Baby’s breath, or Gypsophila, has become the go-to in recent years for pretty floral simplicity. Not only do the tiny blooms provide lovely, delicate filler for more intricate floral arrangements and bouquets; but also for creating simple, country garden arrangements in and of themselves.
Without a doubt, and at first blush, it does seem_quite perfect in it’s beauty, simplicity and versatility. However, there’s more to these delicate tiny blooms than meets the eye.
Whilst growing in popularity among consumers, brides in particular, Gypsophila is growing increasingly less popular among florists. Due to its trendiness over the past several years, Baby’s Breath is considered overdone by the professionals that work with it. Contrary to its lovely name, the tiny flowers of wild varieties actually smell quite bad! The most common description of the odour is more like that of cat urine than the sweet, milky breath of an infant. Though, even that description isn’t exactly the aroma one wants infusing one of the most special days of our lives!
Looking for economy? Baby’s Breath won’t fit the bill!
There’s a common misconception as people look to Baby’s Breath to create their arrangements: as it’s such a simple and seemingly common option, it must be economical. Unfortunately, no. This may have been true at one time, but no longer. Growers have to put in significant time and effort to cultivate and grow the hybrid varieties that have no smell and have larger flowering blooms and the cost of these efforts are built into the overall pricing of Baby’s Breath when is it sold from the farms. Given the delicate intricacy of the plant, it’s messy to work with as well as time and labour intensive so when Floral Designers incorporate it into a larger bouquet or create the perfect orb of white loveliness in an exclusively Baby’s Breath arrangement, there are labour costs factored into the pricing. Pricing also takes into consideration where it’s sourced (local and, more often, foreign markets) and getting it to your local flower shop. Also, like other flowers, whether it is in season or not, will impact the final price.
The most common varieties from growers are: Million Star, the most common in everyday floral design; Excellence, common in wedding floral designs; and the largest of the three, Pearl Blossom. The cost may surprise you: Million Star, with its abundance of tiny blooms, ranges from $4 – 8 per stem most of the year; Excellence and Pearl Blossom range from $6 – $12 per stem most of the year. Yikes!
A note to anyone thinking they’ll simply pick their own wild Baby’s Breath to sidestep the cost. Beware! The wild plant has a heavy sickly sweet scent, and as mentioned above, reminiscent of cat pee!
Fortunately, if you’re looking for a delicate bloom to accent your bouquet or arrangement, there are a number of other beautiful ways to achieve the same result. Here are some examples of different ways to achieve that country chic, simple elegance or country garden look and feel without the use of Baby’s Breath:
Hellebores, White Double Petalled Lisianthus, Seeded Eucalyptus, and White Wax Flower
Hellebores. These flowers are in season in Canada from April through late May into June. Buttercup-like blooms are whimsical and delicate and the flowers come in beautiful colors and patterns, from soft-pink and mauve to deep purple, antique green, and even black. Many hellebore varieties also feature wonderful specks, splatters, swirls, and gradations in their centers, adding to their unique charm.
White Double Petalled Lisianthus. Lizzies look simply beautiful in bouquets! Often mistaken for roses, Lisianthus have paper thin, delicate petals and offer a light, airy feeling perfect for summer events. It’s a long-lasting flower available in a variety of colours from white and cream to lavender and purple.
White Wax Flower. These are a lovely and fragrant alternative to Baby’s Breath, offering the same light and delicate effect. These precious flowers provide the perfect filler with a wonderful citrus fragrance.
Seeded Eucalyptus. A popular varietal with unique and interesting little peppercorn seed pods that brides are falling for! Its pale green leaves matched with its seeded pods, create a rustic feel and blends nicely with vintage themes. Beautiful when combined with other delicate varieties as shown. Seeded Eucalyptus adds delicious texture and volume to any arrangement.
Piersis. Great as a filler or as a stand-alone bouquet, these pretty blooms resemble lily of the valley, with their small bell shapes. The Piersis is seasonal in Canada from April to late May into early June.
Structural and geometric in shape, they’re romantic and look beautiful spilling out of vases and urns, all the while perfect for a rustic or country garden aesthetic. Pieris is usually available in white, but sometimes you can find varieties with a soft-pink tint on the bloom.
White Limonium and Boxwood
Boxwood. Boxwood greens are a lively plant with each stem hosting many small, oval-shaped leaves. The leaves are waxy, with a rich, forest-green hue. Boxwood is a perfect greenery for classic, romantic events.
White Limonium. If you’re considering an alternative to traditional Baby’s Breath, and would like to add an abundant amount of texture to your bouquet or arrangement, consider these delicate little gems for filler. These wonderful blooms have several lush lateral stems that produce hundreds of papery blossoms. Beautiful for contemporary or rustic designs.
Daisy Spray Mum, Seeded Eucalyptus, and Boxwood
Daisy Spray Mum. This beautiful spray flower, meaning that they have more than one bloom on a single stem, makes for an ideal filler flower for bouquets and centerpieces. Use on its own or paired with your favourite focal flower to create a simply gorgeous statement.
White Carnations and Gunni Eucalyptus
White Carnations. A most quintessential flower in floral design, these beauties are incredibly versatile and their delicate flowers with rounded, frilly edges enhance any floral arrangement. They’re beautiful on their own or pair them perfectly with almost any flower or greenery.
Gunni Eucalyptus. Beautiful greenery that adds incredible texture and dimension to any bouquet or arrangement. This year-round plant easily creates a romantic or garden inspired theme.
White Daisy Mums and White Limonium
Queen Anne’s Lace and River Rock
Queen Anne’s Lace. So romantic! Beautiful and very light and delicate, Queen Anne’s Lace provides the perfect filler. A classic white flower, known for its umbrella-shaped head that adds just the right sparkle of interest to arrangements, these tiny white clusters of flowers add soft and delicate texture to your arrangements.
White Wax Flower and Madronna
Madronna. Another beautiful greenery that pairs wonderfully with any focal flower. Hardy, deep green and waxy, it also anchors beautifully a simple and delicate flower such as the White Wax Flower above.
Faux Hydrangea. If you’re looking for an arrangement that’s not only economical but will also last well beyond your special event, faux is the perfect alternative.
These fluffy, delicate balls of loveliness are hugely popular for special event bouquets and arrangements. Not only is this round bloom a showstopper on its own or mixed with other petals, it’s also wonderfully affordable! The blooms are comprised of clusters of tightly packed petals and are so versatile whether contemporary, formal, romantic English garden or rustic.
With countless varieties and colors of hydrangeas available, you can work with us to create a look you absolutely love.
If you’re still thinking Baby’s Breath is the way to go, consider the potential impact on the environment during your special event. Gypsophila is considered an invasive plant species in British Columbia (you may want to check this for Canada in General as I found an article about it being invasive in Sask and Alberta too)– an invasive herbaceous perennial plant that takes over grazing land and out-competes the native and introduced perennial grasses. Baby’s breath that mixes with hay reduces the protein value of the crop, making it less valuable for livestock and wildlife forage.
What many might not consider is that the seeds often continue to develop in floral arrangements, spreading easily as you enjoy the local landscape during your special day or event. Get this: a single plant can produce more than 10,000 seeds, and with the help of even a slight breeze, can travel quite a distance.
We hope this have given you some great ideas! Looking beyond the common Baby’s Breath, to other incredible flower options, so as to enjoy whimsical and beautiful arrangements that make an impact and are also cost effective.
Talk to us– we’re more than happy to work with you to create the memorable statement you’re after!