Baby's-Breath Euphorbia plants (Euphorbia hypericifolia) look like frothy clusters of airy flowers and tiny leaves. There's not much resemblance here to most of the other Euphorbias you are familiar with. You might mistake Euphorbia hypericifolia for traditional Baby's Breath (Gypsophila paniculata), but these wispy, mounding plants are not babies. Their delicate looks belie their hardy temperaments. Euphorbia hypericifolia is drought tolerant, needs no deadheading, is deer resistant and blooms pretty much continually. Even so, the common name Baby's-Breath Euphorbia is certainly fitting and much easier to remember than Euphorbia hypericifolia.
Baby's-Breath Euphorbia's frothy flowers are held above narrow, delicate leaves. The plants have a mounding habit but will spread 2 - 3 ft. if given the space.
Note: All Euphorbia plants are poisonous if ingested. They also produce a milky sap that is a skin and eye irritant.
Euphorbia hypericifolia is how it is generally known, but it was recently reclassified as Chamaesyce hypericifolia. Honestly, it's becoming impossible to keep up with the botanical names of cultivated plants. Since these have become popular under common names followed by Euphorbia, asking for Euphorbia hypericifolia should still get you the plant you are looking for.
Baby's-Breath Euphorbia is the most often used popular common name, although more and more new varieties are going by the cultivar name, followed by Euphorbia, such as Diamond Frost® Euphorbia. This trend will probably continue as more cultivars are introduced.
Plant your Baby's-Breath Euphorbia in full sun to partial shade, for the best flowering. Too much shade will not only diminish flowering, it will cause the plant to become gangly as it reaches for the sun.
These are not tall plants and grown in an open, mounding fashion. Mature plants will reach a height of 8 - 12 inches (20 - 30 cm) and spread 20 - 24 inches (51 - 61 cm).
These dainty beauties will bloom continuously throughout summer.
The Best Varieties of Baby's-Breath Euphorbia to Grow
- Breathless™ Blush Euphorbia - Red-tinged leaves with white flowers.
- Diamond Frost® Euphorbia - Slender green leaves and delicate white flowers.
- Diamond Mountain™ Euphorbia - Larger than Diamond Frost, spreading 24 - 36 inches.
- Diamond Delight® Euphorbia - Double white flowers.
There are several other varieties with green leaves and white flowers and it seems new introductions are being brought out every year. Honestly, they're all good plants.
Using Baby's-Breath Euphorbia in Your Garden Design
Baby's-Breath Euphorbia is a great choice for just about any container. They are 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 along the edges of walkways.
Euphorbia hypericifolia also makes a nice houseplant, if you can provide good light. They may shed some flowers and leaves when first brought indoors. If this happens, provide a bit more humidity either by spraying the plants regularly or by placing the pot on a tray of pebbles and water.
Baby's-Breath Euphorbia is starting to become popular at Christmastime, paired with another Euphorbia, the Poinsettia.
Baby's-Breath Euphorbia Growing Tips
Planting: You will have to start with plants. All varieties of Baby's-Breath Euphorbia are cultivars, so seed is not available. However, small plants are widely available in nurseries.
Baby's-Breath Euphorbia are very sensitive to cold weather, so wait until all danger of frost has passed, before planting outside.
Caring for Your Baby's-Breath Euphorbia Plants
Water well, until the plant is acclimated. After that, allow the plant to dry between waterings. Too much water can cause rotting.
No fertilizer is needed, although a little boost in mid-Summer can help keep Baby's-Breath Euphorbia plants going, especially plants in containers.
No deadheading is required. You can pinch young plants to encourage branching and you can trim back plants at any time, to shape or to keep the plant size in check. Baby's-Breath Euphorbia are well-behaved and rarely squeeze out neighboring plants.
Pests & Problems of Baby's-Breath Euphorbia
For the most part, Baby's-Breath Euphorbia grows problem free. However, they can be affected by whitefly and spider mites, especially in tight growing conditions. To prevent these conditions, provide good air flow around the plants and don't over-crowd them.