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Baby’s Breath

Species
Gypsophila paniculata

Baby’s breath is a drought-tolerant and cold tolerant herbaceous perennial introduced as a garden ornamental in the late 1800’s from Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The plant has tiny, delicate, white to sometimes pink flowers in clusters on many-branched (bushy), erect flower stalks. 

How does it spread?
Baby’s breath spreads primarily by seed. A mature plant can annually produce thousands of seeds that are viable in the soil up to 2 years. Seeds are distributed over great distances when the stalk breaks off at ground level and the plant tumbles across the landscape. Spread also occurs by humans through direct planting, disposal or activities.

Where would I find it?
Baby’s breath thrives in arid climates with full sun and prefers well-drained, coarse, alkaline soils. It is often seen growing along roadsides and in grasslands, pastures, rangeland, ditches and vacant lots as well as near cemeteries, homesteads and residential areas.

What problems does it cause?
Once established, baby’s breath can form dense, monoculture stands that are difficult to control. The deep roots allow it to access and use up groundwater and nutrients, which helps it to out-compete native species and introduced grasses. The seeds often infest hay crops, reducing crude protein content and impacting the value of livestock and wildlife forage quality. 

Additional Recommendations

  • Fernleaf Yarrow (Achillea filipendula) (z3)
  • German Statice (Goniolimon tataricum) (z4)

A provincial initiative coordinated by ISCBC

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