Fawns Breath

Fawns Breath is a plant known under a few names, among which we can mention Indian Physic, Bowman’s Root and American Ipecac.

As most of the perennial plants grown in gardens, this plant needs partial shading. Of course, it also requires some sunlight, and the gentle morning rays of sun will do best for this sort of plant.

Fawns Breath

In the heat of the afternoon the plant should be shaded, if not completely, at least partially. It is acceptable to plant Fawns Breath near trees.

Many plants would not be able to compete with the root system of a tree for water, organic matter from the soil, and space for successful growth. But Fawns Breath can be planted near trees as long as a good layer of organic mulch is provided.

This plant has myriads of small white flowers, and it gives an effect like lace when moved with a light wind.

The plant is great for mass planting; it will make your garden look fresh and full of sophisticated but innocent beauty of white.

It is a perfect plant for cutting flowers for bouquets, and as long as Fawns Breath is in bloom, you will always have flowers to decorate the rooms in your house.

Flowers appear in late spring, and the plant is also characterized by red petioles and reddish stems.

Fawns Breath is valued not only for its flowers, but also for colorful leaves. Very often they become bronzy, red and brown in the fall months, creating a good combination with other perennial plants which usually turn yellow, golden and orange with the beginning of fall.

It is nice to plant Fawns Breath in borders as its foliage is typically not susceptible to any diseases and insects attacks.

The plant is quite tall, it grows from two to four feet in height, and spreads out from between two and three feet wide – this plant has quite a presence in the garden, and is highly recommended as a back drop for beds of smaller plants.

And of course the fact that it is a perennial is an added advantage. The white flowers are star shaped and look very pleasing, and the plant itself is in bloom from the middle of spring lasting right till early in summer – a period of several weeks at least.


Like many other similar varieties of plants, this one comes from woodlands, and you need to try to replicate that natural environment if you want to keep the plant healthy and to see it flourish.

This isn’t that difficult – what sort of environment do you think of when you think of a woodland or forest? A soft, shady place, cool and quiet, with the crackle of dry leaves underfoot.

The best way to replicate its natural environment is; to firstly ensure that the soil is rich, secondly to ensure that the soil is always moist as the ground in woodlands rarely, if ever, dries completely because of the leafy canopy overhead, and thirdly to plant it in the shade of course.

Mulch is also something that will help quite a bit. You need to mulch these plants both in spring and in fall, as this will help the plants to retain moisture, and moreover will help in keeping the temperature at the roots stable and cool.

This plant, despite it’s liking for moisture, will not die in the occasional drought, at least not once it is properly established.


This is done by seed, or by dividing the plant. If you choose division, remember that it is best done in Spring or in Fall. The plant can also be propagated via cuttings, especially in Spring.


Fawns Breath AKA Bowman’s Root is a tall perennial 2 to 4 feet tall and spreading 2 to 3 feet, with white star shaped flowers.

Bloom time mid Spring to early Summer lasting for several weeks.

Plant in organic, humus rich soil and keep moist.

Mulch in Spring and Fall to retain moisture and to keep the roots cool. Once established it will be quite drought resistant.

Propagate by seed or division in Spring or Fall. You can also take cuttings in Spring.

I hope you enjoy this lovely shade tolerant plant.

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