Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Known in the trade as gyp, baby’s breath has become a mainstay in floral design. It has certainly earned a place in arrangements. Whether used as a fresh or dried stem, this remains a favorite.
In recent years, a number of improved varieties of baby’s breath have become available. One of my favorites happens to be the pink (Gypsophila pacifica). This species can be grown as a hardy perennial in zones three through nine. It even does well in the South where some cool season cut flowers don’t thrive in cutting gardens.
Like the traditional white baby’s breath, the pink has many tiny, fluffy flower heads tightly packed on the stems. In this case, they’re a delightful pale pink.
Pink baby’s breath has expanded the color palette considerably for this popular flower. This makes an excellent everlasting. It has the same delicate foliage as the white.
When grown in a cutting garden, pink baby’s breath is over three feet tall. So, the stems are plenty long for use as a floral material.
Pink baby’s breath air dries just beautifully, which isn’t always the case with every kind of white baby’s breath. While the pink retains its original color when dried, I’ve had some whites that turned out to be unreliable. As they dried, they became an unattractive tan.
That is what led me to buy some dried white baby’s breath from a craft store. When I removed the protective plastic, I realized the flowers had been bleached. In fact, the odor of the bleaching agent was so unpleasant that I returned the flowers to the store for a refund.
Pink baby’s breath has the same vase life as the standard white—around a week or so. The delicate blooms make a perfect filler flower. They can also be used for boutonnieres and corsages.
If you’re growing your own pink or white baby’s breath, harvests stems when around three-fourths of the flower heads in a spray have opened.
For those starting their own plants from seeds, do not cover these when you sow them. They need light in order to germinate, which takes about ten days.
All of the baby’s breath varieties will bloom the very first year when grown from seeds.
There are several other kinds of pink or rose-colored baby’s breath available, including Garden Bride and the Gypsy Series. However, these plants are less than a foot in height, making them less suitable for any type of arrangement where you need taller stems.