The Key to Trimming Your Tree on the Cheap Might Be Hiding In Your Garden (or Your Local Trader Joe’s!)

published Dec 5, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

If you’re looking for a simple, easy, and inexpensive way to fill out your Christmas tree, the answer might be baby’s breath. Yep, I’m talking about that filler flower you might remember from your homecoming corsage or the last bouquet of roses you got on Valentine’s Day. When you’re after an earthy, ethereal look for your tree (think tonal textures with solid ball ornaments and subtly sparkly metallic baubles) baby’s breath, or gyp as it’s often called in the florist industry, will totally hang with your warm, modern scheme by delivering a pop of pretty texture. In fact, baby’s breath at a distance almost looks like snow and could be a dainty substitute for anyone who finds artificial snow messy.

Credit: Danielle Blundell

I first saw this idea at the Food and Home 52 holiday press preview back in August, which you can see in the tree pictures I snapped here. The best part about using baby’s breath as a tree filler? It can be found in bulk at most grocery stores on the cheap, including Trader Joe’s or ordered from Etsy already dried. Depending on the size of your tree, you also might be able to get away with purchasing just a few bouquets for a super-full display. Baby’s breath seems to look best placed randomly (and sporadically) throughout the tree, so you don’t have to go overboard with it at all.

Credit: Danielle Blundell

A hardy, herbaceous perennial that grows tall and wide in the wild, baby’s breath tends to have long, branching stems that culminate in clusters of tiny white flowers (it comes in pink, too). This shape makes sprays of these blooms particularly apropos as “tree picks,” if you will, since all you really have to do is break off a stem and place it, flower side out, in between the needles of your tree. Even better, baby’s breath is pretty low-maintenance and long-lasting. To use it as tree filler, I’d recommend drying it first (you can find tutorials online) so it’ll last longer, but if you’re the type to take chances, you might be able to get away with misting it regularly to keep it fresh while your tree is up, since cut baby’s breath can last weeks if properly cared for. 

Turns out this idea is also designer-approved. In addition to her sold out disco ball ornaments, HGTV personality and designer Leanne Ford also introduced a set of dried baby’s breath-filled glass baubles for Crate & Barrel as part of her holiday assortment. I asked Ford earlier this fall about her own tree decorating trips, and she used dried hydrangeas in a way similar to this baby’s breath idea last year. So if you’re into her brand of simple, nature-forward holiday decor and don’t have your own hydrangea bush to forage (or want to pay for these larger, pricier blooms), baby’s breath just might be your best solution.