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Perennial Gypsophila Plants

Updated February 21, 2017

The perennial plant Gypsophila is better known as baby's breath for its cloudlike display of tiny flowers. Although the foliage is a blue-green, the plant's delicate blossoms virtually hide the leaves. Depending upon the variety, baby's breath grows from 1 to 4 feet tall and spreads 3 feet wide. The flowers appear in mid to late summer; although the more common blossom is white, there are cultivars that are soft pink or lilac.

Site and Soil

Gypsophila needs full sunlight for the plant to thrive. Due to its spreading characteristic, baby's breath needs plenty of room, according to the Michigan State University. The soil needs to be free draining; although baby's breath will grow in poor soil, it prefers soil that is slightly alkaline.

Care

Plant gypsophila in the spring in its final garden location, as the plant does not like to be moved. Water the plant 1 inch a week and do not allow the soil to dry, especially with young plants. It can take more than one season for the plant to settle into the garden, but once it is established, gypsophila is easy to grow. It has few problems with pests or diseases and needs only a light feeding with a complete plant food in the spring. Cut gypsophila back after the initial flowering, to encourage repeat blooming. Cut the plant back to ground level in the fall.

Uses

Use gypsophila as a ground cover or as a cutting plant in either fresh or dried arrangements or bouquets. Create the appearance of a bouquet in the garden by planting baby's breath around a rose bush, where the delicate flowers will grow up amid the rose blossoms.

Caution

When dried, all parts of gypsophila can trigger asthma or an allergic reaction, according to the North Carolina State University Extension. In addition to asthma, after handling, the allergic symptoms include irritation to the eyes, nose and skin. The skin irritation is minor and only lasts a short time.

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About the Author

After attending Hardin Simmons University, Kay Dean finished her formal education with the Institute of Children's Literature. Since 1995, Dean has written for such publications as "PB&J," Disney’s "Family Fun," "ParentLife," "Living With Teenagers" and Thomas Nelson’s NY Times bestselling "Resolve." An avid gardener for 25 years, her experience includes organic food gardening, ornamental plants, shrubs and trees, with a special love for roses.