Baby's-breath euphorbia plants look like frothy clusters of airy flowers and tiny leaves. You may mistake baby's-breath euphorbia for traditional baby's breath (gypsophila paniculata), but these wispy, mounding plants are quite different. Not only do they primarily appear in gardens (instead of bouquets and flower arrangements like their counterparts), but their delicate looks belie their hardy temperaments. They're drought-tolerant, need no deadheading, are deer resistant, and bloom pretty much continually throughout the late spring, summer, and fall. The plant is native to North America and grows quickly, featuring frothy white flowers held above narrow, delicate leaves. Baby's-breath euphorbia should be planted in early spring (after the final frost has passed), and can be grouped together or used to line a garden or pathway—they have a mounding habit, but will spread 2 to 3 feet if given the space.
|Botanical Name||Euphorbia hypericifolia|
|Common Name||Baby's-breath euphorbia, graceful spurge, diamond frost euphorbia|
|Plant Type||Evergreen perennial (also grown as an annual)|
|Mature Size||1–2 ft. tall, 1–2 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun, partial shade|
|Soil Type||Loamy, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Neutral to acidic|
|Bloom Time||Late spring, summer|
|Hardiness Zones||10–11 (USDA)|
|Native Area||North America|
|Toxicity||Toxic to dogs and cats|
Baby's-Breath Euphorbia Care
Baby's-Breath Euphorbia is a great choice for just about any container or garden. They're wonderful filler plants, spilling over edges and working their way between the larger leaves of companion plants. It also looks great tucked into rock wall pockets and intermingled with broad-leaved plants, like coral bells and coleus, and as well as along the edges of walkways.
Because they're only hardy in USDA zones 10 and 11, baby's-breath euphorbia are most often grown as annuals or as indoor plants for part of the year (if you can provide good light). Be aware, they may shed some flowers and leaves when first brought indoors. If this happens, provide them with a bit more humidity either by spraying the plants regularly or placing the pot on a tray of pebbles and water.
No deadheading is required as you grow baby's-breath euphorbia. However, you can pinch young plants to encourage branching and trim back your plants at any time, either to shape them as you desire or to keep the plant size in check. That being said, baby's-breath euphorbia is typically well-behaved and rarely squeezes out neighboring plants.
For the best flowering, plant your Baby's-breath euphorbia in a spot that gets full sun or partial shade. You should aim to make sure your plant receives at least six hours of sunlight a day. Too much shade will not only diminish flowering but may also cause the plant to become gangly as it reaches for the sun.
Baby's-breath euphorbia plants are not terribly particular about their soil pH or soil texture and can adapt fairly easily to wherever they're planted, as long as they're kept regularly watered. That being said, for best success, you should choose a sandy, well-drained mixture with a neutral to acidic pH balance.
Water your baby's-breath euphorbia well, until the plant is established, at which point the plant will be drought-tolerant. Allow the plant to dry between each watering in order to avoid issues like root rot or fungal diseases.
Temperature and Humidity
Baby's-breath euphorbia is not particularly picky about its temperature and humidity requirements and is able to adapt to a wide range of environments. It has great heat tolerance and can handle sustained temperatures as long as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It can also be brought indoors come winter and does not require additional humidity.
No fertilizer is needed, although a little boost in mid-summer can help keep baby's-breath euphorbia plants going, especially if planted containers.
Is Baby's-Breath Euphorbia Toxic?
Baby's-breath euphorbia, and all members of its plant family, are indeed toxic. The issue lies within its sap, which is a known irritant to humans (and can cause a rash or irritation) and possibly more dangerous to pets like cats and dogs if ingested. If you notice your pet has ingested baby's-breath euphorbia or is experiencing any of the below symptoms, contact your vet immediately.
Symptoms of Poisoning
- Weight loss
- Facial swelling
- Irritation around or inside the mouth
Baby's-Breath Euphorbia Varieties
There are a variety of cultivars of baby's-breath euphorbia, each boasting a slightly different look:
- Breathless Blush Euphorbia: a cultivar with red-tinged leaves and white flowers
- Diamond Frost Euphorbia: a varietal featuring slender green leaves and delicate white flowers
- Diamond Mountain Euphorbia: a larger cultivar that spreads between 24 and 36 inches
- Diamond Delight Euphorbia: a bush, full varietal with double the white flowers
Common Pests and Diseases
For the most part, baby's-breath euphorbia grows problem-free. However, they can be affected by whitefly and spider mites, especially if kept in tighter growing conditions. To prevent these issues, provide good airflow around the plants and don't overcrowd them.