How to Grow and Care for Baby's Breath (2022)

Baby's breath plants (Gypsophila spp.) have become somewhat of a cliché in floral arrangements. But they also can look lovely in the garden. There are more than 100 annual and perennial species within this genus with varying appearances. Some have a creeping growth habit, forming an attractive flowering ground cover. And others grow in more upright and contained mounds with extensive branching of their slender stems, giving the plants a light and airy feel. Their small, narrow leaves are gray-green to blue-green in color. In the summer, baby’s breath plants are covered in tiny, five-petaled, white or pink flowers that last several weeks. The blooms are known to attract butterflies and other pollinators. Baby’s breath should be planted in the spring after the danger of frost has passed. The plants have a fast growth rate and are considered an invasive species in North America. However, be aware that the plant has toxic qualities and can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, sinus, and skin, asthma, dermatitis in humans, and gastrointestinal problems including vomiting, diarrhea, and anorexia in pets.

Common NameBaby's breath
Botanical NameGypsophila
FamilyCaryophyllaceae
Plant TypePerennial, annual
Mature Size2–3 ft. tall and wide
Sun ExposureFull
Soil TypeWell-drained
Soil pHAlkaline
Bloom TimeSummer
Flower ColorWhite, pink
Hardiness Zones3–9 (USDA)
Native AreaEurope, Africa, Asia, Australia
ToxicityToxic to people, toxic to pets

How to Grow and Care for Baby's Breath (1)

How to Grow and Care for Baby's Breath (2)

How to Grow and Care for Baby's Breath (3)

How to Grow and Care for Baby's Breath (4)

How to Grow and Care for Baby's Breath (5)

(Video) Baby's breath plant - grow & care

Baby's Breath Care

Baby’s breath plants generally require very little maintenance. Plant them in a spot that gets lots of light and has good soil drainage, and they’ll practically take care of themselves.

You’ll typically only need to water during dry spells and feed annually. Once your plants mature, you might need to provide them withsupport, such as garden stakes, to prevent the thin stems from flopping over. You also can proactively install stakes at the time of planting that the baby’s breath can grow around.

Warning

Baby's breath has been classified as an invasive plant in the United States, especially around the upper Great Lakes. It is also considered a noxious weed in both California and Washington, and in Canada.

Light

Baby's breath plants grow best in full sun, meaning at least six hours of direct sunlight on most days. But they will tolerate a bit of shade, especially from the hot afternoon sun. However, too much shade will result in leggy plants and poor flowering.

Soil

Baby's breath plants can grow in a range of soil types, as long as they have good drainage. Sandy soil works well, whereas wet clay soil does not. So if your soil is heavy, consider planting baby's breath in raised garden beds or containers. These plants also like a slightly alkaline soil pH, so if your soil is acidic, sweeten it with an application of garden lime.

Water

Baby’s breath has low water needs and thrives in dry soil. Keep the soil moderately moist for young plants. You typically won’t have to water established plants unless you have an extended period of drought. Overwatering can cause root rot and kill the plant.

Temperature and Humidity

Baby’s breath can tolerate a range of temperatures within its growing zones. Some species have more cold tolerance than others. These plants prefer a dry climate over a humid one. So if you have high humidity, it’simperative to make sure your plant has excellent soil drainage and isn’t sitting in constant moisture.

Fertilizer

These plants aren’t heavy feeders, and too much fertilizer can cause floppy growth. To promote healthy growth and profuse blooms, simply work some compost into the planting site everyspring.

Types of Baby's Breath

There is a diversity to the Gypsophila genus that you might not expect if you only know baby's breath from the floral trade. Here are some different varieties of the plant:

(Video) How to Grow Baby's Breath

  • Gypsophila elegans: This species is considered an annual, but it tends to self-seed and comes back in the garden year afteryear. It features notably large, open blooms compared to other baby’s breath species.
  • Gypsophila paniculata ‘Bristol Fairy’: This cultivar sports double blooms that are white and roughly 1/4 inch wide. It grows in mounds that reach around 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.
  • Gypsophila paniculata ‘Compacta Plena’: This is a compact variety that grows in mounds only around 15 to 18 inches tall and wide. Its flowers are very similar to those on the ‘Bristol Fairy’ cultivar.
  • Gypsophila paniculata ‘Perfekta’: This variety can grow up to 3 feet tall and wide. Its flowers are very similar in appearance to the ‘Bristol Fairy’ cultivar, except that they’re around twice the size.
  • Gypsophila paniculata ‘Viette’s Dwarf’: This is another compact cultivar that only reaches around 12 to 15 inches tall and wide and thus typically won’t need staking to keep it upright. It features double flowers in pink that slowly fade to white.

