Gypsophila aretioides
Common Name: baby's breath 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Native Range: Armenia, Iran, Turkmenistan
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.00 to 0.25 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil

Culture

Easily grown in somewhat dry, sandy-gritty, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers alkaline soils (pH7.0 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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Gypsophila aretioides, commonly known as alpine baby’s breath, is a low-growing, cushion-forming, evergreen perennial that is native to the Caucasus Mountains in northern Iran. Tiny, fleshy, oblong, gray-green leaves (to 1/4” long) form a dense foliage mat that only rises to 2-3” tall. Small, star-shaped, 5-petaled, white flowers bloom infrequently in June-July.

Although some species of baby’s breath serve as mainstay filler plants (fresh bouquets and floral arrangements) for the floral industry and are sometimes commercially grown for that purpose, the within alpine cultivar is a dwarf plant that in most cases is much too small for any commercial floral use.

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 means having similarity to plants in the genus Aretia.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to botrytis, aster yellows and stem rot.

Garden Uses

Perennial border fronts. Rock gardens. Stone walls. Alpine gardens.