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GYPSOPHILA

Image of Gypsophila

James H. Schutte

Family

Caryophyllaceae

Botanical Name

GYPSOPHILA

Plant Common Name

Baby's Breath

General Description

There are over a 100 species of Gypsophila , ranging from those that grow in alpine conditions to varieties that thrive in arid, sandy environments. Most originate from temperate Europe and Asia and northern Africa. Several of the most popular cultivated species are valued garden annuals and perennials that are often used as filler flowers in florist’s arrangements.

Gypsophila leaves are opposite, slender and often lance-shaped. Flowers are small, five-petaled, single or double and borne on multi-branched stems. There are several clump forming species, such as Gypsophila muralis and Gypsophila repens, that produce masses of tiny flowers that cover the plant like white or light pink confetti. Taller varieties, like Gypsophila paniculata , have sturdy, well-branched stems that become covered with cloud-like masses of petite blooms in white or hues of pale pink or lavender.

Gypsophila are diverse, but most cultivated species require full sun and prefer sharply drained, neutral to alkaline soil. In the garden, they offer light cool color and texture to mixed borders. Baby’s breath is a close relative of the carnation, and the flowers of many species make pretty and long-lasting cutflowers.

Some species have been known to become ecologically invasive.

Characteristics

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Native To

    Europe, Northern Africa, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink, Lavender

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single, Double

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Dried Flower / Everlasting, Bedding Plant, Cutflower, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No