How To Grow and Save Seed of Baby's Breath

Latin name gypsophila is a hardy annual. The sprays of white micro blooms are ubiquitous in floral arrangements, adding depth and texture to support large focal flowers like roses and dahlias.

 

 

HISTORY

Native to Eurasia, the Latin name gypsophila means gypsum loving, a reference to the plant's soil preference, as it is naturally found growing in sandy, dry, alkaline soils. Baby's Breath is often naturally found growing in areas where there is a gypsum deposit. This wild flower was beloved by Victorian gardeners; it became a cottage garden staple during the Victorian era and has remained wildly popular since. The misty clouds of white have long reigned supreme alongside red roses in wedding and Valentine's Day arrangements, perhaps because the Victorian language of flowers describes Baby's Breath as symbolizing everlasting love!

 

USES

Ornamental, excellent for cutting and use in floral arrangements or landscape design.

 

SEED STARTING

  • Seeds germinate in 10-20 days.
  • Direct sow seeds in early to mid spring or start indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost.
  • Sow multiple successions throughout spring to ensure a long blooming season.
  • Ideal germination temperature is 70 F.

 

GROWING

  • Prefers alkaline, well-drained soil. Will tolerate poor soil as long as it is well draining.
  • Grow in full sun.
  • Provide moderate moisture.
  • Average plant height is 18-24 inches.

 

PESTS/SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Baby's Breath is relatively pest free; most issues like rot, fungus and mold arise from the flowers' intolerance to standing water or excess moisture.

  • Prefers fast-draining soil and adequate moisture.
  • Planting in raised beds or amending with loose, well-rotted compost will help to improve drainage.
  • Spacing plants adequately to improve air circulation and keeping beds weeded will also help to reduce the incidence of fungus.

 

SEED SAVING

  • Gypsophila have perfect flowers and require pollination by insects.
  • Cut plants when flower heads have turned brown, shake plants to remove seeds.
  • Seed remains viable for up to 2 years.

 

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