Gypsophila – Baby’s Breath, Chalk Plant, Gauze Flower, Fairies’ Breath
The Gypsophila is one of the daintiest of the old-fashioned flowers with a misty grace which is not found in other flowers. The flowers themselves are tiny, white or blush-white and the plants are covered with myriads of these blossoms all during the Summer. The plant grows from 2 feet to 3 feet tall; the foliage is grass-like, the stems are branched minutely and are wiry, and the general appearance is filmy, gauzy, or misty white. Gypsophila paniculata has single flowers, while G. p. flore pleno has larger, double, rosette-like flowers and is more satisfactory. G. acutifolia is frequently cultivated, differing from G. paniculata.in its greener and narrower leaves. G. cerastoides and G. repens monstrosaare trailing species blooming in June and July; the former has pinkish tinged flowers.
UTILIZE. The Baby’s Breath is an excellent cut flower, especially when combined in bouquets or decorations with other flowers which do not have much foliage. The flowers, especially of the double form, can be cut and dried and used during the Winter months. The plants themselves are useful in the hardy border, or as pot plants. The trailing form is useful for edging and for rock gardens.
GENERAL. Gypsophilas endure open, dry places and rather poor soil. The name Gypsophila (Gypsum-loving) seems to indicate its preference for limestone soils. Some gardeners claim that cutting the plants back after blooming is detrimental to them.
PROPAGATION. They may be propagated from seeds or cuttings taken either in the Fall or Spring. The double sorts should be grafted on the root’s of the single flowering ones, as about 30 percent of the seedlings come double from seed. The plants are divided most frequently.