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

Introduction and spread

  • Native to Eastern Europe and 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

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!

Status in the CKISS region

  • Baby’s breath is present in limited distribution in some parts of the CKISS region.
  • It is currently classified as Eradicate/Annual Control on the CKISS Annual Priority List.
  • There are a few Invasive Plant Management Areas (IPMAs) where this species has not been found. It is classified as Regional EDRR for those IPMAs.
  • CKISS is taking steps to monitor and manage this species.
  • To learn more about how CKISS classifies and manages invasive species, see our Invasive Species Priority Lists page.

Integrated pest management options

Prevention

  • Be conscious when buying flower arrangements.
  • Be PlantWise and check wildflower mixes before planting. Use the Grow Me Instead on line resource to choose non-invasive plants for your garden.
  • 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