One of the most popular flowers among florists, Baby's Breath (Gypsophila paniculata), is an easy-to-grow perennial bloomer. Baby's Breath blooms are delicate and sweet, which is how it got its common name – flowers as soft and dainty as a baby's breath. This is an excellent filler plant since the slender stems branch prolifically to fill out a space naturally.
Covent Garden White Baby's Breath -- Pure white flowers on 18-34" stems.
White Baby's Breath -- White flowers growing 36" tall.
All About Baby's Breath
This fast-growing perennial flower is native to eastern Europe. There are over 150 species in the genus Gypsophila, all of them collectively known as Baby's Breath. They grow primarily on mountainous steppes (grasslands) with a concentration of species in Turkey and Iran.
Baby's Breath grows quickly, and contrary to its looks is a tough plant. It doesn't need anything special to succeed. The plants grow up to 4 feet tall and wide, but it doesn't look like a lofty or standout plant. It is actually quite the opposite. The stems are thin and wispy, as are the flowers.
This flowering plant is widely distributed across North America, where it is classified as an invasive species. In California, it is considered a noxious weed.
Flowers in this genus are high in saponins, a natural foaming agent used widely in soaps and detergents. Some species of Baby's Breath are used to make havla (an Iranian dessert) and to flavor cheese, liquor, and ice cream.
How To Grow Baby's Breath From Seed
- After all danger of frost has passed, sow the seeds outdoors.
- Plant them in a location with full or partial sun – full sun is best.
- Moisten the soil well before planting, so watering doesn't disturb the seeds later.
- Sow seeds 8-10 inches apart and cover lightly with ¼ of earth.
- Keep the soil evenly moist.
- Seedling sprout in 10-15 days.
- When the seedlings are an inch tall, thin them to 9” apart if they aren't already.
Baby's Breath Growing Tips
- Cut the flowers back after the first bloom to encourage a second one.
- If plants are bending over, they are planted in too much shade. Stake them, if needed. And, next time, plant in more sun.
- Plant new Baby's Breath seeds every 2-3 weeks for continuous blooms.
- Slightly crowded plants produce the best flowering – 6-9” is ideal.
- Plant Baby's Breath around other flowers to accentuate them; it makes a perfect dainty background flower.