When you relate the clouds of flowers to the frosty Breath of a baby on a cold winter day, Babys Breath is a beautiful description of the masses of delicate white blossoms. Because certain members of this plant family like lime soils, the Greeks used the terms gypsos (lime) and philos (loving) to characterize it.
The taller form Gypsophila paniculata grows 36 to 48 inches in height and definitely requires full sunshine to grow well.
Baby’s Breath blooms in white and pastel pink and delights our cut flower baskets throughout early to mid-summer.
Plant babys breath 24 to 365 inches apart in the planting soil without peat moss. It loves alkaline soil (a handful of lime sprinkled around the plant after planting is a good idea) and high-organic-matter soils.
It is easily propagated by seeds, division, and soft cuttings in spring.
Recommended varieties and descriptions of Babys Breathe:
While there are approximately 100 species of this plant worldwide, only four species are 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.
G. paniculata‘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 tolerates acidic soils better than G. paniculata.
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 pretty bitter, but it is not reported to be poisonous.