Baby's Breath

Carithers Flowers Design Favorite

Baby’s Breath is a perennial herb. Its botanical name means "lover of chalk", which is accurate in describing the type of soil in which this plant grows. It grows between 15 cm and 90 cm in height with many multi-branch ascending stems. Baby's Breath is a sharp point lance type leaf that includes a gorgeous bloom with hairs on the top and bottom side of the leaf. Its stems are wire-like. Baby's breath has an inflorescence of white flowers, and the seeds are black and 1.5-2.0 mm long.

The flower was probably first introduced in Northern America in the late 1800’s as a garden ornamental and is now widespread in Canada and the northern United States. Baby’s Breath has several beneficial uses. The flower industry uses it extensively in bouquets and as an ornamental, and its root is used in Europe for its saponin properties. Baby’s Breath is actually considered a weed problem in some parts of the country, however, when blended into a floral design it magically transforms into a gorgeous design element. It's truly ironic to think that something so beautiful is also considered a delicacy for our nations livestock hears! The lifespan of baby’s breath is unknown, though most mature plants are probably long-lived. The method of reproduction is also unknown, but cross-pollination is suspected by its floral structure. A single plant can contain 13,700 seeds and wind disperses these seeds for reproduction. The plant is also durable as it can withstand considerable variation in moisture, temperature and soil conditions. Being an adventive species, it grows most aggressively in areas of low rainfall. At maturity the plant has a thick, deep penetrating root system, allowing it to survive in arid conditions.

Growing Recommendations - Baby's Breath

To sow baby’s breath seeds outdoors, cover the seeds in early spring or fall, spacing 16 to 48 in apart (40-120 cm). The tiny seeds germinate in ten to fifteen days, and can grow rapidly up to 50 cm in height. Baby's Breath prefers direct sun and grows best in good rich soil. Once planted you should fertilize on a regular basis to ensure superior growth. Flowers bloom in late spring through summer, and cuttings may be taken at the start of summer. For continuous bloom, plant the seeds in succession every two to three weeks. It is fairly easy to look after Baby breath flowers. Once they have finished blooming, cut back the stems; this should result in a further bloom. If you want more plants, then propagate perennial Baby’s breath by taking cuttings at the start of summer. Insect and disease problems are not too common. If they do occur, treat early with organic or chemical insect repellents and fungicide.

Photos of Baby's Breath

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