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How to grow gypsophila – Gypsophila paniculata 'Snowflake'

How to grow gypsophila (baby’s breath)

All you need to know about growing gypsophila (baby's breath), in our Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow
Sow

Do not Sow in January

Do not Sow in February

Do not Sow in March

Do Sow in April

Do not Sow in May

Do not Sow in June

Do not Sow in July

Do not Sow in August

Do Sow in September

Do not Sow in October

Do not Sow in November

Do not Sow in December

Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Cut back
Cut back

Do not Cut back in January

Do not Cut back in February

Do not Cut back in March

Do not Cut back in April

Do not Cut back in May

Do not Cut back in June

Do not Cut back in July

Do not Cut back in August

Do not Cut back in September

Do Cut back in October

Do not Cut back in November

Do not Cut back in December

At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is not at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is not at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

  • Plant size

    1.2cm height

    75cm spread

Gypsophila (baby’s breath) are annual, hardy perennial or alpine plants that are grown for their sprays of tiny, button-like flowers in summer, in shades of white or pale pink.

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Gypsophilas are a member of the carnation family, CaryophyllaceaeThey are much loved by flower arrangers because they combine well with pretty much any flower – they are a favourite in bridal bouquets. They do exactly the same in a border, where their thin, wiry stems and clouds of flowers make them an excellent ‘filler’, bridging the gap between different plants and bringing an airy feel to a planting scheme.

Gypsophilas are ideal for cottage gardens, white gardens, gravel gardens and, of course, cutting gardens – just give them plenty of sunshine and room to spread. Around five stems are perfect for a good display in a bouquet or vase and the blooms should last at least seven days in water. The flowers dry very easily for arrangements, too.

Alpine and miniature forms of gypsophila are low growing, and useful for rockeries, alpine troughs and for edging borders. 

How to grow gypsophila

For best results grow gypsophila in moist but very well-drained, slightly alkaline or neutral soil. Deadhead spent blooms regularly to encourage repeat flowering. Avoid disturbing perennial plants once established, as they dislike root disturbance.

Gypsophila: jump links


Where to grow gypsophila

How to grow gypsophila – Gypsophila 'Pink Sugardot'
How to grow gypsophila – Gypsophila ‘Pink Sugardot’

Gypsophila in a sunny spot and in free-draining soil – if you don’t have this, add plenty of grit when planting. Gypsophilas prefer a slightly alkaline soil (lime or chalk) but will grow in most neutral soils. Avoid acid soils.


How to plant gypsophila

Dig a hole that is the same depth as the plant’s pot, adding some compost and grit if your soil is heavy. Water in well. 


Where to buy gypsophila online


Caring for gypsophila

How to grow gypsophila – Gypsophila cerastioides
How to grow gypsophila – Gypsophila cerastioides

Support taller plants in windy spots as the plant grows – use pea sticks or brushwood for a more natural look. Feed every few weeks with a general liquid fertiliser. Cut down the flower stems after flowering – this may produce a second flush of flowers in late autumn.


How to propagate gypsophila

Sow seeds of annual gypsophila direct in April or September, where they are to flower, as they dislike root disturbance. If you’re growing them for cutting, sow successionally every few weeks from April until June. Perennial varieties of gypsophila can be propagated by taking basal cuttings. Alpine varieties can be divided in March.


Growing gypsophila: problem solving

Gypsophila are generally free of most pests and diseases. The main problem you are likely to encounter are problems with winter wet – gypsophila do not enjoy sitting in cold, wet soil. Add plenty of grit when planting to avoid root or stem rot.


Advice on buying gypsophila

  • Ensure that you have the right conditions to grow gypsophila – they need alkaline to neutral, well-drained soil in full sun
  • Check that the variety you are buying is annual (which will flower and die in one year) or perennial, coming back year after year
  • You can buy gypsophila plants at the garden centre, but for the best selection visit a specialist nursery or buy online

Where to buy gypsophila online

Varieties of gypsophila to grow

Gypsophila paniculata ‘Snowflake’ – masses of snow-white flowers blooms on strong stems, in early summer. A perennial variety that is perfect for bouquets, dried flower arrangements and filling gaps in the border.
Height x Spread: 90cm x 40cm

Gypsophila paniculata ‘Bristol Fairy’ – a perennial variety with double white flowers, also good for filling gaps in the border, cutting and dried flowers.
H x S: 1.2m x 1.2m

Gypsophila ‘Rosenscheier’ – a compact, perennial variety. The white flowers fade to pink as they mature.
H x S: 50cm x 40cm

Gypsophila elegans ‘Covent Garden’ – a pretty white annual variety that’s excellent for cutting.
H x S: 45cm x 45cm

Gypsophila cerastiodes (mouse-eared gypsophila) – a dwarf, semi-evergreen alpine type with a creeping habit. Green-grey, hairy leaves contrast with masses of small white trumpet-shaped flowers in spring and summer, loved by pollinators.
H x S: 5cm x 15cm

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Gypsohila repens ‘Rosea’ – a pretty, creeping pink variety, ideal for rockeries or planting in stone walls.
H x S: 10cm x 45cm