Baby’s Breath Propagation: Learn About Propagating Baby’s Breath Plants

Baby’s breath is a small, delicate bloom included as a finishing touch in many bouquets and flower arrangements. Masses of star-shaped flowers look great in outside flower beds, too. Gypsophila grows in several varieties, preferring a moist, sunny spot in the landscape.

Propagating Baby’s Breath Plants

You may have planted seeds of this flower without success. Seeds are tiny and sometimes a little tricky to get going. 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. Starting new baby’s breath takes time, about a month, but is worth the wait.

How to Propagate Baby’s Breath Cuttings

Use clean, sterilized containers and fill with well-draining soil or mix. Take a 3- to 5-inch (7.6 to 13 cm.) cutting at an angle with a sharp, clean tool. Dip the cutting in water, then rooting hormone, and place into soil with about two inches (5 cm.) of stem above the soil line. Take off any leaves touching the soil. Continue this process until you have the number of cuttings you want.

Water from the bottom by placing containers into a water-filled plant saucer. Remove when the soil is moist and place the pot into a clear plastic bag. Tie it up and place in a warm spot away from direct sunshine. Check for roots in four weeks. Do this by lightly tugging the stems. If you feel resistance, roots have developed, and you can proceed with Gypsophila propagation. Plant each branch into a separate container or into well-draining soil outside.

Starting a New Baby’s Breath Transplant

If you have no baby’s breath from which to take a cutting, you can get ready for Gypsophila propagation by purchasing a small plant. Prepare the spot in the garden for the transplant ahead of time. The fragile roots of this plant need air circulation, and this cannot happen when it is planted in heavy clay without amendment.

Remove unwanted plant material from the planting area and loosen the soil. Mix in finished compost, manure, fresh topsoil, or other organic material that will provide optimal drainage. Mix in coarse sand if you have it available.

Plant baby’s breath so it remains at the same level as it is in the pot. Gently spread roots out so they can readily grow. Water at soil level. Avoid wetting the foliage with future watering when possible.

When the plant is established and new growth occurs regularly, you can begin baby’s breath propagation by cuttings. Grow this plant in a sunny area with afternoon shade in the hottest areas.

Besides roses, Gypsophila – due to its graceful appearance – is one of the most charismatic plants. Not only does this plant decorate every bouquet in its own special way, it also beautifies every flower bed. On a big scale Gypsophila can grow in bare areas and can be combined with almost every other kind of flower. There are two options for every gardener: Gypsophila which grows upright and Gypsophila which is more of a crawling nature. This crawling Gypsophila is also known as ribbed Gypsophila.

Plant Profile

  • plant family: Carnation family
  • class: Gypsophila
  • kind: ripped Gypsophila
  • trivial names: Baby’s breath, Gypsophila paniculata, Gypsophila, Gypsophila rapens
  • origin: East Europe to West Siberia
  • herbaceous, persistent plant
  • plant height: depending on type, 50 to 120cm
  • flowering period: May until August
  • blossom: white or rosé, singular or stuffed
  • lanceolate leafs are grey-green to blue-green
  • runs to seed via semen

Gypsophila is a typical East European plant, which spreads to the areas in west Siberia and has made its way to our latitudes. In Central Europe Gypsophila can be found in Austria and Germany. Especially Mecklenburg-Pomerania, Brandenburg and the Italian South Tyrol are home to this plant.


Its preferred ground to grow on is sandy areas on which it runs to seed, also on sandy grasslands. In this care instructions manual you can find all important points for an optimal cultivation and nursing of Gypsophila.


Very graceful and at the same time a nice addition to every flower bed: The beautiful baby’s breath. In our region it reaches low to medium heights, but in the American mountains it can reach as high as 1,20 meters. There is only one thing more beautiful than its small white blossoms: the small nuances in rosé.

Gypsophila paniculata ‚Flamingo‘

Because it grows rather low most of the times, it was given the name Gypsophila rapens in some regions. What follows is an easy how-to guide which helps you to grow and nurture this beautiful plant in your garden.