Pruning Baby's Breath

These plants can be deadheaded by removing the spent blooms back to where the next spray is growing. They can also benefit from light pruning after the first flowering, which will help to maintain their shape and hopefully promote another bloom.

After the second bloom, during the fall season, cut the stems of the perennial baby's breath to about one inch above the ground, for overwintering. The plant will come back in the spring.

Propagating Baby's Breath

Baby's breath propagates easily and does it well from cuttings taken from a mature plant. Here's how:

  1. Cut pieces, about 4 to 5 inches, of healthy stems.
  2. Remove any leaves in the 1/3 portion of the lowest part of the cutting.
  3. Plant the cuttings in a small container filled with alkaline soil and mist often, keeping the soil moist, not soaked.
  4. The cuttings should be rooted in approximately four weeks, which you can then transplant outside.

How to Grow Baby's Breath From Seeds

This plant can be grown from seeds. Start by planting the seeds indoors in a seed-starting mix about six to eight weeks before planting in the spring. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and seedlings should appear in about 10 to 14 days. Once the threat of frost has passed, you can transplant them in a sunny area of your garden.

While this plant is self-seeding, spreading about on its own, you can also directly sow the seeds into the garden. Plant them in a sunny, well-drained area, and cover them lightly with soil. Keep the soil moist but not overly wet. Plants should be spaced about 12 inches apart.

Common Pest & Plant Diseases

Baby's breath has a few issues with pests and diseases. Pests for this plant include aphids, leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, slugs, and rabbits. You might notice discolored leaves or holes in the leaves, which are an indication of a pest problem. There are non-chemical ways you can control some of these pests, such as a citrus spray or soap spray. Common diseases for baby's breath include fungal infections and root rot, which can be caused by overwatering.

How to Get Baby's Breath to Bloom

Baby's breath is known for its tiny delicate flowers which bloom in late spring through the summer. To help this plant bloom better and longer, simply follow the pruning steps to help promote a second bloom and then winterize it before the first frost. The plant will come back each spring and rebloom every year.

FAQ

  • Freshly picked baby's breath will last up to eight to 10 days.

    (Video) How to Grow Gypsophila from Seed | Baby's Breath | 3 Ways to Grow
  • There is a slight smell to baby's breath flowers which some people find not very appealing. Their blooms are not sweet-smelling, that's for sure.

  • With over 100 species, baby's breath offers both annuals and perennials. The perennial plants come up every year, and the flowers come in pink and white colors. Annuals may potentially self-seed themselves and return the following year.

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Gypsophila paniculata (baby's breath). CABI Invasive Species Compendium.

  2. Gypsophila paniculata. North Carolina State University.

  3. Baby's Breath. Animal Poison Control Center.

    (Video) Weed Tip Wednesday - Babys Breath

FAQs

How do I make my baby's breath grow? ›

Baby's Breath may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or sown directly in the garden in summer, or planted as a potted plant. Sowing Seed Indoors: Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before outdoor planting date in spring. Cover the seeds lightly with ¼ inch of seed starting formula.

How do you take care of a baby's breath? ›

Baby's Breath Care. Baby's breath plants generally require very little maintenance. Plant them in a spot that gets lots of light and has good soil drainage, and they'll practically take care of themselves. You'll typically only need to water during dry spells and feed annually.

Can you grow baby's breath from cuttings? ›

When propagating baby's breath, you will likely have better success by taking cuttings from an existing plant or planting one in the landscape. Baby's breath is normally grown as an annual flower in most areas, but some types are hardy perennials. All types are easily grown from cuttings taken in early summer.

Does baby's breath come back every year? ›

Baby's breath is a perennial; new plants come up every year from the same root system. It spreads via seeds, not a spreading root system, but one plant can produce well over 10,000 seeds.

