Thursday, February 2, 2012

Baby's Breath

Gysophila

Gysophila bicolor
Very similar to G. paniculata, this taprooted, densely-branched perennial, reaches up to 3.3 feet in height. It is native from the Caucasus to central Asia; south to northern Turkey to Iran.
The lance-shaped leaves, up to 2.3 x 0.5 inches in size, are blue-green.
The very abundant white flowers are borne during late spring.
Hardy zones 6 to 8 ( 5 on protected sites ) in full sun on very well drained soil. It is very drought tolerant.

Gysophila cerastioides
A low, clumping perennial, reaching up to 16 inches x 2 feet.
It makes a great plant for the rock garden.
The leaves, up to 2 inches in length, are downy gray-green. The foliage is evergreen in mild climates.
The pure white flowers, up to 0.6 inches wide, are purple veined. They appear during early summer.
Hardy zones 3 to 7 in full sun.

* historical archive photo


Gysophila fastigiata 'Silverstar'
An upright but dwarf perennial, reaching only 1 foot in height. It is great for edging and containers.
The abundant, fragrant, tiny, white flowers are borne during late summer.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 in full sun on very well drained soil.

Gysophila paniculata ( Baby's Breath )
A deep taprooted, mounding perennial, reaching a maximum size of 5 x 4 feet, that is native from southern and eastern Europe; east to central Asia.
The lance-shaped leaves, up to 4 x 0.2 inches in size, are blue-green.
The very small, single, white flowers, up to 0.2 inches across, are borne on very large, airy panicles, up to 10 inches in length. The flowers are borne during early to mid summer, often repeating during autumn if cut back immediately after the first bloom. They are often cut, dried and used for floral arrangments.
Hardy zones 2 to 7 in full sun on alkaline, light, well drained soil. It is extremely cold hardy, thriving as far north as Grande Prairie, Alberta and The Pas, Manitoba. Thrives on alkaline soil, it does not like cold wet soil. Baby's Breath does not like root disturbance once established. Slugs will sometimes feed on plants. Propagation is from seed, or semi-ripe cuttings for cultivars.

* photo of unknown internet source

* photo taken on June 8 2012 in Ellicott City, MD

* photos taken on Aug 4 2013 in Bayfield, Ontario

* historic archive photo


'Compacta Plena'
Compact and dwarf in habit, reaching a maximum height of 2 feet.
The double flowers are white.

'Flamingo'
Vigorous with double, pale pink flowers; otherwise identical to species.

'Perfecta'
Vigorous, reaching a maximum size of 5 x 4 feet, with double white flowers borne all summer long.

'Pink Fairy'
Forms a mound up to 3 x 3 feet, with double pink flowers borne all summer long.

'Red Sea'
Reaches up to 4 feet in height, with double rose-pink flowers.

'Rosy Veil'
Reaches up to 1.3 x 3 feet, with blue-green foliage and pale pink flowers.
Hardy zones 4 to 9.

'Viette's Dwarf'
Compact in habit, reaching up to 3 x 3.8 ( rarely over 1.5 ) feet, with sprays of flowers that are pink fading to white.

Gysophila repens ( Creeping Baby's Breath )
A mat-forming perennial, reaching a maximum size of 1.3 x 4 ( rarely over 1 ) feet. It is fast growing and can form a large mat in just 2 years. It looks great cascading over a rock wall. It is native to mountains in central and southern Europe.
The narrow, semi-evergreen foliage is blue-green.
The white flowers are borne over a long season during mid-summer to early autumn.
Hardy zones 3 to 7 in full sun on slightly acidic to alkaline, light, well drained soil. It is very drought tolerant. Shearing back immediately after initial bloom encourages rebloom.

'Alba'
White flowers.

'Rosea'
Pink flowers, otherwise identical.

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