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.


Gypsophilas are a member of the carnation family, Caryophyllaceae. Gypsophila flowers 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.

Where to grow gypsophila

Gypsophila repens Rosea Rotherview Nursery stand plant portrait 200519 20052019 20/05/19 20/05/2019 20 20th May 2019 Spring RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 Great Pavilion photographer Torie Chugg Floral Marquee
Flower bed with Gypsophila, Petunia and other flowers
Close up little gypsophila flowers horizontal background
Tiny White Baby's Breath Flowers Plants Growing In The Garden
Gypsophila pink flower Gypsophila muralis or cushion baby's-breath floral background
How to grow gypsophila – pink and white gypsophila flowers
How to grow gypsophila – pink and white gypsophila flowers
How to grow gypsophila – Gypsophila paniculata. Getty Images
How to grow gypsophila – Gypsophila paniculata. Getty Images
Blooming cone stone flower and green leaves,Gypsophila paniculata
Gypsophila variety Covent Garden white flowering cut flower annual 280813 28082013 28/08/13 28/03/2013 28th 28 August 2013 Summer Kay Maguire Richmond Photographer Paul Debois practical projects

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

Plants for rock gardens - 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.

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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


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