Baby’s Breath

Gypsophila paniculata ‘Bristol Fairy' provides an explosion of double white flowers in summer, and grows to 3 feet. Learn more...

Baby's breath

Photo: TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) (Flickr)

Sprays of Baby's Breath are popular additions to bouquets of cut flowers.

Baby’s Breath is the common name for flowers in the genus Gypsophila, and the name was undoubtedly inspired by the sheer delicacy of the tiny blossoms. Although the flowers look fragile, these plants grow sturdily in alkaline well drained soil in full sun, if they have ample moisture.

Winter mulch is needed in cold climates and they are hardy zones 3-8. There are over 100 annual and perennial species and the genus name comes from the Greek words meaning “loving lime.”

Gypsophila paniculata ‘Bristol Fairy’ provides an explosion of double white flowers in summer, and grows to 3 feet. ‘Pink Star’ is a short 18 inches and produces clouds of pink flowers.

Varieties planted from seed usually produce single flowers while double blooms occur most reliably on grafted plants. The perennial varieties are branched with wiry stems which add to the plants’ airy effect.

Sprays of Baby’s Breath are popular additions to bouquets of cut flowers and are often referred to as “filler” in arrangements. It is easy to dry Baby’s Breath; in fact, it usually dries itself.

Blooming stems can be cut at their peak and hung upside down to dry in a cool dark spot indoors. However, they will also dry uptight in a vase containing a small amount of water which is allowed to evaporate.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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