Alphabetical Plant Listing

Asclepias physocarpus (Balloon Plant)

Balloon Plant, Balloon Cotton-Bush, Bishop's Balls, Nailhead, Swan Plant, Family Jewels, Gomphocarpus physocarpus


Noted for its curious balloon-like seed pods, Gomphocarpus physocarpus (Balloon Plant) is an upright perennial producing slender stems clad with lance-shaped, pale lime-green leaves. Pendulous clusters of small, white flowers with a slight vanilla scent are borne in the leaf axils in summer. Although not particularly showy, they attract butterflies and are followed by unusual, pale green fruits, up to 3 in, across (7 cm), almost translucent, covered with soft bristles. They ripen to tan before splitting open in fall and release great quantities of silky-haired seeds to the wind. Balloon Plant is an unusual addition to sunny beds and borders, as a specimen plant, or in large containers. Wonderful in fresh and dried floral arrangements. A real conversation piece!

  • Grows up to 4-6 ft. tall (120-180 cm) and 2-3 ft. wide (60-90 cm). Self-seeds profusely in warm winter areas.
  • Thrives in full sun in dry to medium, well-drained soils. Drought tolerant.
  • Low maintenance, this perennial plant is generally pest and disease free. Deer resistant.
  • Perfect for sunny borders, cottage gardens, butterfly gardens and prairies or naturalized areas.
  • Easily propagated from seed.
  • All parts of this plant exude milky white latex that is mildly poisonous if ingested.
  • In 2001, its name was changed from Asclepias physocarpa to Gomphocarpus physocarpus to reflect that it belongs to the family of African milkweeds.
  • Native to South Africa

Learn How To Plant, Care and Grow Splendid Asclepias

Mostly native to the U.S. and Canada, Asclepias include over 100 species of evergreen or deciduous perennials adorned with clusters of small, interestingly shaped blooms that are irresistible to butterflies. Attractive and easy to grow, they shine in many gardens. However, some basic rules need to be followed to enjoy their splendid flowers.Read More

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Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 10
Heat Zones 10 – 12
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Asclepias
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid,Late)
Height 4' – 6' (120cm – 180cm)
Spread 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spacing 24" – 36" (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 10
Heat Zones 10 – 12
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Asclepias
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid,Late)
Height 4' – 6' (120cm – 180cm)
Spread 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spacing 24" – 36" (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Dried Arrangements, Cut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Asclepias

Guides with Asclepias

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