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White flowers of baby's breath growing in a garden
A versatile and popular cut and dried flower, baby’s breath is easy to grow at home from seed and a great addition to the garden. Baby’s breath is a great cottage garden filler and acts as a living, flowering mulch, preventing weeds from taking over when other plants are past their peak. Try it in your garden!

What you need to know about baby’s breath

Name: baby’s breath, gypsophila, gyp, Gypsophila elegans.

Height: 50–60cm.

Plant type: annual.

Climate: all climates.

Soil: prefers an alkaline soil with a pH of 6.0–7.0.

Position: full sun.

Flowering: flowers in 10 weeks from sowing with a mass of small white or pink flowers.

Feeding: apply a liquid fertiliser to support flowering in spring and summer.

Watering: water regularly, especially in hot dry weather.

Appearance and characteristics of gypsophila

Baby’s breath has a mass of small white or pink flowers which resemble small pom-poms on an intricate array of fine branches. The botanical name, gypsophila, refers to its love of alkaline soils, while its common name describes its delicate flowers.

Close-up of white baby's breath flowers in a white pot

Uses for gypsophila

A popular cut and dried flower, baby’s breath is also a great addition to the garden, offering plenty of flowers for at least 6 months of the year if sown successively throughout the growing season. 

How to plant and grow baby’s breath

Sow directly into the garden on a lightly raked soil during summer and autumn in most areas. Sow new seed every 3–4 weeks to extend the flowering season. 

  1. Check the pH of your soil before sowing with a soil pH test kit. 
  2. If necessary, apply garden lime at the rate of around 1 tablespoon per square meter to raise the pH by 1.0 until you get a reading between 6.0 and 7.0.
  3. Sow seeds and water in well. Apply snail and slug pellets to give seedlings a chance to germinate and grow. 
  4. In most areas, seed will germinate in 10–14 days. 

How to care for baby’s breath

Baby’s breath is relatively low maintenance, growing quickly and flowering in just 10 weeks.

How often should you water and feed baby’s breath?

Water regularly, especially during hot or dry weather. Apply a liquid fertiliser at the start of each season to prolong flowering. 

Pest and diseases

Baby’s breath is relatively pest or disease free, but it’s best to protect from snails and slugs during germination. Spread pet-friendly snail pellets or use traps to give plants time to establish.

Water the soil and roots rather than the top growth to avoid fungal problems.

How to propagate baby’s breath

Baby’s breath is easy to propagated from seed. 

  1. Allow plants to flower, fruit and set seed. 
  2. Cut stalks as soon as pods begin to dry. 
  3. Hang upside down over a bucket or bag and shake to release the remaining seeds. 
  4. Store in an envelope clearly labelled with the variety and date harvested.

If you like this then try

Queen Anne’s lace: another stunning white wildflower with an open airy appearance.

Dill: a wonderful filler for bouquets and vases and a great addition to the flower garden.  

Alyssum: a small flowering groundcover available in shades of white, pink and peach.

Start growing today

Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing!

 

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.