Gypsophila paniculata

Gypsophila Paniculata and its double form, fore pleno, are very popular and can be raised by sowing seed in the spring. Trays of sandy soil or John Innes compost in gentle heat provide a suitable medium for sowing, or cold frames can be used from late April to the end of May.

Normally, only a proportion of the doubles produce plants true to type, so that it often pays to take root cuttings, a method of propagating many perennials which seems to be almost ignored by present-day gardeners. Short stem cuttings can also be used. Whichever method is adopted the cuttings should be trimmed to between and 2 in. in length and inserted in a cold frame having a good surface depth of silver sand. Keep this sand moist and the lights shaded, and regularly look over the cuttings, removing any that show traces of damping off.

Gypsophila paniculata

‘Bristol Fairy’ is perhaps the most popular and widely grown of all gypsophilas. It is largely used for bunching with other flowers. This variety does not produce seed, so must be propagated vegetatively. The usual method is to graft ‘Bristol Fairy’ in the spring on to the root-stock of the single. For this purpose the roots to serve as scions and stocks should be lifted in the autumn and kept in soil in the cold greenhouse for winter protection. After the cuttings required have been secured in the spring, these plants can be put outside again.

Several other varieties of gypsophila can be grown for cutting, especially ‘Flamingo’, rosy-pink, 3-4 ft, and ‘Rosy Veil’, 15-18 in. Neither of these require grafting.

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