You probably know the baby’s breath flower intimately. If you are female, you likely wore this ubiquitous flower in corsages, carried it in a bridesmaid or bridal bouquet, or pressed it because it comprised part of a memorable bouquet. Florists typically use the white, traditional variety of this flower, but it comes in yellow, pink, and lavender varieties, too.
You can use some cultivars of ground cover that provide a drought-tolerant, blooming option. As a bonus, baby’s breath is also deer resistant, so you do not have to worry that Bambi will eat your plants.
Scientifically known as Gypsophila paniculate, this provides the airy feel to many floral arrangements that florists and floral designers try to achieve, especially with romantic themed pieces. They work well in a rock garden, as a border, or as a shrub since some varieties grow up to four feet in height.
The species provides a surprising diversity and offers many choices for planting. Although all of them must get planted in spring, some come back, while others die off. All bloom during summer, but some varieties only provide one month of blossoms while other cultivars bloom all summer long.
Baby’s Breath Flowers
Part of the carnation family, these long, straight stems produce some lovely cutting flowers. You can plant them by seed or seedling. They provide an easy-to-grow, low-maintenance flower that blossoms into masses of dainty flowers ranging from ¼ to ½ inch in bloom size.
They’re the set it and forget it flower. They’re drought tolerant and grow best in full sunlight. They do like well-drained soil, but that can be said for most flowers.
Annual or perennial: Perennial or annual, depending on the cultivar
Sun/shade needs: Full sun
Water needs: Minimal
USDA hardiness zone: USDA zones three to 9 or five to 9, depending on the cultivar
Height: 12 to 48 inches height
Cultivars of Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila paniculate)
1. Bristol Fairy
A tall variety that grows to 48 inches (1.2 meters) in height with small, white flowers about ¼ inch in diameter.
A tall variety that grows to 36 inches (1 meter) in height with medium-sized, white flowers about ½ inch in diameter.
3. Festival Star
This hearty variety grows to 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 cm.) in height with white blooms that can grow in more zones than typical varieties (USDA zones 3 through 9).
4. Compacta Plena
A mid-height variety that grows to 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm.) with bright white flowers, some with pale pink edging.
5. Pink Fairy
A dwarf cultivar grows to at most 18 inches in height with pale pink blooms that flower later than other cultivars.
6. Viette’s Dwarf
A dwarf cultivar that grows to 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm.) in height has pink flowers that bloom during spring and summer.
7. Million Star Baby’s Breath
The classic flower cultivar found in most corsages and bouquets; each stem produces multiple blossoms.
8. Queen Anne’s Lace
Similar to the original flower, but its blossoms grow in a starburst pattern of white flowers.
9. Chocolate Queen Anne’s Lace
A naturally occurring chocolate brown flower also in the same starburst pattern as Queen Anne’s Lace.
10. Orlaya Lace Flower
A cultivar similar to Queen Anne’s Lace, but with dainty, wispy petals of white.
11. Annual baby’s breath
Known by the scientific name Gypsophila muralis, this species looks like its perennial sibling, but it only grows to a height of one-foot tall, and it can spread itself by seed.
By planting some of each of these cultivars in your landscape, you can have continually blooming baby’s breath. By mixing the cultivar heights, you achieve a bush or shrub-like display that provides a flowering backdrop for more than six months of the year.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
With the many cultivars of Baby’s Breath flowers available, questions arise. This wide range of flowering plants can provide ground cover or four-foot-tall bushes. You can mix the varieties for a nice height juxtaposition and a colorful mix of flowers in summer.
This plant is a favorite for florists and if you want to grow it yourself to save yourself from needing to order it for your floral designs, you can very easily. This cutting plant grows well in such diverse conditions that lend it to cultivation in nearly any zone. You can grow this plant in a greenhouse, too, or indoors as a part of a container garden.
What is the difference between the annual and perennial varieties?
You will get blooming flowers during the mid-summer with a perennial baby’s breath. With the annual varieties, you get blooming flowers for the summer. They then die.
What is the most common type of Baby’s Breath?
You will most likely see Baby’s Breath pseudodictamnus or false dittany and false divinity growing in the US. It can grow in poor, but well-drained soil and provides dramatic foliage.
The plant offers pink flowers with silver foliage. It loves dry, hot, sunny conditions. Its silver foliage contains felt-like silver hairs that help it retain water.
Will this deer eat this plant?
No, deer do not like Baby’s Breath. While they may find some plants extremely attractive, you can consider baby’s breath deer resistant.
How should you plant Baby’s Breath?
If you lack an area of full sun, you can get it by planting it in an area with just four hours of direct sun. That’s about as partial shade as you can grow these flowers in and have them thrive. Planted in early spring, baby’s breath will blossom for you by mid-summer.
You can grow seedlings in a container and then transplant them, but you need to plant them at the same depth as when they were in the container. The plant is susceptible to stem rot, so grade the soil away from the plan.
This keeps water from collecting and rotting the plants. This flower prefers acidic and alkaline soil that’s a bit chalky or sandy. It should also be well-drained soil. It exhibits a medium growth rate.
Stake the plants before summer because they need the support. These plants can grow up to four feet in height, but they require a stake in the beginning because the plant’s stem is brittle.
Staking it during the summer can damage the blooms. If you live in a cooler climate, during fall add mulch to your perennial baby’s breath to provide winter protection.
Should you deadhead Baby’s Breath?
No and yes. You do not have to deadhead it regularly, but regularly removing the dead blossoms will provide you with a lengthier blooming period.
When can you take cuttings of Baby’s Breath?
You can take cuttings in April, May, or June. You get a second opportunity for cuttings in August and September.
Is Baby’s Breath poisonous?
No, this is not a poisonous plant. That does not mean eat it though.
Is Baby’s Breath toxic to animals?
No, this plant easily gets along with every creature. It has no reported toxicity to birds, cats, dogs, horses, livestock, people.
How would you use Baby’s Breath flowers in a garden?
Plant Baby’s breath with Oriental Poppy Papaver which blossoms in spring plums, reds, pinks, oranges, and white. Some cultivars provide double flowers during summer. It also looks fabulous with Little Grapette daylilies which also provide an array of colors during their blooming season and you can choose from a daunting 50,000 hybrid cultivars ranging by size, form, and height.
Choose a fragrant variety for a double treat during spring and summer. Deadhead them daily and produce a visual treat all summer. Also, try planting baby’s breath with fire witch cheddar pinks.
Its blue-green foliage provides an exciting contrast to the pink cottage flowers. Despite the name, you can also obtain this flower in white, red, lavender, and rose. Since the cultivars range from creeping groundcover to 30-inch-tall cutting flowers, you can obtain bright blooms all spring and summer long.
Is this plant drought-resistant?
All varieties of Baby’s Breath flowers love dry weather and dry, but well-drained soil. Many areas of the country known for frequent droughts grow this hearty plant to provide necessary groundcover or tall shrubs to help stop erosion during dry periods. Their various cultivars bloom at different times of the year, so by mixing them, you can have a beautiful garden even during a drought.
What soil pH does Baby’s Breath plant enjoy?
You need soil with a neutral, alkaline, or acid pH for this plant to thrive. You can add organic matter if needed to help your soil along. Try adding a bit of bone meal with potting soil, manure, and compost.
You can generate much of the organic matter needed to help your soil along by starting a compost heap in your backyard. If you do not already know the pH of your soil, you can purchase a test kit at most home hardware stores or garden stores. This information helps you choose seeds and prepare beds for different varieties of flowers.