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