Gypsophila paniculata 'Bristol Fairy'
Common Name: baby's breath 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to August
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil

Culture

Grow in average, somewhat dry, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers alkaline soils (pH 7.0 to 7.5). Add lime to acidic soils. Soils must have good drainage. Plants may not survive winter in wet, poorly drained soils. Likes to be left undisturbed once established. Cut back or shear after flowering to promote rebloom. Hardy in Zones 3-9.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Gypsophila paniculata, commonly called baby's breath, is a herbaceous, taprooted perennial native to meadow steppes, woodland margins, and other open habitats on calcareous or sandy soils in Eurasia. Mature plants reach around 2-3' tall with a similar spread and take on a densely branched, rounded habit. The lanceolate foliage can reach around 2" long and 0.25" wide. Loose, highly branched panicles of small, white flowers bloom from summer into fall.

Genus name comes from the Greek gypos meaning "gypsum" and philos meaning "friendship" in reference to this plant’s preference for high pH soils.

Specific epithet refers to the flowers being arranged in panicles.

'Bristol Fairy' is a diffusely branched, mound-forming cultivar that features numerous, long-lasting, double white flowers (1/4" wide) in open, airy panicles on wiry, jointed stems in summer. Lance-shaped foliage is somewhat sparse.

Problems

Some susceptibility to botrytis and aster yellows. May need staking or other support. This plant has escaped cultivation and is considered invasive in parts of Australia, New Zealand, South America, Canada, and the United States. Check local laws and recommendations before adding this plant to your landscape.

Uses

Provides excellent contrast and texture to the perennial border. May be used as summer filler to cover areas once occupied by early spring wildflowers, bulbs or other plants which disappear into dormancy by early summer. Sprays of baby's breath flowers are frequently used as filler in bouquets and floral arrangements. The taproot was traditionally used as a soap.