Region and soil

Gypsophila foremost prefers a sandy and warm ground. It is important that it contains chalk and is rather permeable. Warmth poses an important factor for flourishing, this is why Gypsophila often grows in cracks or in stony, dry regions. In order to grow this plant one should choose a semi shady place. Also important: a wind protected place, so the plant does not get damaged by strong winds.


You will not have any success growing Gypsophila on heavy, moist grounds. Therefore, you have to prepare a really sandy ground, which can also contain small pebble stones. These stones will make sure that all rain water can drain and that the plants do not have to deal with overly wet soil.

  • The drier it gets, the better it gets!

Walls or stony joints are optimal. Gypsophila will flourish perfectly in these places. A person who wants to build a stone garden or wants to conceal no so beautiful walls is always right with choosing Gypsophila. The soil should be very low in nutrients.

Gypsophila paniculata ‚Flamingo‘

This is the reason why this plant does not grow nearby any other expensive flowers, because these prefer soil high in nutrients. If the soil does not contain enough chalk, it should be enriched with a substrate.

If not available you should:

  • prepare a sandy spot
  • shiny and with a soil low in nutrients
  • not plant in the flowering bed

Seeding and cultivation

After sowing the seeds have to be covered with a thin layer of soil. After that water it and keep it moist. As an alternative option seeds can be sown in propagator trays or in a cold frame. A bright and warm spot offers the seeds the ideal micro climate to sprout. From the to time the propagator tray should be aired to prevent rotting.

  • as soon as the young plants have developed four to five leafs, they can be moved to a pot.
  • they can be planted in pots our outside


Planting time

The seeds of Gypsophila are annual and perennial. The seeds are sown outside in March or April. The very small seeds should not be sown too densely, because every single plant will expand during their growth phase. Between April and May Gypsophila can also be cultivated very easily in a greenhouse, bevor it gets planted outside.

Except for frosty months, almost every other month can be used to beautify your garden. Therefore it is rewarding to breed Gypsophila privately.


When putting the plants in a pot or moving them to another location, it is crucial to know how much space the plants need. Gypsophila rapens, for example, grows a wide network and there should be around 50 cm of space between each plant for them to optimally expand.

Neighbors of Gypsophila

With its individual and low demands for soil, the neighbors of this plants have to be carefully chosen. Centranthus is a type of plant which are similar in demands and growth aspects. Small, tender plants with enchanting blossoms can enrich the flower bed of Gypsophila.

Also Mediterranean herbs like sage lavender need little water and can be combined. If the plants are bound together, they will not fall apart and form a beautiful sight.



Breeding and cutting go hand in hand when it comes to Gypsophila. If it is necessary to cut these plants, you can use the cuttings for breeding. Plant them in a stone garden next to the mother plant or in a small pot.


Gypsophila makes it easy for you! This is because you do not have to care for watering or fertilization. Just the opposite is the case here. During long periods of dryness the plants can be watered slightly by hand or by rainfall.


In no case should you fertilize. “Less is more!”, is what applies here.


Breeding is done via seeds or the multiplication of cuttings. This option has already been explained in the section “cutting”. As soon as you cut off some branches for a fresh bouquet, you can breed new cuttings at any given time.

Gypsophila paniculata ‚Flamingo‘

On the other hand you collect the seeds and are well prepared for the next gardener’s year to come. It is possible that the annual Gypsophila spreads on its own due to falling seeds. The plant as well as the seeds are perennial.

In late autumn you can cover your needs of new plants with the cuttings. The cultivation takes place I small flower pots with sandy soil. It can be mixed with a small amount of growing soil, to further stimulate root development. It is important not to water excessively, but at the same time keep a moist climate underneath your cover.

Making it through winter

Making it through winter in our regions is quite difficult. This is because on the one hand many types of this plant are annual. On the other hand these plants cannot cope with very low temperatures or freezing. You can cover your perennials with a layer of mulch made of dry leaves and brushwood. Underneath this layer it will be dry and there is a good chance that the plants will sprout again next year.

Parasites and diseases


The beautiful Gypsophila is a rare victim of parasites. From time to time leaves will fall off. In spring, the young sprouts have to deal with snails. Snails should be removed quickly, before they begin to eat off the sprouts.



