Balloon Vine

Cardiospermum grandiflorum

Family: Sapindaceae

Type of weed:

Flower colour(s): ,

Priority Weed Local Priority Weed. (See more weeds of the class.)

Flowering Months: , ,


An herbaceous climber with hairy stems to more than 10 m long.

Leaves are 6–16 cm long, on a leaf stalk 2–10 cm long, with three leaflets each further divided into three; the margins of leaflets are irregularly toothed.

Flowers contain four white petals in clusters, the stalk of the flower head ending in a pair of tendrils. It flowers mostly in summer.

Fruit is pea-sized, three-seeded in a papery-white enclosed lantern with three sides.

Don’t confuse with…

It can be confused with Slender Grape, a native vine (Cayratia clematidea). Both have compound leaves with toothed margins. The native vine has five leaflets and is not hairy; the weed has nine leaflets. The native vine has green flowers with bunches of black berries, while the weed has creamy flowers with seeds in papery capsules.


Dispersed by seeds, which are transported by wind and water — mostly while attached to the papery seed pods which form little ‘boats’ that travel easily down waterways. Seedlings germinate most of the year on disturbed land.

Impact on bushland

Plants spread over ground or climb trees and shrubs, eventually shading out all light and killing the host plant.


. The escarpment, Blaxland, Warrimoo and Springwood. Also the Nepean River

Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Old Man’s Beard (Clematis aristata) (not cultivar clematis)
  • Water Vine (Cissus Antarctica)
  • Wombat Berry (Eustrephus latifolius)
  • Wonga Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandorana)
  • Snake Vine (Hibbertia scandens)
  • Native Passion Flower (Passiflora herbertiana)
  • Purple Twining Pea (Hardenbergia spp.)
  • Coral Peas (Kennedia spp.)

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.


  • Remove flowers, fruit, pods or seeds
  • Spray
  • Stem inject or frill
  • Scrape and paint
  • Cut and paint

Manual control

Remove seeds, pods or fruit

Gently remove any seeds, pods or fruit and carefully place in a bag.

Chemical control

Note: Herbicides that may be used for this weed include Glyphosate.


Please consult the Herbicide page of this website to help you decide whether to spray, how to do it safely and more.

Stem injection or frilling

Stem injection
Drilling holes at 45° and squirting poison into holes
Apply poison immediately after drilling

At the base of the tree, drill holes at a 45° angle into the sapwood (just under the outer bark) at two finger space intervals around the entire base of the tree. Repeat this process below the lowest branch


As an alternative to drilling, make cuts into the sapwood with a chisel or axe. Fill each cut/hole with herbicide immediately. Repeat the process at 3 cm intervals around the tree.


Plants should be healthy and actively growing. Deciduous plants should be treated in spring and autumn when leaves are fully formed. For multi-stemmed plants, inject or chip below the lowest branch or treat each stem individually. Herbicide must be injected immediately before the plant cells close (within 30 seconds before translocation of herbicide ceases.)

Scrape and paint

Using knife to scrape long gashes along stem
Scrape bark/outer layer away with a knife

With a knife, scrape up to a metre of the stem to reach the layer below the bark/outer layer. Immediately apply herbicide along the length of the scrape.

  • A maximum of half the stem diameter should be scraped. Do not ringbark.
  • Larger stems (over 1 cm in diameter) should have two scrapes opposite each other.
  • Vines can be left hanging in trees after treatment.

Cut and paint

Applying poison to cut stump from squeeze bottle
Apply poison immediately after cutting

Useful for small to medium sized woody weeds up to 10 cm in diameter.

Make a horizontal cut as close to the ground as possible with secateurs or loppers, and immediately apply concentrated Glyphosate to the exposed stump surface. Do not allow the surface to get covered with soil.

Specific control tips for this weed

Skirt the tree: do not pull the vine from trees as it may damage native vegetation. The dead vine may be used as habitat for microbats and other small fauna.

Remove and dispose of seeds. Follow-up treatment will be required for new seedlings.

Refer to the Department of Primary Industry’s Noxious and Environmental Weed Control Handbook.

For key points on these techniques:

Local Priority Weed

Control measures:

  • The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • Plants under 4 metres in height should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • The spread of this plant should be adequately contained to prevent spread impacting on priority assets. Weed notices will only be issued for these weeds under special circumstances.

For more info

For key points on these techniques: