I love to write articles about how to grow and care for various kinds of wonderful plants.
What is Gypsophilia?
Even if you don't think you know what baby's breath or gypsophilia is by name, you would almost immediately recognize it when it was shown to you, as it's the dainty little white flowers usually accompanying and used as filler for wedding flowers, bouquets, or floral arrangements.
They come in a variety of colors, but by far the predominant and prettiest of them is the color white. Pink is a distant second in popularity and looks very nice as well. Included in the species are perennials and annuals, with the most popular and well known called Gypsophilia paniculata, which is a perennial.
Baby's breath can grow up to two feet high, usually reaching a minimum of a foot in height. A bouquet of these dynamic little flowers is tough to beat. This article will share tips and tricks for how to grow and care for these wonderful flowers.
Gypsophilia Looks Great in Bunches
Even though baby's breath is a flower normally thought of as complementary—both in the garden and other uses—it can still look gorgeous in a garden when it's planted in a bed, displaying a large blanket of flowers for everyone to enjoy. Sometimes it can be used as a border hanging down in a layered fashion near the edge of the garden spot it inhabits.
Stems of the flower grow into numerous branches, giving it that light, airy look that makes it so desirable for filling in spaces and accentuating other flowers.
When to Grow Baby's Breath
- Baby's breath isn't winter hardy, so it should be planted after any danger of a frost has passed.
- Although they don't transplant well, you can still start seed indoors from two to four weeks before the last frost date to get an early start. If you attempt to do that, there will be the need to have extra on hand to make up for those that won't survive.
- The best results come when the soil is about 70°F.
Where to Grow Baby's Breath
- Plant baby's breath in the full sun if you have a spot like that in your garden or yard, as they thrive under those conditions. If necessary though, they can do OK in partial shade.
- Also be sure to pick a spot with good drainage, as the plant doesn't like too much water. Avoid clay soil if at all possible.
- Finally, because baby's breath doesn't do well in acidic soil, you may have to make it more alkaline before planting them in order to have a successful bed.
How to Grow Gypsophilia
- The best way to propagate baby's breath to start a bed by seeding it. But once it's going, you can manage or add to it by dividing the roots or taking cuttings. Again, transplanting is the least desirable way to propagate the flower.
- For sowing seeds, place them about 1/16 of an inch deep, adding extra seed so you can thin them at about 8 inches apart once they are ready. Seeds will germinate in a range of 10–20 days.
- The germination or success rate when propagating baby's breath is about 80%.
- If dividing, place them at intervals of about 8 inches apart for best results.
- They should bloom, depending on the zone, from April through August, and maybe beyond in certain regions.
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How to Care for Baby's Breath
While not liking soil too wet, baby's breath does do very well when kept moist. So they need water when longer dry periods arrive during the hot summer. Watering a couple of times a week during those times should allow it to continue to flourish.
If the soil is substandard, add some fertilizer before you sow or plant to give the flower some help. Once a month after that is adequate to keep them in top shape.
There are very few insects or disease problems faced by baby's breath. It is seldom you will have to deal with that. In the unusual event that it happens, usual measures for those particular insects or diseases should be taken.
For the most part though, baby's breath is a low-maintenance plant, mostly just requiring watering and occasional fertilizing.
Gypsophilia Is a Versatile Addition to Any Garden
As a versatile and complimentary flower, baby's breath is wonderful. You can use them in any number of floral arrangements to make them look better. They can even be used in cuttings for standalone arrangements if you choose.
The flower can be used in the same way in the garden, as it is a great way to accentuate other flowers and plants around them.
What better way is there to have a great layer of flowers cascading around your garden, yard, and beds than to plant baby's breath? Not only are they visually appealing, but their relative ease of maintenance makes them a popular choice for numerous gardeners around the country and the world.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Chris Achilleos on April 04, 2012:
Interesting hub, I've seen the flower before but I did not know what it was called. Learned something new :) Voted up!