Diseases are a rare case with Gypsophila. Moisture and wetness are the most common causes for rotten stems and roots. Therefore the ground should be made loose with enough sand before planting. If rot is detected, action must be taken immediately to prevent a potential death of the plants.


If you take a second look, you will see how many different types of Gypsophila there are. We will give an overview of all types of this plant.

Gypsophila rosé

  • Gypsophila repens “Letchworth” ecstasizes with rosé colored blossoms, grow to the sides and only reaches a height of 10 cm, flowering period between May and July, ideal for growing on foregrounds
  • Gypsophila repens “Rosenschleier”, tender rosé colored blossoms stuffed in low heights of 10 cm, blossoms for long periods in summer
  • Gypsophila repens “Rosea” tender rosé colored with a growing height of up to 25 cm and a flowering period between May and July
  • Gypsophila paniculata “Flamingo” with big, stuffed rosé colored blossoms, a height of an impressive 120 cm, grows very branched and blossoms between June and August

Gypsophila paniculata ‚Flamingo‘

  • Gypsophila elegans appears in rosé and white, reaches a height between 30 – 50 cm, optimal as a cut or dried flower

Gypsophila white

  • Gypsophila aretioides is the smallest type of Gypsophila with a height of only 5 cm, it forms a white and attractive cushion which prefers warm and sunny cracks, optimal for your stone garden
  • Gypsophila repens “Compacta Plena” is also suited for your stone garden with a height of 20 cm, big, white stuffed blossoms, grows very densely
  • Gypsophila paniculata „Festival Star“ as a Gypsophila which grows in pots, has white blossoms and reaches a height of 40 cm, optimal for flower pots
  • Gypsophila paniculata “Bristol Fairy” with stuffed, white blossoms and a height of up to 90 or 100 cm, begins to flower at the end of June
  • Gypsophila pacifica features very big and white blossoms and a height of up to 100 cm, also grows in colder regions, very persistent

1 of 5 Gypsophila paniculata ‚Flamingo‘ Gypsophila paniculata ‚Flamingo‘ Gypsophila Gypsophila Gypsophila

Baby’s Breaths: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties

With a light and elegant appearance, baby’s breath
is a beautiful bedding plant that can fill your
garden area with tiny clouds of white showy flowers.

About baby’s breaths
Most popularly used as a cutting plant, baby’s breath is a dense flowering border and bedding plant covered with tiny, loosely-scattered, white flowers. You can purchase both annual or perennial varieties. Perennial baby’s breath will bloom for a long period during the mid-summer season. The annual plant will bloom for the summer, then die-off, whereas perennial varieties continue to bloom year after year.

Choosing a site to grow baby’s breaths
Baby’s breath is best grown in full sun, although it will get by with as little as 4 hours of direct sun. In full sun, baby’s breath is easy to grow and is drought tolerant as well. It prefers rich, well drained or sandy soil conditions.

Planting Instructions
Plant baby’s breath in early spring. Plant at the same depth that the plant was growing in its container. Because baby’s breath is susceptible to stem rot, be sure to grade the soil away from the plant to help prevent water collecting and damaging the plants.

Ongoing Care
Staking will help support the plant, but because the plant is so brittle, be sure to stake baby’s breath plants well before the summer blooms appear to avoid damaging the plant. In cooler climates, mulch your perennial baby’s breath in the fall to help protect the plant during the winter period.

Growth and flowering of Gypsophila paniculata L. ‘Bristol Fairy’ and ‘Bridal Veil’ in relation to temperature and photosynthetic photon flux☆

