Queen Anne’s Lace vs. Baby’s Breath: What’s the Difference?

Close up of Queen Anne's Lace flower blooming in the summertime.
© Antho B/Shutterstock.com

Written by Larissa Smith

Updated: August 4, 2023

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Are you wondering whether or not you should use Queen Anne’s lace or baby’s breath? Both plants have become increasingly popular over the years as these flowers lend a look of elegance and innocence to any bouquet or garden. But the question is, which one perfectly fits you and your space?

The Queen Anne’s lace is a wildflower with tiny flowers consisting of five or more petals per flower. These plants give any setting an ambiance of gentleness and elegance. Not to mention that the smaller, often white flowers surround the purple flower standing front and center of the cluster.

Baby breath, while slightly similar in appearance to its cousin Queen Anne’s lace, has some key differences. They are a part of the Caryophyllaceae family and are fast becoming the perfect addition to any bouquet. Baby’s breaths are flowers that come in arrangements of white or pink, and the flowers have a starburst pattern giving these flowers a soft and alluring look.

What are the similarities between Queen Anne’s lace and baby’s breath? Read further and find out!

A bouquet of Baby's breath flowers on a pink background, close-up.

Queen Anne’s lace and baby’s breath (pictured) consist of tiny white flowers that grow in clusters.

©outlander1746/Shutterstock.com

Comparing Queen Anne’s Lace and Baby’s Breath

Queen Anne’s LaceBaby’s Breath
ClassificationKingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Daucus
Species: Daucus carota
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Order: Eudicots
Family: Caryophyllales
Genus: Gypsophila
Species: Gypsophila paniculata
OriginEurope, Asia, Northern AfricaAustralia, Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Islands
Description– 12-39 inches tall
– Consists of a compound purple flower surrounded by a cluster of white flowers
– Double pinnate leaves with a carrot-like smell
– They take two years to fully bloom
– 24 inches tall and wide
– Tiny flowers of white, pink, and red
– Grey-green and blue-green narrow leaves
– They can bloom within ten weeks
How to Grow– Use dry to moderately dry soil
– Sandy soil, but can adapt to other soil types
– Full sunlight required
– Plant in low-nutrient areas
– Alkaline soil pH
– Use well-draining soil
– Full sun required
– Low water needs – dry soil is sufficient

Queen Anne’s Lace vs. Baby’s Breath: Classification and Origin

Queen Anne’s lace comes from the Apiaceae family, which has more than 3,700 plant species! The Apiaceae family consists primarily of aromatic and flowering plants and are native to Europe, Asia, and North African continents. The flower is easy to maintain and thrives in low humidity and moderate to high temperatures.

Not only do Queen Anne’s lace and baby’s breath look similar, but they also grow in a similar pattern. So all you need to do to have these beautiful flowers growing in the space of your dreams is to plant them directly into the soil during their prime season, and boom, these beauties will soon surround you.

In contrast, baby’s breath comes from the Caryophyllaceae family and has a more moderate genus consisting of 150 different species. The family’s most common species, known as baby’s breath, is Gypsophila paniculate, and many species in the genus are native to Eurasia, Africa, Australia, and even the Pacific Islands.

Queen Anne’s Lace vs. Baby’s Breath Description

Queen Anne’s lace is a herbaceous perennial flower that grows in the wild, which is why people love it so much. Although these flowers are technically wildflowers, they get their name because they are said to resemble the lace headdress of Anne of Denmark, hence the more sophisticated and regal name.

They are famous for their clusters of white flowers. They grow in what’s known as an umbel, where each can consist of more than 1,000 flowers. The Queen Anne lace flowers often look like soft bouquets with long stems and leaves that swoop in deep and pointy lobes, adding a dignified air to the flowers. A clear way to identify their flowers is to look for purple or red spots in the flower heads.

Expect these graceful flowers to bloom from June to October in their second year of growth. The stem is hairy and can grow between 12-39 inches in height. The leaves are double-pinnate and are a little over an inch long. Rub the leaves between your fingers to get a carrot-like smell.

Depending on the type of baby’s breath you want, the tiny flowers come in shades of white, pink, and red. In addition, there are many small, grey-green, and blue-green narrow leaves. The plant grows best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. It is a fast-growing plant and will reach heights of up to 24 inches tall and wide.

Queen Anne’s Lace vs. Baby’s Breath: Uses

Queen Anne’s lace is very aromatic. Given their fragrance, many use it to make aromatic oils and even bottles of vinegar. In addition, both plants attract pollinators like butterflies and ladybugs.

Baby’s breath, despite its odd aroma, does have many uses to it. For example, they are a wonderful addition to any garden. The flowers are a beautiful white color contrasting your flower arrangements for bouquets and centerpieces. They symbolize new beginnings, and you might see them in flower arrangements at funerals.

However, it is essential to note that baby’s breath can be toxic to humans and pets when consumed raw. In addition, they spread fast and have become an invasive species in North America.

Queen Anne’s Lace vs. Baby’s Breath: How to Grow

Queen Anne’s lace and baby’s breath are incredibly easy to grow and low maintenance. It is best to plant the seeds in dry soil from spring to early fall.

It is important to note that there are poisonous plants that resemble Queen Anne’s lace. To differentiate between them, all you need to do is identify the right scent. Queen Anne’s lace flowers come from the same family as carrots and thus smell similar to carrots.

Growing Queen Anne’s lace tips:

  • Use dry to moderately dry soil
  • Sandy soil, but can adapt to other soil types
  • Full sunlight required
  • Plant in low-nutrient areas

Baby’s Breath

Baby’s breath is a breath of fresh air, pun intended! Unfortunately for the cousin of Queen Anne’s lace, the baby’s breath has an acidic smell that can slightly resemble baby spit-up. However, the saving grace of these unique flowers is that they are easy to cultivate and grow.

Baby’s breath needs little to bloom. All they need is the sun and well-timed watering to sprout their beautiful flowers. So plant them in the spring and see them covered in beautiful, petite flowers in the summer.

Growing baby’s breath tips:

  • Alkaline soil pH
  • Use well-draining soil
  • Full sun exposure
  • Low water needs – dry soil is sufficient

Final Thoughts

These flowers prove that things don’t need to be high maintenance to be beautiful! These flowers will add a pop of color and an air of gentleness to any area they are in. The best part is that these plants grow and sustain themselves, all they need is a little water here and there and some sun to come into full bloom!

The truth is, sometimes you need something extra to put the finishing touches to a room. So why not draw attention to specific points by decorating your office or home with these eye-catching flowers?


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About the Author

Larissa Smith is a writer for A-Z Animals with years of experience in plant care and wildlife. After years spent in the South African bush while studying Nature Conservation, she found her way to writing about animals and plants in her work. She hopes to inspire others to appreciate and care for the precious world around them. Larissa lives in Florida with her two sons, a miniature golden retriever named Pupples, and a colorful succulent garden. In her spare time, she is tending to her garden, adventuring with her kids, and hosting “Real Housewives” watch parties with her friends.

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