How To Grow Showy Baby's-breath (Gypsophila elegans) In Your Garden

Gypsophila elegans, widely known as Showy Baby's Breath, is an annual herbaceous plant native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa.

It is beloved for its clouds of tiny, delicate white or pink flowers that bloom from late spring to early summer.

These blooms sit atop slender, branching stems, providing an airy, ethereal quality to the plant. This member of the Gypsophila plant genus typically reaches a height and spread of about one to two feet (30 to 60 cm).

Gypsophila elegans flower
Gypsophila elegans photograph by 阿橋 HQ; CC.

Gardeners have a particular fondness for Gypsophila elegans due to its versatility and ethereal beauty. The plant works wonderfully as a filler in garden borders and is also a popular choice for cut flowers and dried flower arrangements.

It thrives in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9 and RHS zones H6 to H1C, fitting comfortably into a variety of garden types. The plant self-seeds but is not generally considered invasive.

How to grow Gypsophila elegans in the garden

Baby's Breath prefers full sun exposure and thrives in well-drained soil. Although it can tolerate a range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, or chalky soils, it has a particular preference for alkaline conditions.

Spring is the best time to sow Gypsophila elegans seeds, and they can be directly sown into your garden after the last frost. If starting indoors, aim to begin about six to eight weeks before the last spring frost date.

Transplant the seedlings outdoors after they have developed their first set of true leaves and all danger of frost has passed.

Showy baby's-breath
Showy baby's-breath image by jam343; CC.

This plant has low water requirements, fitting its drought-tolerant nature. Watering should be done deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.

Although Gypsophila elegans is generally pest-free, it can occasionally be affected by root rot if the soil is too wet. By ensuring proper drainage and not overwatering, you can help prevent this issue.

With proper care, Baby's Breath will reward you with its profuse, delicate blooms, adding a charming, dreamy touch to your garden.

Quick Gypsophila elegans Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Gypsophila elegans

Common Name(s): Baby's Breath, Showy Baby's Breath, Annual Gypsophila

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 3-9 RHS Hardiness Rating: H6 (-20°C to -15°C)

Best Used For / Garden Location: Ideal for cut flower gardens, rock gardens, borders, or cottage gardens. Prefers a sunny location.

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Annual herb

Plant Height: 1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 meters)

Plant Spread: 1-1.5 feet (0.3-0.5 meters)

Blooms: Early summer to early fall

Flower Details: Small, star-like, white or pink flowers

Leaf Foliage: Blue-green, lanceolate leaves

Fruit: Small, rounded, dry seed pods

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Full sun

Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained, alkaline soil

Sowing / planting: Direct sow seeds in the garden in spring or fall.

Germination time: 10-14 days at 70°F (21°C).

Propagation: By seed.

Plant Care: Water regularly but do not overwater. Tolerant of dry conditions once established.

Growing in pots and containers: Suitable for containers but needs well-draining soil.

Growing as a Houseplant: Not typically grown as a houseplant due to its preference for outdoor conditions.

Further Information

Miscellaneous: Attracts butterflies and bees. Tolerant of deer and drought. Can become invasive due to self-seeding if not managed.

Pests and diseases: Generally pest-free, but watch for aphids and root rot.

Common Cultivars / Varieties: Gypsophila elegans 'Covent Garden' is a popular variety known for its profuse white blooms.

Family: Caryophyllaceae, the Pink or Carnation family.

Native: Central and Eastern Europe.

References and Further Reading: Royal Horticultural Society – Annual Baby's Breath; Missouri Botanical Garden – Gypsophila elegans 'Bristol Fairy'; The Jepson Herbarium.

Common Questions

Does Gypsophila elegans make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Gypsophila elegans makes an excellent garden plant. It's valued for its delicate, cloud-like clusters of tiny white flowers, making it a beautiful filler in garden beds or bouquets.

Is Showy Baby's Breath a fragrant plant?

Showy Baby's Breath isn't typically known for its fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow it?

Gypsophila plants prefer full sun locations with well-drained, alkaline soil. It's tolerant of dry and poor soil conditions, making it a good choice for more challenging locations.

Is Gypsophila elegans invasive in the USA?

Gypsophila elegans is not generally considered invasive in the USA. However, it's a prolific self-seeder, so you should monitor its growth to prevent unwanted spread.

How do I remove these plants from my garden?

To remove Gypsophila elegans, dig up the entire plant, including the root system. Since it self-seeds readily, also remove any seedlings or seeds in the surrounding area.


Gypsophila elegans displays delicate annual flowers that are commonly used in floral arrangements. Plant in well-draining soil in full sun. Water regularly but avoid overwatering.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Gypsophila elegans. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Carnations, Campion, and Tunica plants in the garden.

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