Baby's breath (Gypsophila paniculata)

Baby’s breath

Gypsophila paniculata

Description

  • Herbaceous perennial
  • Delicate blossoms of white and sometimes pink, with bushy stalks
  • Opposite branching pattern, can grow up to 1m tall
  • Establishes in well-drained soils, like sand or gravel

Consequences of invasion

  • When mixed with hay, the protein value of the crop diminishes, therefore less valuable to livestock or wildlife.
  • Outcompetes native and introduced grasses
    Don’t let your hayfield get infested with Baby’s Breath, it will cost you!

Introduction and Spread

  • Native to Eastern Europe & Western Asia. It’s likely that it was introduced as an ornamental plant
  • Produces an enormous amount of seeds and while tumbling in the wind, disperses them
  • Used ornamentally in flower arrangements, allowing seeds to spread
  • Deep root system over-stabilizes the soil and out-competes native species

Integrated Pest Management Options

Prevention

  • Be conscious when buying flower arrangements.
  • Be PlantWise and check wildflower mixes before planting.
  • Clean equipment and gear before leaving an infested site.
  • Dispose invasive species properly at designated disposal sites.

Mechanical

  • Mow to reduce seed production, although not always effective with Baby’s breath.
  • Baby’s breath is hard to pull due to it’s deep taproot system, cut the root below the ground surface to prevent re-sprouting.

Biological

  • No biocontrol currently available in BC.

Chemical

  • Non-specific chemical control is available, in accordance with herbicide labeling details, consult a professional.

Additional Resources:

ISCBC Baby’s Breath