Baby’s breath is a group of flowering annual, perennial, and evergreen plants that belong to the genus Gypsophila and the family Caryophyllaceae. The genus consists of roughly 150 species that can be found growing wild in Europe and Asia in meadow steppes, beaches, and woodland margins, particularly where the ground is calcium-rich.
Their genus name is derived from the Greek words “gypos” and “philos” which references how baby’s breath plants can often be found growing in areas with high deposits of the calcium-rich mineral gypsum. Aside from preferring slightly alkaline soils these plants are low-maintenance, require no feeding, and are drought tolerant.
Their delicate and lacy blooms gained popularity during the Victorian Era in Great Britain where they were favorites as cut flowers! Today, several species are highly cultivated for the florist industry and they are also well-loved as garden ornamentals.
These Gypsophila types and cultivars can have single to fully double blooms in various shades of white and pink, and are well-suited for meadow, rock, and cottage-style gardens!
Beautiful Baby’s Breath Varieties To Grow In Your Garden
# 1 Alpine Baby’s Breath (G. aretioides)
Alpine Baby’s Breath is a lovely low-growing and cushion-forming variety. It is an evergreen perennial with a dense mat of gray-green foliage made up of tiny, oblong-shaped leaves that grow up to ¼ of an inch long. It produces small, white, star-shaped flowers infrequently from June – July, has a spread of 1-3 feet, and may only grow as tall as 4 inches. This plant is wonderful in containers, rock gardens, and growing along stone walls. It is hardy down to USDA zone 5.
# 2 Mouse-eared Gypsophila (G. cerastioides)
Mouse-eared Gypsophila is a semi-evergreen, low-lying baby’s breath flower. It reaches just under 6 inches tall and has a slightly creeping habit with a spread of 6 – 12 inches. This variety has green foliage and produces masses of blooms over spring and summer that are very attractive to pollinators! Flowers are trumpet-shaped and are white flushed with pink, with distinctive dark pink veining. It is suited to zones 4-9 and looks fantastic at the front of cottage-style borders or growing along stone walls.
# 3 Pretty Maid (G. cerastioides)
This variety is a low-lying, mound-forming, semi-evergreen plant that blooms from spring onwards. It may grow as large as 12 inches, has rounded deep green leaves, and is a prolific bloomer. Flowers are sweetly scented and are just under ½ an inch wide. They are trumpet-shaped, with a pale pink flush and pink veining. Pretty Maid makes a great choice for patio gardens as it is well-suited for containers and its slight trailing habit means it will tumble gracefully over its pot!
# 4 Showy Baby’s Breath (G. elegans)
Also known as Maiden’s Breath, this plant is an annual that has become widely naturalized in the United States after escaping garden cultivation. It has bright green foliage and produces masses of flowers that are larger than perennial varieties. It can have a height and width of up to 2 feet and is easily grown from seed. Blooms are trumpet-shaped and are white, but occasionally they may be light purple-pink. They are a top choice for cottage-style or meadow garden borders, and look incredible when paired with a mix of purple and pink hardy geraniums!
# 5 Covent Garden (G. elegans)
Covent Garden is a short-lived, hardy annual that produces clouds of small white flowers! It grows between 1.5 and 2 feet and blooms from mid to late summer. It has a bushy habit with green foliage and looks fantastic planted in informal borders. Plant them alongside cornflowers for the ultimate meadow garden look!
# 6 Low Baby’s Breath (G. muralis)
Low Baby’s Breath, also called Wall Baby’s Breath is a compact, low-lying annual. It grows between 2 and 6 inches tall and is heavily branched with blue-green foliage. Flowers are produced en-masse, grow to ¼ of an inch wide, and are delicate light pink with dark pink veining. Plant this variety in rock gardens or in between paving slabs for a beautiful splash of color!
# 7 Gypsy Deep Rose (G. muralis)
This compact, mound-forming annual makes a wonderful bedding plant and grows to a maximum of 12 inches high and 20 inches wide. It has bright green foliage that contrasts nicely with its profusion of small, rose pink, semi-double to fully double flowers.
# 8 Gypsy White Improved (G. muralis)
Introduced in 2018, Gypsy White Improved is a delightful baby’s breath flower that has mounds of semi-double white blooms! It has an unusually long blooming period from May through to September and reaches a compact size of just under 8 inches tall and 10 inches wide. This hardy annual is wonderful in cottage-style garden bedding schemes or containers grown alongside brightly-colored petunias!