How do you keep baby's breath blooming? ›

They will benefit from deadheading as the flowers fade, as well as a complete cut back to allow them to bloom again. Baby's breath plants have terminal flower sprays and secondary sprays that grow to the sides. The terminal flowers will die first. Start deadheading those when about half of those blooms have faded.

Why is my baby's breath plant dying? ›

Another of baby's breath issues that can kill the plant is aster yellows, spread by leafhoppers and aphids. If your problems with baby's breath include aster yellows, the plant foliage is stunted and the leaves will wilt and die. You'll need to remove and throw away all plants infected with aster yellows.

How tall does baby's breath grow? ›

Baby's breath is an underrated botanical specimen of striking softness and cloudlike grace. Gypsophila plants are upright and bushy, from 6 inches to 3 feet tall, depending on the species.

How long does it take for baby's breath to bloom? ›

They grow rapidly and will come into bloom about 8 weeks after germination. Sow new baby's breath every 2 to 4 weeks to assure continuous bloom for the summer.

How long does baby's breath last? ›

Baby's breath is a hardy shrub. It's a common joke among growers that the baby's breath plant is something even the worst flower growers can't kill. Fresh ones will last anywhere from 8-10 days, or more when properly cared for.

How do you prepare baby's breath in the winter? ›

Winterizing Baby's Breath

Make sure your plants are in a spot with good drainage. Cut back the plants after they have finished blooming in the fall and cover them with mulch if you have very cold winters. The mulch can also help keep plants dry, so use this strategy if you have wet winters too.

Does baby's breath need to be kept in water? ›

Answer: You can refrigerate the baby's breath in 90 per cent to 94 percent humidity. You have to allow these blooms to absorb water for at least two to three hours. These stems of baby's breath saturated with water can easily survive for 2 to 3 days out of water.

Is Baby's Breath poisonous? ›

These delicate clusters are also commonly found naturalized throughout much of the northern United States and Canada and are often identified as an invasive weed. Despite the innocuous look of these sweet soft blooms, baby's breath harbors a little secret; it's slightly poisonous.

Should I deadhead baby's breath? ›

Prune. While baby's breath plants don't require deadheading(a process in which you trim old blooms to encourage new growth), you may find that your baby's breath bushes need pruning to help the white flowers look their best around your other garden plants.

Is babys breath invasive? ›

Summary of Invasiveness

paniculata is a perennial herb native to central and eastern Europe and central and western Asia, but is widely cultivated and distributed as an ornamental and cut plant. It has become invasive in North America, where it threatens native grasslands and open habitats (BCMA, 2015).

What grows well with baby's breath? ›

Like lavender or catmint, baby's breath creates a charming, soft look in the garden. Because the plant blooms from early summer to fall, it is an excellent filler for hiding other perennials after they're done blooming. Pair it with delphinium, iris, columbine, poppies, yarrow and other cottage garden flowers.

Is baby breath toxic to dogs? ›

Gypsophila (also known as Baby's Breath) - mildly toxic, but can irritate a pet's stomach if ingested.

What are the different types of baby's breath? ›

Baby's-breath

How many stems of baby's breath for a bouquet? ›

Once the pieces from the one stem of baby's breath is bunched together, you can see that a little goes a long way. That one stem could be enough for a mason jar centerpiece. If you want a more full arrangement, you will need 2 stems. For a full bouquet, 5-7 stems.

Why is baby's breath called Baby's Breath? ›

Originally, the flowers were found in Eurasia, Africa, and Australia. After its popularity, the flowers were grown in different parts of the world. Its name Baby's Breath, however, was derived from the fact that this flower is widely used as a special baby shower gift. It is known in Great Britain by the name Soapwort.

When can I transplant baby's breath seedlings? ›

Baby's breath seed propagation can be done early indoors in flats or planted outside after all danger of frost has passed. Transplants and seeds should go outdoors after the threat of any frost has passed.

Is baby's Breath expensive? ›

The Good: Baby's breath is an inexpensive and affordable option for bridesmaids' bouquets or centerpieces. It's extremely hardy and has a long lifetime. This flower also offers a light, alluring and sweet look.

Is baby's Breath drought tolerant? ›

Once established, baby's breath flowers are easy to grow, fairly drought-tolerant, and require no special care. Plant baby's breath cultivars in well-drained soil and full sunlight.

