Everyone knows gypsophila from tied bouquets. The combination with gypsophila is a bestseller, especially for rose bouquets. However, the plant is rarely seen in gardens, which is surprising because it is really pretty to look at. In addition, gypsophila has a lightness that is suitable for all bed neighbors. The gypsophila is also called paniculate gypsophila. In any case, it belongs to the carnation family. It is called gypsum herb because it particularly likes to grow on gypsum rock.

Blooming perennial

What is remarkable about Gypsophila paniculata is of course the many flowers. These are small, but due to the large number this is not a problem at all. The flowers are mostly white, but there are also pink flowering gypsophila. The paniculate gypsophila can reach a height of 50 to 90 cm, sometimes even higher. A beet-like, thickened root is formed underground, which can be as much as 2.5 meters long. In the past, these roots were used to make soap because they contain a lot of saponin. In addition, the gypsophila was used in earlier centuries as a medicinal plant, for urination, to promote coughing up mucus in the nose and throat. Extracts from the plant were or are still used today.

Gypsophila originally comes from the Canadian Rocky Mountains and is now at home from Eastern Europe to Western Siberia. It is mostly planted, but it also goes wild in some places. The plant especially likes to grow in sandy steppes and on sandy hills. We also know the creeping gypsophila or carpet gypsophila (Gypsophila repens), which is at home in the Alps and the Pyrenees. Both plants like very different growing conditions.

The gypsophila fits very well in cottage gardens, rose gardens and natural gardens. One should tie up the taller growing species and cultivars as they tend to fall apart.

Danger. Gypsophila is said to be slightly poisonous. But I didn’t find out more details. Anyway, the pet pages say it’s poisonous all over the place. At the same time, many cat owners report that their cats have eaten some, but are fine. I would be careful, even with children.

Varieties of Gypsophila

  • Gypsophila paniculata ‘Festival Star’ – often offered as a pot gypsophila, white flowers, height of growth about 40 cm, flowers from May, good for containers
  • Gypsophila paniculata ‘Flamingo’ – large, double pink flowers, up to 120 cm high, flowers June to August, grows with many branches
  • Gypsophila repens ‘Rosea’ – soft pink, up to 25 cm high, flowers May to July
  • Gypsophila repens ‘Letchworth’ – pink-red flowers, spreading, only 10 cm high, flowering May to July
  • Gypsophila repens ‘Compacta Plena’ – large, white, double flowers, only 20 cm high, ideal for rock gardens, very dense growth
  • Gypsophila repens ‘Rosenveil’ – delicate pink double flowers, only 10 cm high, very long-flowering variety
  • Gypsophila paniculata ‘Bristol Fairy’ – double white variety, most commonly offered, large flowers, 90 to 100 cm high, flowering from the end of June
  • Gypsophila aretioides – white flowers, makes hard, flat (only 5 cm high), white cushions, for sunny wall crevices, put several plants together
  • Gypsophila pacifica – white, very large flowers, up to 100 cm high, especially suitable for cold areas, thrives almost anywhere
  • Gypsophila elegans – annual variety, pink or white flowers, 30 to 50 cm high, rich blooms, popular cut and dried flowers

The care of gypsophila

The most important thing in the care is that the gypsophila is kept quite dry. This is often not so easy to do. A little trick can help. You plant the gypsophila on a small hill. In this way, excess water can run off better and there is also a much better chance of being in the vicinity of plants that need more water. Otherwise you hardly have to take care of the plant. A cut back after flowering often produces a second bloom, otherwise Gypsophila will do on its own. You only have to water when it is absolutely dry, you can fertilize completely, pruning is not much work and the plant is actually hardy. However, there are also annual varieties. Then they don’t drive out again. For everyone else, it is advisable to cover them well in winter,


The location must be warm and sunny and as dry as possible. Gypsophila does not like wetness at all. The higher species are also not favorable to the wind. They are thankful for a wind-protected place. Otherwise it can happen that the herbaceous, quite densely growing plant becomes very tattered and no longer looks beautiful.

  • Spiky Gypsophila – dry location in full sun
  • Especially dry in winter.
  • A wind-protected location is favourable.
  • Carpet Gypsophila – also very dry, like on a wall or in cracks
  • Ideal for the rock garden

plant substrate

It is also important for the plant substrate that it is quite dry. Sandy soil is ideal. Gypsophila also thrives on scree, gravel and really uncomfortable ground. Wetness is not tolerated.

