Baby Breath commonly refers to plants from the Genus Gypsophila, a genus of flowering plants in the carnation family, Caryophyllaceae. Baby’s breath is also the common name for the specific well-known decorative plant from the genus, Gypsophila paniculata. The genus name Gypsophila comes from the Greek words gypsos, or gypsum, and philios, which means loving, and it is based on the gypsum-rich soils on which some species grow. Eurasia, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific Islands are their native habitats, but some Gypsophila species have also been introduced to different areas. Turkey features a highly diverse Gypsophila taxonomic collection, with approximately 35 native species.
Baby breath is widely used as ornaments and decorations, they are a little, fragile white flower that is typically used to fill in around larger blooms in bridal bouquets and cut flower arrangements. Baby breath is perfect for filler flowers because many dainty, cloud-like blossoms cover the branches of this popular flower. Although mostly known and used as filler flowers, the elegant snowy white blooms are also perfect to be featured in a bouquet as the main flower. Aside from floristry, few species are commercially grown for herbal medicine and food. Saponins from this species are employed in a variety of applications, including the manufacturing of photographic film and hemolytic laboratory reagents. They can be used in soap and shampoo because of their detergent properties.
Growing Baby Breath
Baby breath plants can be easily grown in your garden and will make a beautiful addition to decorate your garden. Growing Baby’s breath can be a rewarding hobby, especially if you sell it to florists and other professionals. You can also learn to dry the flowers and gift them to friends and families. This genus has around 100 annual and perennial plants with a wide range of looks. Some have a crawling growth tendency that produces a lovely floral ground cover. Others form tall, enclosed mounds with abundant branching of their slender stems, giving the plants a bright, airy appearance.
Flower shapes range from slack thyrses or panicles to cymes and racemes. The calyx of the tiny blooms is cup-shaped, and the sepals are made up of five petals. They have capsule-shaped fruit with many seeds that resemble little kidneys. Baby’s breath flowers come in a variety of colours, including pink, rose, and white, and can have single or double blossoms. Because double flowering Baby’s breath plants have been grafted, avoid cutting above the graft union. Their tiny, narrow leaves range in colour from greyish green to blue-green. Butterflies and other pollinators are found to be drawn to the blooms.
Baby breath flowers can be grown in the garden from seeds, cuttings, or tissue cultivated plants. The plants can reach about 2 meters in height and a width of 30-50 cm. The plants develop at a rapid pace and is generally requires little maintenance. Plant them in a location with plenty of light and good soil drainage, and they will almost look after themselves. Furthermore, they rarely suffer major pest or disease problems. Baby breath grows best in broad light, but it will tolerate some shade. Too much shade, however, will result in leggy plants and poor flowering.
Baby breath prefers alkaline, rich soil, and the soil should be well-draining. Wet clay soil does not operate as well as sandy soil. Try planting Baby breath in raised garden beds or containers if your soil is heavy. If your Baby breath plant is not doing well, conduct a soil test to evaluate the alkalinity of the soil. If your soil is acidic, add garden lime to balance it out. These plants prefer a dry climate to one that is humid. So, if you have a lot of humidity, make sure your plant has good soil drainage and is not too moist. Within its growth zones, Baby breath can withstand a wide range of temperatures. Some varieties are more tolerant of cold than others.
Baby breath requires little water and thrives in dry soil. In fact, overwatering can cause root damages. Typically, you will only need to water during dry seasons and nourish once a year. Simply put some compost into the planting spot each spring to promote healthy growth and abundant blooms. For young plants, keep the soil damp but not wet. When your plants reach maturity, you may need to supply them with support, such as garden stakes, to keep the thin stems from falling over. This plant does not require deadheading or removing wasted blooms. However, they can benefit from a minor pruning after flowering to help retain their shape and possibly induce another bloom.
Furthermore, it can be mildly toxic both to people and animals through ingesting or skin contact. It may not cause a reaction for everyone, some are more sensitive to it than others. Some people and animals may get itching, redness, or a rash as a result of skin contact. They may also have allergy-like symptoms such as itchy eyes and sneezing. If baby breath is consumed, it might trigger moderate digestive problems such as diarrhoea and vomiting. It is because the plant is generally self-sustaining and grows rapidly, it is regarded as a harmful weed in some parts of the United States and Canada. It is advised to investigate if a plant is invasive in your area before growing it in your garden.
Drying Baby’s Breath
Dried baby breath flowers are so beautiful, and you can learn how to dry them in a few simple steps. Choose branches from baby breath plant with only half of the flowers in bloom and the rest as buds. Stems with browning blossoms should not be used. Under warm running water, re-cut Baby’s breath stems. Then, using twine or a rubber band, tie five to seven stems together. In a dark, warm, and well-ventilated room, hang this upside down. After five days, check on the dried flowers. Flowers are ready for use in a dry arrangement when they feel papery to the touch. Allow more time if they do not have the papery feel after five days, inspecting every couple of days.