Baby’s Breath is a romantic description of the masses of delicate white flowers and who could argue with this when you compare the clouds of flowers to the frosty breath of an newborn on a winter’s day. And as some members of this plant family like lime soils, the Greeks used gypsos meaning ‘lime’ and philos, ‘loving’ to describe this species of perennial flowers.
The taller and most commonly available form Gypsophila paniculata grows
- 36 to 48inches in height and
- definitely requires full sunshine to grow well.
Babys Breath blooms in white and a pale pink and gives us these blooms in early to mid-summer to delight our cut flower baskets.
Plant babys breath 24 to 365 inches apart and do not add peat moss to the planting soil. It prefers an alkaline soil (a handful of lime scattered around the plant after planting is a good idea) and soils that are high in organic matter.
It is easily propagated by seeds, division and soft cuttings in spring.
Recommended varieties and description:
While there are approximately 100 species of this plant worldwide, there are only four species grown in most gardens. Two, G. repens a low growing plant suited for the rock garden and not the perennial border, and G. elegans, an annual form will not be described here.
‘Bristol Fairy’ 36 inches tall and double white flowers. Excellent for cutting.
‘Schneeflocke’ ( In North America it is sold as ‘Snowflake’) 36 inches, double white blooms
‘Viette’s Dwarf’ 18 inches to 24 inches, double flowers with pink blush color
G. pacifica is 36 inches tall with single pink blooms. It is more tolerant of acidic soils than G. paniculata.
Growing Babys Breath
Grow babys breath in sunny spots in a well-drained garden soil.
One design tip is to plant this open airy plant between two other earlier blooming perennials and allow it to flower over top of their spent blooms. The open nature of the flower display allows adequate sunshine to reach the leaves of neighboring plants.
The plant roots are quite bitter but it is not reported to be poisonous.
Gypsophila and Monarda battling it out