Gypsophila paniculata 'Danfestar' FESTIVAL STAR

Common Name: baby's breath 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.25 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to August
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Grow in average, somewhat dry, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers slightly alkaline soils (pH 7.3-7.5) but will tolerate a range of soil pH levels from neutral to moderately alkaline (7.0-8.0). Add lime to acidic soils. Soils must have good drainage. Plants may not survive winter in wet, poorly drained soils. Avoid root disturbance or transplanting 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 the calcareous soils plants in this genus are commonly found growing on in the wild. Gypsum is a source of calcium ions and will not raise pH if used as a soil amendment. Liming agents must be used to raise soil pH.

Specific epithet refers to the flowers being arranged in panicles.

'Danfestar' is a compact, floriferous selection of baby's breath that features a mounding, densely branched growth habit and long bloom season. Mature plants will reach 1-1.5' tall and 1.25-2' wide. Airy plumes of small, semi-double, white flowers bloom from late spring through summer. Often sold at nurseries and garden centers under the name FESTIVAL STAR. This plant is protected by patent number PP14818.

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. Deer tend to avoid this plant.

The compact habit of 'Danfestar' makes it less likely to require staking.

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.