Valentine’s Day: Does the bouquet have baby’s breath? It is an invasive plant

Break with Baby’s breath.

That’s what the Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) is touting this Valentine’s Day.

The ISCBC says it is an invasive species and can take hold quickly if people don’t dispose of it properly.

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“Baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata) – a symbol of eternal love – is actually a harmful invasive species in BC. When baby’s breath invades pastures, it reduces native grasses and forage for grazing animals and wildlife wild,” said ISCBC.

“If you receive a bouquet containing Baby’s breath, make sure you dispose of it properly in the trash. Don’t throw it in the compost. Simply remove it from the bouquet and place it in a sealed trash bag to prevent it from spreading.

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“Better yet, if you’re choosing a bouquet for your special someone, pick one that doesn’t contain Baby’s breath.”

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The Fraser Valley Invasive Species Society says baby’s breath is a flowering plant that grows into a clump of branching stems. It thrives in well-draining sandy or gravelly soil, is drought tolerant and its roots can reach a depth of four meters.

The plant is like tumbleweed in that the stems can break off and roll in the wind, dispersing the seeds.

Mechanical/Manual Removal:

  • Remove infestations before they set seeds.
  • Cut back to the root crown, below the ground to prevent regrowth.
  • Pulling by hand is difficult as the roots of the taproot are deep.
  • Make sure plant parts, including plants received from floral arrangements, are packed and disposed of properly.

The Alberta Invasive Species Council suggests the same thing and says consumers should select non-invasive plants and be wary of exotic plants, bulbs, and seeds promoted as fast spreaders, vigorous self-seeders, and/or “drought tolerant.”

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“Invasive plants often have precisely the characteristics we look for most in plants,” AISC says.

Before choosing a plant to grow, check reliable sources of information such as the Local Invasive Species Council’s invasive species fact sheets.

  • never put invasive species in the compost
  • when eliminating invasive plants, be sure to double the bag
  • do not buy a plant unless it is properly labeled
  • do not use wildflower mixes, as they often contain seeds of invasive species
  • When selecting birdseed, always make sure the seed mix clearly lists the ingredients, as many contain invasive plants
  • consider making your own seed blends to be sure of the seed ingredients
  • encourage others to be plant experts

The AISC says it just updated its economic impact of invasive species within the province, “and we estimate that invasive species currently cost us $2.1 billion annually. And this is mainly due to the costs of invasive plant species (weeds) like baby’s breath and many others.

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Valentine’s Day: Does the bouquet have baby’s breath? It is an invasive plant

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