Best known as a filler bloom, the baby’s breath flower grows in abundance and is easily recognizable. Although most species are similar in appearance, baby’s breath – or soap wort, as it is known in the United Kingdom – boasts a family of over 100 species, all with their own small variations. For example, the “Perfecta” cultivar has slightly larger flowers than the “Paniculata” type; the gypsophila repens tends to creep up walls, while the gypsophila elegans sort tends to be an upright grower. These flowers, which are either a perennial plant or herbaceous annual, are native to areas of north Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. They come in fairly simple colors of white and dusky pink.
Despite the fact that they are considered a simple filler flower, baby’s breath have a wide variety of other uses. One of the most notable examples is their use in crafting. The baby’s breath flower is considered one of the best and easiest blossoms to dry, and is often placed alongside other dried or fresh flowers in an arrangement. They may also be used in wreaths, woven into wicker decorations, bound together to make Christmas tree ornaments, or pressed and placed into books or jewelry. Baby’s breath is also frequently used in weddings. Although they may often be seen alongside brightly colored, showy flowers, they are sometimes used on their own. You may occasionally see an entire bridal bouquet – or smaller bouquets for bridesmaids – made entirely of baby’s breath. They might be the traditional white, or may be dyed any number of colors – so as to match the wedding theme. In addition to bouquets, they are also placed into boutonnieres, corsages, decorations and centerpieces.
Given their common use in weddings, it is not surprising that the predominant symbol for the baby’s breath flower is everlasting love. In continuation of the theme, they are thought to represent happiness and a purity of the heart. These flowers are sometimes given as gifts to new or expectant mothers, as they often express the joy and innocence of a new baby, especially when they are placed alongside other flowers that symbolize motherhood. Because of their strong connection to love, baby’s breath is also sometimes mixed with other flowers or herbs and given as a love charm.