Can you color baby breath? ›

Divide the baby's breath into equal groups-the number of groups depends on how many colors of spray paint you choose. Spray each group evenly, making sure each flower gets colored (however be careful not to “overdo it”, too much paint can turn your flowers into little balls rather than pretty petaled buds)

How much is a stem of baby's breath? ›

Baby's breath is a budget-friendly filler because a few stems can go a long way. Most varieties, like gypsophila overtime and gypsophila million star, range from $1.50-$1.90 per stem.

How do you preserve dry baby breath? ›

Spray dried baby's breath with a clear sealant to further help preserve them and to help retain color. Store unused dried flowers in a sealed, airtight container in a cool, dark place until you are ready to use them.

How do you get seeds from baby's breath? ›

Gardening Tips : Collecting Seeds From Flowers - YouTube

What is the difference between baby's breath and Gypsophila? ›

Gypsophila (baby's breath) are annual, hardy perennial or alpine plants that are grown for their sprays of tiny, button-like flowers in summer, in shades of white or pale pink. Gypsophilas are a member of the carnation family, Caryophyllaceae.

How long will a baby's breath crown last? ›

How Long Will Baby's Breath Flower Crowns Last? If you use real flowers, your crown will only last about 24 hours. Be sure to make these right before an event rather than the day before so they look fresh!

Why are cats attracted to baby's breath? ›

The flower part of Baby's breath is the most toxic part of the plant. This makes it risky for cat owners to grow this plant near cats, because the sweet scent the flowers give off may attract your cat to eat them.

What flower means goodbye? ›

Chrysanthemum. White and yellow chrysanthemums are widely used to say goodbye, particularly in Asia. This 'golden flower' is packed with meaning in those countries.

Can babys breath be used on cakes? ›

Know Which Flowers You Can and Cannot Use

Flowers like hydrangeas and baby's breath, while popular in bouquets, are actually toxic. Even if you aren't eating the actual flowers, just contact with the buttercream frosting you will eat could be dangerous, so it's best to stick with flowers that are edible.

Is baby's breath toxic to cats? ›

BABY'S BREATH

Only mildly toxic, ingestion can still lead to vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, and lethargy in your cat.

Do deer eat baby's breath? ›

Let's be frank: there are no absolutely 100% deer-proof plants. If food is scarce enough, hungry deer have been known to eat almost anything.
...
List of Top Deer-Resistant Plants, Flowers, and Shrubs.
Botanical nameCommon name
Galanthus nivalisSnowdrops
Gypsophila sp.Baby's Breath
HelichrysumStrawflower
86 more rows

Why is baby's breath a problem? ›

Baby's breath is an escaped ornamental plant that is very invasive in BC. When Baby's breath invades grazing land, it reduces native grasses and forage for grazing animals and wildlife.

Are baby's breath weeds? ›

It is now found growing wild across North America and is featured in the noxious weed lists in a few states, including Washington and California.

Does baby's breath attract bees? ›

The plant is attractive to many varieties of butterfly and also is known to attract bees. The variety, Coven Garden, was introduced in 1936 by the Grand Junction Seed Company of Colorado. Baby's Breath is heat, drought and soil tolerant, but flourishes most in friable soils that are rich in calcium.

How long does it take for baby's breath to grow? ›

Baby's breath can be grown in containers or it can be planted directly in the ground. It can do well in dry, hot conditions. It will germinate within a week or two, and takes around 6-7 weeks to reach maturity.

How long does it take to grow baby's breath from seed? ›

Germination takes 10-20 days. Sow every 3-4 weeks until July for continuous blooms. Just cover the small seeds, and thin or space to 15-20cm (6-8″). Crowded plants bloom more generously.

Does baby's breath need to be in water? ›

You have to allow these blooms to absorb water for at least two to three hours. These stems of baby's breath saturated with water can easily survive for 2 to 3 days out of water. Q#05: How much baby's breath do you need to make a bouquet?

How tall does baby's breath grow? ›

Baby's breath is an underrated botanical specimen of striking softness and cloudlike grace. Gypsophila plants are upright and bushy, from 6 inches to 3 feet tall, depending on the species.

