with a heel. Then the cuttings are planted for rooting as usual.
If the bush is grown on sandy soil, you can resort to dividing the bush for its reproduction. To do this, dig up the flower carefully and then make a careful inspection.
If you find shoots with buds, they can be carefully cut with a presterilized sharp knife. The cut places should be treated with sulfur or ash, and then the seedlings should be planted in a permanent place in the open soil. However, when propagating Platycodon vegetatively, you should be prepared to fail. It is best and easiest to grow this plant from seed.
The platycodon perennial.
Diseases and pests
This plant is very resistant to a variety of diseases. However, if you have a long period of very wet weather, it is very likely that the platycodon will be infected with gray rot. To avoid this, experts advise a good loosening of the soil surface, as well as to be extremely careful with watering, try not to allow moisture stagnation in the root system of the plant. If the flowers have already begun to rot, it is recommended to dig out and destroy the affected bushes, and the remaining ones should be sprayed with a solution of copper sulfate or Fondazol (2%) or Topsin-M (1%). After 1.
5 weeks, it is recommended to spray the plants again.
Harm this flower can only be done by rodents, more precisely by moles and mice. They are able to injure its root system. There are a large number of methods to help get rid of these pests, but which will be suitable in your case, only you decide. The most effective way is to "smoke out" the rodents from their houses.
To do this, you need to connect a rubber hose to the gasoline saw's exhaust port. The other end of this hose should be placed in the burrow. While the chainsaw is running, the hole will begin to produce smoke, and the rodents will escape to the surface. There is another way to get rid of pests. You will need to buy baits with poisoned grits and spread them around the site.
Note that this rodent control method does not work on moles.
Platycodon after flowering
When the pod inside the flower bursts, you will know the seeds are ripe. Seeds are not collected until the stalks are completely dry (usually in September). Completely new varieties can grow from the seeds you collect yourself, and the flowers of such plants will have an unusual color.
Preparing for wintering
This flower is a perennial.
For this reason, its above-ground part should be cut off completely in autumn and the surface of the plot should be covered with a thick layer of mulch (humus, dried leaves, peat, sawdust or cottonwood).
Platycodon varieties with photos and names
As already mentioned above, platycodon has only one species, but there are a great many diverse varieties. The most popular varieties are:
- Album. A fairly common variety with upright shoots that can range in height from 0.6 to 0.
8 m. The large white flowers are 8 centimeters in diameter and may be striated on the surface with thin blue streaks. Flowering is seen from the last days of June to August.
- Shell Pink. The plant is about 0.
8 m tall and the large flowers are colored light pink.
- Marysil Blue. The compact plant does not exceed 0.35 m in height. The blue-colored flowers have a spectacular lavender hue.
- Fairy Snow. The plant is about 0.8 m tall. The single flowers are very delicate, they are colored in light mauve or white and have thin veins of blue coloring.
The height of the plant does not exceed 0.2 m. The color of the flowers is blue-purple. Recommended for cultivation in alpinaries and rockeries.
Half-meter tall bush has semi-major white flowers.
- Maser of Pearl. The height of the bushes is about 0.6 m. The color of the flowers is pale pink.
Sometimes gardeners decorate their gardens with a flower such as codonopsis usurianis (codonopsis means "similar to a bell"). This plant is closely related to the platycodon, but its scent is very pungent and unpleasant, which is why it is not very popular with gardeners.
Garden bell / Broad bell / Platycodon from seeds