Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Awned Bedstraw, False Baby's Breath
Galium aristatum

Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Galium (GAL-ee-um) (Info)
Species: aristatum (a-ris-TAH-tum) (Info)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Flowers are fragrant
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


1 positive
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Jan 24, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A fine perennial too infrequently grown in gardens.

Tall slender upright stems branching near the top support clouds of tiny white flowers from early summer into September. In the border it has a billowy, airy presence that can be compared to baby's breath. Nearly self-supporting but best placed among other tall perennials. The foliage is fine-textured, light and airy, a weaver in the border, and a good contrast to big bold-leafed plants like Cephalaria gigantea or Silphium terebinthinaceum or dahlias, or even to daylilies or coneflowers.

This make a good cut flower, and serves well as a filler in arrangements.

Fairly tolerant of part shade, but it blooms longest in full sun.

I grew this in a bed that never received water through last summer's droughts and it looked fine all season. Height and length of bloom season increase for several years after planting---as with many perennials, this really takes a couple of years to reach its stride. I find the mature height is closer to 4', and I wouldn't space plants closer than 4'. This is not a ground cover.

I noticed a fragrance from the flowers this year for the first time.

Said to be a pass along plant in the south and praised by garden designer/writer Pam Harper.

This is the plant that Bluestone Perennials used to distribute under the name of Galium 'Victor Jones'.

Tough, easy, clump-forming. This can be easily divided in early spring, but it does not spread spontaneously. I've grown it for over a decade in several different gardens in eastern Massachusetts, and though I've noticed an occasional seedling, I see fewer than with most good garden perennials, and never to weedy proportions.

BONAP indicates that, in North America, it has naturalized only in NY, and that it's noxious in two counties of central NY state (though I see no documentation for that claim).


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Waukegan, Illinois
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Staten Island, New York

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