Is baby breath hard to grow? ›

Growing Baby's Breath is very easy, and they are quick to bloom. It is a popular flower to accent bouquets, corsages and flower vases. It also makes a great filler for at-home gardens. These plants bear an abundance of white or pink flowers.

What time of year does baby's breath bloom? ›

Small white or pink flowers bloom from the summer to fall, and this species is the favorite among florists. Most cultivars are hardy in Zones 4-9. G. elegans, showy baby's breath, is an annual and it produces larger flowers that bloom wide open.

What does baby's breath symbolize? ›

Baby's breath is blooming with symbolism. Most commonly, this flower is a symbol of everlasting love—which is one reason why it's a popular wedding flower. Baby's breath also represents innocence, which makes it a lovely gesture to include in baby shower gifts and gifts for new mothers.

Should I deadhead baby's breath? ›

Prune. While baby's breath plants don't require deadheading(a process in which you trim old blooms to encourage new growth), you may find that your baby's breath bushes need pruning to help the white flowers look their best around your other garden plants.

Is Baby's Breath poisonous? ›

These delicate clusters are also commonly found naturalized throughout much of the northern United States and Canada and are often identified as an invasive weed. Despite the innocuous look of these sweet soft blooms, baby's breath harbors a little secret; it's slightly poisonous.

How long does baby's breath last? ›

Baby's breath is a hardy shrub. It's a common joke among growers that the baby's breath plant is something even the worst flower growers can't kill. Fresh ones will last anywhere from 8-10 days, or more when properly cared for.

Can you color baby breath? ›

Divide the baby's breath into equal groups-the number of groups depends on how many colors of spray paint you choose. Spray each group evenly, making sure each flower gets colored (however be careful not to “overdo it”, too much paint can turn your flowers into little balls rather than pretty petaled buds)

Is baby's Breath cheap? ›

The Good: Baby's breath is an inexpensive and affordable option for bridesmaids' bouquets or centerpieces. It's extremely hardy and has a long lifetime.

How much is a stem of baby's breath? ›

Baby's breath is a budget-friendly filler because a few stems can go a long way. Most varieties, like gypsophila overtime and gypsophila million star, range from $1.50-$1.90 per stem.

Is babys breath invasive? ›

Summary of Invasiveness

paniculata is a perennial herb native to central and eastern Europe and central and western Asia, but is widely cultivated and distributed as an ornamental and cut plant. It has become invasive in North America, where it threatens native grasslands and open habitats (BCMA, 2015).

Is baby breath toxic to dogs? ›

Gypsophila (also known as Baby's Breath) - mildly toxic, but can irritate a pet's stomach if ingested.

Why is it called baby's breath flowers? ›

History of Baby's Breath Flowers

Victorian gardeners fell in love and named them "Baby's Breath flowers". Also known as the Gypsophila family, Baby's Breath derive their name from the sort of soil they thrive on. They grow best in soil that is rich in gypsum, a calcium mineral that makes soil thick and heavy.

Videos

1. Gardening Tips : How to Grow Annual Baby's Breath (Gypsophila Elegans)
(ehowgarden)
2. How to Grow Gyphsophlia ( Baby's Breath ) from Seeds │ Gardening Beginners │Mother's Day Special.
(Shades Of Shreyu)
3. HOW TO GROW BABY'S BREATHS PLANTS
(Health Apta)
4. 1328 -How to grow & care Gypsophila/Chalk Plant/Baby's Breath from seed/जिप्सोफ़िला बीज़ों से लगाना
(Manju Handa Organic Gardening)
5. How to Care for Gypsophila - Wholesale Flowers and Academy ( Triangle Nursery)
(Triangle Nursery Academy and Flower Wholesalers)
6. Growing Baby's breath or gypsophilia flowering plant.|tips and careguide
(Green J by Ruthcel Mendoza)

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Moshe Kshlerin

Last Updated: 10/07/2022

Views: 5817

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (57 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Moshe Kshlerin

Birthday: 1994-01-25

Address: Suite 609 315 Lupita Unions, Ronnieburgh, MI 62697

Phone: +2424755286529

Job: District Education Designer

Hobby: Yoga, Gunsmithing, Singing, 3D printing, Nordic skating, Soapmaking, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Moshe Kshlerin, I am a gleaming, attractive, outstanding, pleasant, delightful, outstanding, famous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.