The growth and flowering responses of Gypsophila paniculata L. ‘Bristol Fairy’ and ‘Bridal Veil’ to temperature and photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) were determined by growing plants in controlled environment rooms under all the following combinations of PPF (210, 450 and 710 μmol s−1 m−2) and temperature (12, 20 and 28°C). ‘Bristol Fairy’ showed higher relative growth rate and root: plant ratio, but lower leaf area ratio than ‘Bridal Veil’ over the first 30 days of treatments. Temperature and PPF responses of net photosynthesis were similar in the two cultivars and were characterized by a temperature optimum which shifted from 20°C at 450 μmol s−1 m−2 to between 12 and 20°C at 710 μmol s−1 m−2 Stem elongation (bolting) commenced first at 28°C and 710 μmol s−1 m−2 and was delayed progressively at 20°C and 12°C, and at lower PPF. Plant height at harvest was inversely related to temperature, but increased with increasing PPF. Generally, bolting and flower bud formation occurred earlier in ‘Bridal Veil’ than in ‘Bristol Fairy’; flower buds developed to anthesis more rapidly in ‘Bridal Veil’ at 12°C, but not at 20°C or 28°C. Flower yield was inversely related to temperature and was higher in ‘Bridal Veil’ than in ‘Bristol Fairy’ under all except 28°C growth conditions. Flower yield decreased with PPF in both cultivars, but ‘Bristol Fairy’ displayed more blindness and flower bud abortion at 210 μmol s−1 m−2. The ratio of floret number to inflorescence fresh weight (a measure of inflorescence density) was generally higher in ‘Bridal Veil’ than in ‘Bristol Fairy’. ‘Bridal Veil’ shows considerable promise for commercial production, particularly under lower temperature and PPF conditions.

Baby’s Breath Flowers – How To Grow Baby’s Breath Plant In The Garden

We’re all familiar with the baby’s breath plant (Gypsophila paniculata), from bridal bouquets to cut flower arrangements that use the small, delicate white flowers, fresh or dried, to fill in around larger blooms. But did you know that baby’s breath flowers can grow easily in your garden? You can learn how to dry your own baby’s breath for making arrangements at home and to share with friends simply by growing baby’s breath flowers in your garden.

This plant may be annual or perennial, and baby’s breath flowers grow in rose, pink and white and may have single or double blooms. Double blooming baby’s breath plants have been grafted, so take care to cut above the graft union.

How to Grow Baby’s Breath

Growing baby’s breath is simple and you’ll likely find it a useful garden specimen. Learning how to grow baby’s breath can be a lucrative hobby, especially if you sell it to florists and others who make professional arrangements.

Growing baby’s breath in a full sun area is relatively simple if the soil pH is right. The baby’s breath plant likes an alkaline or sweet soil. Soil should also be well-draining. If your baby’s breath plant does not perform well, take a soil test to determine the soil’s alkalinity.

Start baby’s breath flowers in the garden from seeds, cuttings or tissue cultured plants.

How to Dry Your Own Baby’s Breath

Reaching 12 to 18 inches (30.5-46 cm.) at maturity, you can harvest and learn how to dry your own baby’s breath flowers. When cutting to dry flowers of the baby’s breath plant, choose stems with just half of the flowers in bloom while others are only buds. Don’t use stems with browning flowers.

Re-cut stems of the baby’s breath under warm running water. Bundle five to seven stems together with twine or a rubber band. Hang these upside down in a dark, warm and well-ventilated room.

Check the drying flowers after five days. When flowers are papery to the touch, they are ready for use in a dried arrangement. If they do not have the papery feel after five days, allow more time, checking every couple of days.

Now that you’ve learned how to grow baby’s breath and how to dry it, include it as a border in your garden. If it does well, check with local florists to see if they are interested in purchasing some of the flowers you’ve perfected in your garden.

NOTE: This plant is considered a noxious weed in some parts of the U.S. and Canada. Before planting anything in your garden, it is always important to check if a plant is invasive in your particular area. Your local extension office can help with this.

By Julie Christensen

You’re probably familiar with baby’s breath — ubiquitous in wreaths, bridal displays and floral arrangements — but you might not have thought of it as a garden plant. Baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata) makes a low-maintenance addition to the perennial garden. 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.

Baby’s breath is best known for its white blooms, but the plant also comes in pink and rose. Hardy in plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, it is a long-lived perennial. The plant grows 2 to 3 feet tall and wide, with a gentle rounded form.