  • The panicled gypsophila loves dry, light but deep, sandy soil
  • On damp floors, it disappears within a very short time.
  • The creeping gypsophila loves stone joints and wall crowns. It is also quite a good ground cover.
  • Necessarily nutrient-poor soil. From this point of view, the gypsophila does not go so well with flowering perennials. They usually like nutrient-rich soil or fertilizer.
  • Important: do not put peat or organic substances in the bed. Compost is also harmful to plants.
  • A slightly calcareous substrate is recommended.


When planting, remember that in ideal conditions, gypsophila can spread widely, both in height and above all in width. The carpet gypsophila is not so great with growth in height, but it grows very strongly to the sides. Plants can be planted all year round except when there is frost, with spring being the most suitable time. Small species of gypsophila are also suitable as container plants.

  • Loosen the soil before planting
  • Water the plant balls abundantly, ideally place them in water until no more air bubbles rise.
  • Iris, larkspur, bluebells, monkshood or coneflower are recommended as good partners for gypsophila, but these are almost all species that need plenty of water. I don’t think they fit that well.
  • I would recommend sempervivum and sedum species, fat hens and such plants. The spur flower needs absolutely little water and is available in red and white.
  • Lavender is known for not requiring a lot of water, as is sage. Some cranesbills also cope well with drought.
  • Geraniums/pelargoniums come from South Africa and don’t get much water there either. However, they only tolerate it if they are planted out in the garden.
  • There are of course other suitable plants. You just have to look for those that don’t require a lot of water, nor need fertilizer.
  • The Tall Species should be tied to keep them from falling apart.

watering and fertilizing

Both types have to be watered very little. However, the plants cannot do without water during a long drought. Most of the time, however, the amount of rain is sufficient. Fertilizing is also not required. On the contrary, fertilizer is harmful. The chapter is completed very quickly.

To cut

The gypsophila does not need to be cut much. In the fall you cut off a hand completely above the ground and that’s it. However, it is possible to prolong flowering or to promote renewed flowering. It’s often not that plentiful, but still nice.

  • Prune back when the first bloom fades or is almost over.
  • Cutting back after flowering will encourage a second bloom.
  • Cut off wilted flower spikes to just above the foliage


Gypsophila is considered hardy. Nevertheless, the plants often no longer sprout in spring. This is rarely due to too low temperatures in winter, but mostly to too much moisture. It therefore makes sense to cover the plants with a thick layer of brushwood. It stays nice and dry underneath. However, you have to lay something out on a large scale. The whole thing has a pleasant side effect. Rabbits like to chew on the shoots if they can’t find anything else in winter. This is thus prevented.

Some species are only annual. Of course, nothing sprout in the spring. It is best to ask what kind it is when you buy it.


Not all species can be easily reproduced. Dividing, sowing and propagation by cuttings are usually possible.

Divide in spring – root tears, so do not divide the thick long tuber. Doesn’t work so well with Gypsophila paniculata. This method works better for the flat varieties.

Sowing – the offered seeds often come from annual Gypsophila. So you have to reseed every year.

  • Sow in March or April
  • Do not sow too densely, even if this is difficult with the small seeds.
  • Cover only a little with soil.
  • Moisten well, preferably with a spray bottle.
  • Cover the plant bowl and keep it bright and warm
  • Air regularly to prevent mold and rot
  • As soon as four or five leaves have formed, the plantlets are separated
  • Plant individually in small plant pots.
  • Cut cuttings – April to May – cultivate in the greenhouse
  • If you ever have to prune your gypsophila, use the head cuttings that you have cut off
  • You can put them in flower pots or stick them in the ground right next to the mother plant.
  • Both should work.

diseases and pests

Diseases are rare. In almost all cases, the trigger is too much moisture. In seedlings and young plants, this often leads to stem rot (dark, slimy spots on the stems). In adult plants it is root rot. In both cases, the plants cannot be saved.

Pests are also quite rare. Snails like to attack the young shoots in spring and usually destroy the whole plant. In winter, on the other hand, it is the rabbits that can spread deforestation. But there are ways to prevent this from happening. Otherwise they are quite healthy plants.

The gypsophila is a very beautiful and absolutely easy-care plant. It does not make high demands and usually thrives magnificently. It is important not to cultivate the plant too wet, it does not tolerate that at all. Otherwise, she usually gets along just fine on her own. In winter, cover against moisture and rabbits and protect against snails when they sprout, that’s actually it. It all sounds wonderful, but the pink gypsophila I bought and planted didn’t come back. I hope it was an annual species. I’ll ask next time.

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