James H. Schutte
Plant Common Name
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.
Clay, Loam, Sand