Getting Started

To grow baby’s breath, plant nursery transplants or start it from cuttings. You can also grow baby’s breath from seed, although it probably won’t bloom the first summer. Spread seeds in a seed starting tray filled with a lightweight growing medium. Cover the seeds with a very light layer of soil – 1/16 inch and mist the tray with water from a spray bottle. Cover the seed tray with plastic wrap and keep it in a warm location. Seeds germinate best when the soil temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Plant baby’s breath in full sun, in well-draining soil with a pH around 7.0. Add lime to acidic soils to raise the pH. Amend heavy, clay soils with plenty of organic matter, such as compost, manure and peat moss, because the plants will rot during long, wet winters.

Growing Tips for Baby’s Breath

Baby’s breath doesn’t require a lot of maintenance and in fact, too much fertilizer and water can cause soft growth and few blossoms. Keep the soil on the dry side and provide a light application of a balanced fertilizer in the spring as new growth emerges.

Cut the plants back midsummer if they become straggly and unkempt. Cutting them back encourages a fresh batch of blooms from late summer to fall. Tall plants benefit from staking. Baby’s breath is one perennial that doesn’t need division. The fleshy roots are fragile and easily damaged so it’s better to leave baby’s breath alone and shear it back to control growth. Double blossomed varieties are grafted onto a root stock, so take care not to cut below the graft line or the plant will revert to the character of the root stock.

Baby’s breath rarely experiences problems with insect or disease pests. You can prevent mildew or mold issues by spacing baby’s breath so air circulates freely and using drip irrigation instead of overhead sprinklers.

To use the flowers in floral arrangements, cut them when half the blooms are open. The remaining blooms will open in a day or two, extending the life of the flowers. To dry baby’s breath, cut them early in the morning when the blooms are just opening. Hang them in a dry, warm location for two weeks, or until completely dry.

Baby’s breath contains a sap that some people find irritating. The irritation is mild and lasts only a few minutes. If you experience itching or a rash, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and wear gloves when handling this plant.

Varieties and Types of Baby’s Breath Plants

‘Bristol Fairy’ is the variety you’re probably familiar with. This plant produces small, white blossoms from April to August, depending on your climate. ‘Viette’s Dwarf’ is, as the name implies, a compact variety, growing only 18 inches tall. The plant has pink to white flowers that bloom from May to August. ‘Perfekta’ produces larger, white, double flowers in June and grows 3 feet tall. ‘Compacta plena’ grows only 12 inches tall, with white blooms that appear from April to August.

For more information, visit the following links:

Gypsophila paniculata from the Royal Horticulture Society in London

Gypsophila paniculata ‘Bristol Fairy’ from the Missouri Botanical Garden

When she’s not writing about gardening, food and canning, Julie Christensen enjoys spending time in her gardens, which include perennials, vegetables and fruit trees. She’s written hundreds of gardening articles for the Gardening Channel, Garden Guides and San Francisco Gate, as well as several e-books.

Baby’s breath (gypsophila elegans)

Baby’s breath is a common cut flower, popularly paired with roses and as a common filler in other bouquets. It’s also commonly used as a bouquet or arrangement of its own.

Learn more about what baby’s breath is and how to grow it in your garden.

What is baby’s breath?

Like many flowers, there is more than one type of baby’s breath. Baby’s breath, also called gypsophila, is an annual or a perennial, depending on the variety.

Gypsophila elegans is an annual that grows up to 2 feet tall. It’s flowers are white. Other varieties of baby’s breath are white, or sometimes pink or red.

How to grow baby’s breath

Growing gypsophila elegans is pretty simple. It can be grown from seed in the spring after the threat of frost, or planted as transplants if started indoors 6-8 weeks before the final frost. However, it’s recommended to directly sow baby’s breath.

Arrangement of baby’s breath (gypsophila elegans)

Gypsophila elegans requires:

  • Full sun
  • Slightly alkaline soil
  • Well-draining soil
  • Average soil moisture
  • Planting in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-10

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.

Baby’s breath grows as small clusters of flowers. It’s a cut-and-grow-again flower. Or, the seeds can be planted in succession for harvest throughout the summer season.

Sources: University of Missouri Extension, University of Illinois Extension, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Wildflower Information


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