# 9 Common Baby’s Breath (G. paniculata)
Highly popular in the florist industry, Common Baby’s Breath is often used as a filler for bouquets but is also fantastic as a garden ornamental! Hardy in USDA zones 3-9, it grows between 2 and 3 feet, with blue-green foliage and a dense mass of delicate flowers. This perennial has blooms that are single or fully double, white, and great for attracting pollinators! It is often used in cottage-style or meadow gardens to fill the spaces left behind by early spring bulbs.
# 10 Bristol Fairy (G. paniculata)
Bristol Fairy has a height and spread between 2 and 3 feet and has clouds of beautiful, fully double, white flowers that are only ¼ of an inch wide. It has sparse, gray-green foliage and blooms during the summer. It is a lovely choice for informal gardens and would look great grown alongside towering delphiniums and lupines!
# 11 Perfekta (G. paniculata)
Perfekta is a baby’s breath cultivar that is extremely similar to Bristol Fairy. It grows between 2.5 and 3 feet tall and wide with sparse, gray-green foliage. The main difference between the two is that Perfekta produces blooms that are twice as large growing up to ½ an inch across! Its flowers are white, fully double, and appear over summer.
# 12 Pink Fairy (G. paniculata)
Another delightful cultivar, Pink Fairy is a prolific bloomer producing clouds of relatively large, soft pink, fully double flowers. It will bloom in early summer with a chance of a rebloom in early fall if its blooms are deadheaded. This baby’s breath type is best planted en masse in groups of 3 or more for a striking display, and will have a maximum height of 18 inches and can spread as wide as 2 feet!
# 13 Rosy Veil (G. paniculata)
Also called Gypsophila ‘Rosenschleier’, Rosy Veil is a semi-evergreen variety with a compact, bushy growing habit. It can be as tall as 12 inches and begins flowering in late spring to early summer with a chance of a rebloom in fall. Foliage is gray-green with narrow leaves and slender stems, and its flowers are small, fully double, and pale pink. Rosy Veil looks lovely grown alongside cottage-style garden favorites such as peonies and lupines.
# 14 Snowflake (G. paniculata)
Snowflake grows over 3 feet tall and is a prolific bloomer producing masses of star-shaped, single to fully double, pure white flowers during the summer. It has sparse gray-green foliage and looks sensational planted in drifts in meadow and coastal gardens! Plant it with lavender and ornamental grasses for a beautiful coastal display!
# 15 Summer Sparkles (G paniculata)
This is a compact, semi-evergreen baby’s breath plant that reaches a maximum of 16 inches with a 40-inch spread. It produces mounds of small, semi-double, pure white flowers that bloom over the summer. Foliage is blue-green with narrow leaves. Grow Summer Sparkles in meadow and cottage-style gardens and use them as cut flowers to brighten up the home!
# 16 Viette’s Dwarf (G. paniculata)
Viette’s Dwarf is a compact, mound-forming variety that reaches between 12 and 15 inches in height. A fantastic container plant, it produces small, long-lived, fully double pink flowers that fade with maturity to pure white! It begins blooming in late spring to early summer and has sparse, blue-green foliage.
# 17 Creeping Baby’s Breath (G. repens)
Creeping Baby’s Breath is a semi-evergreen perennial that is suited for USDA zones 3-8. It is low lying and produces mats of foliage that are a maximum of 6 inches tall, covered with masses of small, star-shaped blooms. Flowers are white or soft pink/lilac and bloom in early summer, covering the gray-green foliage with color! It is lovely at the front of the border or as a container plant.
# 18 Alba (G. repens)
Alba grows as tall as 1 foot with a spread of up to 2 feet. It forms mats of dense blue-green foliage and produces small white flowers in early to mid-summer. This variety is beautiful in rock gardens or along walkways and is good for creating ground cover.
# 19 Rosea (G. repens)
This delightful baby’s breath plant is low lying reaching a top height of 8 inches, and can spread as wide as 18 inches! It blooms in late spring to early summer and is known to have long-lasting flowers. Flowers are small, star-shaped, and soft pink. Blooms contrast nicely with the gray-green foliage and are produced en masse. This cultivar looks lovely in containers, beds, and borders of either coastal or rocky gardens!
~ image source: depositphotos/cristaldream