How to Grow Gypsophila Seeds
Grow Guide #2276
Binomial name: Gypsophila sp.
Life Cycle: Annual or Perennial
This 'How to Grow' guide details everything a home gardener needs to know to plant, grow and care for Gypsophila (Gypsophila sp.).
There are annual and perennial varieties of gypsophila. Gypsophila paniculata is a perennial species that requires a permanent position in the garden. Gypsophila elegans is an annual species. This guide applies to both annual and perennial varieties of gypsophila.
When to Sow Gypsophila Seeds
Gypsophila can be grown year-round in most climates. Avoid planting in extremely hot or cold weather which can affect germination and growth. Use the table below to identify the best time of year to sow gypsophila in your climate.
Gypsophila plants are best grown in full sun. Choose a location that will receive at least 6 hours of full sun each day.
Some gypsophila plants are perennial, meaning they live for several years. If you are growing a perennial variety choose a permanent position where plants can grow undisturbed by regular digging or disturbance.
Gypsophila plants commonly self-seed in the garden. Self-seeding plants drop seeds onto the soil at the end of the season that may germinate and grow without help the following season. Choose a position where new plants will be welcome. If you do not want gypsophila to become established in your garden, deadhead plants before they can drop seed or grow them in containers.
Gypsophila plants need a well drained soil enriched with plenty of organic matter. Prepare soil by weeding it thoroughly, digging it over to loosen it and adding aged animal manure or compost. Keep the area free of weeds until planting. Learn more about preparing soil for planting here.
Gypsophila plants can be grown in containers. If possible choose a variety that’s recommended for container growing. Use a good quality potting mix and make sure your container is large enough for mature plants; a minimum of 10 litres is recommended for gypsophila. During the growing season, keep in mind that container grown plants may need additional fertiliser to encourage healthy growth.
How to Sow Gypsophila Seeds
Gypsophila seeds do not require any treatment (eg soaking, stratification) before sowing.
Gypsophila seeds grow best when they are sown directly into the garden.
- Sow seeds directly in the garden 6mm deep and 20-40cm apart.
- Keep soil moist but never wet or dry.
- Seeds should germinate in around 7-14 days at a soil temperature of 21-22°C.
- Young seedlings will need protection from pests, pets and weather until they are established.
Tip: Gypsophila seeds can also be sown in the less formal ‘scatter seed’ method. Simply roughen the soil, scatter seeds evenly over the surface, then smooth the soil over lightly to cover the seeds.
How to Grow Gypsophila
Gypsophila plants are drought tolerant once established and grow best in soil that is dry and very well drained. Let the soil dry out between watering, and only water when the soil is dry about 10cm below the surface (test this by scratching away a little soil with your finger), even in summer. Water deeply in the early morning or late afternoon. Avoid watering the leaves of plants to avoid fungal diseases. Learn more about watering here.
If soil was well prepared no extra fertiliser should be necessary. In poor soil or to give your plants an extra boost, application of a high-potassium fertiliser or one formulated for flowering plants can be beneficial:
- Apply slow release fertiliser at the recommended rate when transplanting or when seedlings are 5-10cm tall.
- Apply liquid fertiliser at the recommended rate and frequency while plants are fruiting or flowering.
Gypsophila plants may need to be supported as they grow. Depending on the expected size and height of the plant, use a stake, bamboo cane, trellis or string lines to support plants. Make sure you have the support in place when you sow seed or transplant seedlings to avoid disturbing the plant's roots later.
Gypsophila plants should flower in approximately 50-70 days.
Deadhead gypsophila flowers regularly during the growing season. Using sharp secateurs or snips cut fading or dead flowers off just above a set of leaves. Removing old flowers regularly will encourage plants to produce more flowers. Learn more about deadheading flowering plants here.
If growing gypsophila for cut flowers, use sharp snips or secateurs to cut the longest stems possible, removing the lower leaves and placing the stems immediately in a clean bucket of water. Learn more about cutting and conditioning homegrown flowers here.
Perennial varieties only - When plants have finished flowering prune them back to neaten them and encourage strong new growth. Using sharp secateurs or snips, cut individual stems just above a set of lower leaves.
Common Problems when Growing Gypsophila
Like all plants, gypsophila is susceptible to some pests, diseases and other problems. Below is a list of the most common problems gardeners encounter when growing gypsophila plants:
- Aphids are small (2-4mm long) sap-sucking insects that congregate on the new shoots or the undersides of leaves. They can cause leaves to wilt or become discoloured, and also excrete honeydew which can attract ants and other insect pests. To manage aphids, remove them by spraying with a garden hose, apply a soap or alcohol spray, or encourage predatory insects to your garden. Read more about aphids here.
- Grey mould (Botrytis sp.) is a fungal disease that causes flowers to become mouldy and fruit to rot. Spores are transported by wind and can survive in soil or on green waste. The fungus spreads most in cool, damp weather. Prune off affected flowers and fruit, water plants at soil level (not on leaves) and if necessary spray with an appropriate fungicide or homemade spray.
- Spider mites (Tetranychus urticae), also known as two spotted mites, are sap-sucking arachnids that cause dry, wilted or discoloured leaves. The undersides of leaves may feel dry and a little like fine sandpaper. Prune plants to allow good air flow or spray with eco-oil or wettable sulphur. Learn more about managing spider mites here.
- Thrips are black, beige or white flying insects (<1.5mm) with larvae that suck tissue from leaves and petals, leaving behind very small white or transparent markings. While not usually causing serious damage, the marks affect the look of flowers and foliage and thrips can also transfer pathogens from one plant to another. Wash thrips from affected plants using a garden hose, encourage predatory mites and lacewings with companion planting, or spray with soap, eco-oil or neem oil.