How to Prune a Breath of Heaven Shrub


The soft needle-like leaves of the Breath of Heaven (Coleonema pulchellum/pulchrum) are fragrant and evergreen. In spring, the shrub is covered with small star-shaped flowers in shades of pink. It can be used as filler in a flower bed or as a specimen plant, as well as planted in a grouping. Breath of Heaven is a billowy shrub with thin supple limbs. It grows 5 feet tall and wide in a rounded mass and should be left in its natural form so the limbs can move in the breeze. Pruning should be limited to removal of weak growth and slight shaping after blooming.

Step 1

Remove dead, damaged or diseased limbs with hand pruners or lopping shears. Diseased limbs may have dead or dying foliage, splits in the wood or bark, oozing patches in the bark or cankers.

Step 2

Use hand pruners or lopping shears to cut back any long or wayward limbs that spoil the rounded shape of the shrub. Make cuts on a 30-degree angle just above a joint or bud.

Step 3

Use pruning shears to lightly trim the ends of the limbs to enhance the shrub's shape.

Step 4

Clean debris from around shrub. Destroy dead or diseased trimmings to inhibit the spread of disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruners
  • Lopping shears
  • Pruning shears


  • PlantzAfrica: Coleonema pulchellum
  • University of Georgia Extension: Pruning Ornamental Plants in the Landscape

Who Can Help

  • Pink Breath of Heaven
  • Pruning Shrubs
Keywords: prune Breath of Heaven, Breath of Heaven shrub, prune Coleonema pulchellum, Coleonema pulchellum, Coleonema pulchrum

About this Author

Melody Lee worked as a newspaper reporter, copywriter and editor for 5 years. In addition, she has edited magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design and is a Florida master gardener. She has more than 25 years of gardening experience, which includes working at nurseries and greenhouses.