Common Names: Baby's Breath, Gypsophila, Gyp
Botanical names: Gypsophila, (jip-SOF-i-la)
Availability: Year round
Vase life: 5 to 7 days
Storage temperatures: 36 - 38 degrees Fahrenheit
Ethylene Sensitive: Yes, very sensitive
Description: Bunches of complex branches filled with dozens of tiny white florets.
Color: White. Pink is available but uncommon.
Botanical facts: The name Gypsophila comes from the Greek for "gypsum-loving" in reference to the plant's favoring of high-calcium soils.
Design notes: Baby's Breath is a very popular (and sometimes overused) filler flower. Small clusters of blossoms also work well in wedding and corsage design.
Purchasing hints: Purchase bunches that are filled with open florets and closed buds. One half of the florets should be open. Avoid bunches with blossoms that are showing any signs of browning. There is a wonderful new species of Baby's Breath on the market called "Million Stars" (elagans paniculata) which is leading a renewed popularity of Baby's Breath.
Conditioning: Remove all foliage that will be below the waterline. Cut with a sharp knife. Hydrate in a solution of water and commercial floral preservative / floral food for two hours before storage or usage. To speed the opening of blossoms, pour one gallon of boiling water into a one-gallon storage bucket, add two tablespoons of bleach. Then place the stem ends of the Baby's Breath into the hot bleach-water solution. You will be able to actually watch and hear the florets pop open like miniature popcorn.
Additional notes: Baby's Breath can be a very hardy, long lasting filler flower. However, it is very sensitive to ethylene, water stress and botrytis. Make sure that storage buckets are clean and always use a commercial floral preservative / floral food containing a fungicide. Baby's Breath needs to be stored in high relative humidity to avoid stem desiccation. Do not mist Baby's Breath as this may cause blossom browning. Baby's Breath does dry easily and well. However, drying Baby's Breath generates very high levels of ethylene gas. Dry Baby's Breath in a well ventilated area, away from other flowers.