Baby’s breath

Baby’s breath

Fact Sheet


Latin Name: Gypsophila paniculata

Origin:  Eurasia

Physical Description: It is a perennial herb from a thick woody root. The root can extent 4m into the ground. It has greenish-grey stems that are branched near the crown and swollen at the notes. It can grow up to 1m tall. The leaves grow from the nodes, are lance shaped and opposite. The white flowers have 5 petals with numerous flowers brine on short stalks.

Habitat: It grows best in coarse alkaline soils. It requires full sun and is adapted to arid climates. It is drought tolerant once established. This plant was introduced as an ornamental plant that has since escaped cultivation. It is often found in gardens, homesteads, cemeteries, vacant lots, pastures, grasslands, railways, and ditches.

Impacts: It can outcompete native species reducing biodiversity and native plants. In pastures and rangelands, it competes with forage species and decreases hay forage quality.

Reproduction:  It reproduces by seed only. A single plant can produce on average 14,000 seeds.  Seeds can remain viable in the soil for 1 to 2 years. In fall and winter, plants can break off the stem and form tumble weeds, spreading seeds.

Management Options

Mechanical: Hand pulling and digging may be effective when plants are immature. Once a deep tap root is formed, hand pulling may be more difficult and less effective. For mature plants, cutting the stem below the root crown, which may be up to 0.3m below the surface, is most effective. This will prevent re-growth from the root crown. Mowing can prevent seed production but is not an effective control method as plants will re-sprout.

Chemical: Chemical: Several herbicides with the following active ingredients can control Baby’s breathy: 2,4-D, Aminopyralid, Metsulfuron, Dicamba, Glyphosate, Cholrsulfuron, and Imazapic,   For available products, contact your local agri-supply store. Prior to any herbicide application, read and follow the label instructions.

Biological: None available.

Additional Resources:

Alberta Invasive Species Council’s Baby’s Breath Factsheet

Invasive Species Council of BC’s Grow Me Instead Brochure


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