Come coltivare un fiore a palloncino

Il fiore a palloncino è una pianta perenne molto facile da coltivare, ma le piante alte potrebbero aver bisogno di picchettamenti per evitare che cadano. Fiorisce per tutta l’estate, è un’ottima pianta per giardini di confine o giardini rocciosi, e si autosemina liberamente in giardino. La specie vegetale ha fiori blu-viola intenso, ma sono presenti anche cultivar con fiori bianchi e rosa.
Il fiore a palloncino viene generalmente piantato in primavera dopo che è passato il pericolo di gelate. Cresce rapidamente per fiorire nel suo primo anno.
Puoi iniziare con piante da vivaio o far crescere i tuoi fiori a palloncino dai semi. Piantati all’inizio della primavera dopo che è passata la minaccia del gelo, i fiori a palloncino dovrebbero sbocciare durante la loro prima stagione. Tuttavia, puoi anche piantarli più tardi nella stagione di crescita (dalla primavera all’autunno), anche se potresti non ottenere fioriture fino al secondo anno. 
You will get the most flowers if you plant balloon flowers in full sun (at least six hours of sunlight on most days). However, they will be fine in part shade and might actually prefer some shade from where the afternoon sun is especially hot.
Balloon flowers prefer organically rich, loamy soil that has good drainage. They don’t grow well in dense soil, such as clay. They like a soil pH in the 5.5 to 7.5 range.
Keep the soil of young plants consistently moist but not soggy. Once established, balloon flowers like a moderate amount of moisture in the soil, but they can tolerate short periods of drought. They won’t need a lot of supplemental watering unless you have a long period without rainfall that causes the soil to dry out.
Balloon flowers are hardy and do well in USDA growing zones 3 to 8. Their ideal temperature range is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but they can withstand higher temperatures if they have some shade in the afternoon. Frost can kill young plants and will cause established plants to die back into the ground in the fall. Balloon flowers tolerate both humid and dry air conditions, provided they have the right amount of soil moisture.
Balloon flowers typically don’t need supplemental feeding if you have rich soil. But a layer of compost in the fall can help them replenish the energy they expend blooming during the growing season. If you have poor soil, use an all-purpose, slow-release fertilizer in the early spring.
There are several good varieties of balloon flowers, including:
Pruning generally isn’t necessary with balloon flowers, though you can do so for appearance. To achieve stockier plants, you can cut back tall stems by about half in the late spring. This can help to prevent the plants from flopping over. Also, deadheading your plants (removing spent blooms) will keep them looking good and repeatedly blooming. Don’t remove the whole stem, just the faded flowers. The remaining buds on the stem will continue to open.
Propagating by division is generally not recommended for balloon flowers because the root system is fragile and doesn’t like being disturbed. Instead, you can propagate by taking stem cuttings. Use clean pruners to trim a 4-inch length of stem, and remove the lower foliage to expose the bare stem. Use a rooting hormone on the bare stem if you wish, and then pot it in moist soil.
Keep the soil moist (but not soggy) as you wait for roots to take hold. Once you see leaf growth and feel resistance when you give the cutting a gentle tug, you’ll know roots have grown. Then, the plant is ready to be transplanted into the garden.
Start seed indoors in the early spring about six to eight weeks prior to your area’s projected last frost date, using seed starter mix or ordinary potting soil. Barely cover the seeds with 1/16 inch of soil. Place the container in a warm location until the seeds germinate. After the weather has warmed, you can transplant the seedlings outdoors. If you plant seeds directly in your garden, do so after your last frost date and know they likely won’t flower in their first year.

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