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Trimming Baby’s Breath – Learn How To Prune Baby’s Breath Plants

Trimming Baby’s Breath – Learn How To Prune Baby’s Breath Plants


By: Mary Ellen Ellis

Gypsophila is a family of plants known commonly as baby’sbreath. The abundance of delicate little flowers makes it a popular borderor low hedge in the garden. You can grow baby’s breath as an annual or aperennial, depending on the variety chosen. Care is fairly easy, but a littleGypsophila pruning will help your plants grow healthier and bloom more.

Do I Need to Cut Back Baby’s Breath?

You don’t technically need to trim or prune your baby’sbreath plants, but it is recommended for a few reasons. One is that, by deadheading,you will keep your plants looking neat and tidy. This can be done for bothperennials and annuals.

Another good reason to cut back baby’s breath is toencourage another round of flowers. Heavier cut backs after the growing seasonwill keep plants trimmed and neat and will encourage new growth later inperennial varieties.

How to Prune Baby’s Breath

The best time for trimming baby’s breath is after theybloom. Most of these plants bloom in the spring and summer. They will benefitfrom deadheading as the flowers fade, as well as a complete cut back to allowthem to bloom again.

Baby’s breath plants have terminal flower sprays andsecondary sprays that grow to the sides. The terminal flowers will die first.Start deadheading those when about half of those blooms have faded. Prune theterminal sprays at the point just above where secondary sprays emerge. Next,when they’re ready, you’ll do the same for the secondary sprays.

You should see a new flushof flowers in summer or even in early fall if you do this pruning. But oncethe second blooming is finished, you can cut the plants way back. Trim all thestems down to about an inch (2.5 cm.) above the ground. If your variety isperennial, you should see healthy new growth in the spring.

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How to Grow Baby's Breath

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Baby's breath plants (Gypsophila spp.) have become somewhat of a cliché in floral arrangements. But they also can look lovely in the garden. There are more than 100 annual and perennial species within this genus with varying appearances. Some have a creeping growth habit, forming an attractive flowering ground cover. And others grow in more upright and contained mounds with extensive branching of their slender stems, giving the plants a light and airy feel. Their small, narrow leaves are gray-green to blue-green in color. In the summer, baby’s breath plants are covered in tiny, five-petaled, white or pink flowers that last several weeks. The blooms are known to attract butterflies and other pollinators. Baby’s breath should be planted in the spring after the danger of frost has passed. The plants have a fast growth rate.

Botanical Name Gypsophila
Common Names Baby's breath, maiden's breath
Plant Type Perennial, annual
Mature Size 2–3 feet tall and wide
Sun Exposure Full
Soil Type Well-drained
Soil pH Alkaline
Bloom Time Summer
Flower Color White, pink
Hardiness Zones 3–9 (USDA)
Native Area Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia
Toxicity Toxic to people and animals

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