GYPSOPHILA Baby’s Breath

Gypsophila provides a welcome relief from the large-flowering colourful varieties in the herbaceous border – from the untidy collection of thin stems and greyish green grassy leaves arise the loose clusters of small flowers. White or pale pink, these blooms form a billowy cloud – hence the common name. Alkaline soil is necessary; add lime if your land is acid. Deep soil is another requirement and Gypsophila should not be divided or transplanted once it is established. Provide support for the lax stems and cut some of the flowers for indoor decoration. Cut the shoots down to ground level in autumn.

VARIETIES: G. paniculata is the border species and the standard choice is ‘Bristol Fairy’ – height 3 ft. Spacing 3 ft. blooming period June-August Its flowers are white and double, but white is not the only Gypsophila colour. ‘Rosy Veil’ is widely available – a compact 1 ft variety which produces double blooms, white at first but turning pink with maturity

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained non-acid garden soil will do – thrives in sun or light shade.

PROPAGATION: Buy Bristol Fairy’ from your local shop or nursery – seed sown in spring under glass will not all breed true. Plant cuttings in a cold frame in summer.

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