Weed of the Month: Baby’s Breath

August was prime wedding season here in Jackson. Between May and October, Teton County sees numerous destination weddings, elopements, and other special occasions. While these events are moments of celebration for most people, they can also be the source of invasive plant infestations. 

Baby’s Breath in Flower Bouquets

Even if you’ve never heard of baby’s breath you’ve probably seen it in a bouquet before. It has delicate white flowers used as fillers in various floral bouquets. While baby’s breath makes a bouquet come together as a beautiful floral arrangement, it is a non-native plant that will spread if introduced in Teton County. 

If possible, buy bouquets composed of native flowers or at the very least, flowers that are not considered invasive in our state.

Although baby’s breath can be found at wedding venues, it can also escape ornamental flower gardens. Research every plant before you add it to your garden.

Baby’s Breath Characteristics

Baby’s breath is a deep-rooted herbaceous perennial that can grow three to four feet in height. Its leaves sit opposite of one another, silvery-green and narrow. 

Many people dislike the odor of baby’s breath and can smell it from a short distance away. After it flowers, the leaves become less noticeable. Once established, baby’s breath grows in a dense mound shape and can be difficult to control. This plant is especially dangerous because it can produce approximately 14,000 seeds.

Without intervention, baby’s breath will grow and spread rapidly—outcompeting native plants and altering our ecosystem. 

Baby’s Breath Control Methods

Prevention is the first line of defense for potential baby’s breath infestations. 

  • Buy or make bouquets with native flowers
  • Carefully use or dispose of baby’s breath
  • Research native and non-native ornamentals before you plant them in your garden
  • Warn your friends, family, and neighbors about the invasive nature of baby’s breath

Thankfully, if a baby’s breath infestation occurs you still have time to manage its spread. 

First, report the infestation immediately to Teton County Weed and Pest. You can reach us at (307) 733-8419. Because baby’s breath isn’t established in Teton County and is a high priority species, we will work closely with you to eradicate it.

Control methods include digging around and under the plant as well as control from chemical herbicides.