Baby’s Breath Pest Identification And Treatment:

Gypsophila plant is one of the most common plants in your garden. It grows in moist soil with low humidity. Its leaves are yellowish green, and its flowers are white or pinkish-red.

They have five petals, each with two stamens; they grow from a single stem which may reach up to three feet high. Their seeds are round, oval, or ovate.

The adult gypsophila plant is very small (about 1/8 inch) and usually only grows in clusters of two or three. When it blooms, the flower cluster contains many tiny white or pink flowers that resemble miniature sunflowers. The whole cluster looks like a mini sunflower!

The young plants look similar to the mature plants but smaller than a dime.

It is not uncommon for gypsophila plants to form colonies. These colonies are called “babies” because they develop inside the mother plant and feed off her nutrients. If left alone, these babies will eventually die out if their environment becomes too dry.

However, when disturbed, they quickly become aggressive pests that attack other plants in the area. The adults do not bite humans or animals, but they can cause skin irritation and respiratory problems such as asthma attacks.

Common names

baby’s breath, madroot, wild cabbage, maiden hair, graveyard flowers, storksbill, our lady’s flannel

Scientific name

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Baby’s breath is classified under the genus gypsophila; there are about 30 species of baby’s breath altogether. The most common is Gypsophila paniculata . Others include G.

elegans and G. mussinii.

Origin

Baby’s breath is native to the Mediterranean region and Western Asia.

Plant type

Baby’s breath is considered an herbaceous perennial because it produces flowers and foliage over a long period of time, not just in spring or summer.

Description

The baby’s breath plant consists of grass-like leaves that resemble blades of wheat. They grow in clumps and may reach up to 3 feet in height and spread out. The flower grows in clusters at the top of the plant and may be white, pink or red.

The size of each flower is small, with five petals that appear to be fringed at the edges.

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Baby’s breath does not have a strong smell, but some describe its scent as a sweet, musky fragrance. It blooms from early spring through fall.

Uses

Gypsophila plants have been used for hundreds of years in weddings. Baby’s breath is incorporated into wedding bouquets and centerpieces to add a pop of white color. It is also an ingredient in certain cake recipes.

It has medicinal purposes as well, with dried baby’s breath flowers used to relieve chest congestion, anxiety and depression.

Environmental impact

Like most plants, baby’s breath absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen through photosynthesis. It is also classified as an invasive species, which means it has the ability to grow and spread rapidly. It affects native plants by competing with them for resources.

Because it spreads so quickly, gardeners should be careful not to let baby’s breath escape into the wild.

Growing environment

Baby’s breath does best in full sun and well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. The soil should be kept moist at all times but never soggy. It should be planted in an area protected from heavy winds.

Planting instructions

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If growing from seed, start the seeds indoors six to eight weeks before your last frost date. Cover the seeds with a light layer of soil and keep the soil moist but not wet. Germination should occur in one to four weeks.

Transplant your seedlings to individual pots once they have developed their first set of true leaves. Transplant them again to your garden once the soil has warmed. Space the plants about 12 inches apart.

Baby’s breath can also be propagated by division. Divide the plant in the spring or fall. Each division should have at least three roots and some stem.

Plant the divisions with the root base just below the soil and the top of the root ball level with the soil surface. Space the divisions 12 inches apart.

If you are propagating by stem cuttings, the cuttings should be between 4 and 8 inches long with several nodes and leaves. Remove the leaves from the lower two nodes. Insert the cuttings into pots of moist sand, rooting hormone may be applied to the cut end.

Keep the cuttings in a warm, shaded location until they develop roots, then transplant them to individual pots and plant them out after danger of frost has passed.

Sources & references used in this article:

Insect assemblages associated with the exotic riparian shrub Russian olive (Elaeagnaceae), and co-occurring native shrubs in British Columbia, Canada by LKD Collette, J Pither – The Canadian Entomologist, 2016 – cambridge.org

… of remote sensing of invasive weeds and example of the early detection of spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) and babysbreath (Gypsophila paniculata) with a … by LW Lass, TS Prather, NF Glenn, KT Weber, JT Mundt… – Weed Science, 2005 – BioOne

Genetic modification; the development of transgenic ornamental plant varieties by LA Topliff, KN Pinkston, SL von Broembsen… – … . okstate. edu/factsheets/f …, 2006

Economic importance of Gypsophila L., Ankyropetalum Fenzl and Saponaria L. (Caryophyllaceae) taxa of Turkey by SF Chandler, C Sanchez – Plant biotechnology journal, 2012 – Wiley Online Library

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