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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.

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.

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.

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

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

Pruning A "pink Breath Of Heaven" Shrub

The tips of "Pink Breath of Heaven" branches are lightly sheared immediately after blooming, in the late spring and early summer. Like most spring-blooming shrubs, its blossoms develop over the summer and fall on the new growth. You should plant the shrub at least 2 feet from the path in order to accommodate the mature shrub. " Pink Breath of Heaven" grows up to 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Occasionally you may be forced to remove broken branches or thin the older woody branches. Using pruners, reach into the shrub, and cut the branches off at the stem, just outside of the branch collar. Cutting the stem to the ground or pruning the older branches severely may result in a mass of bare branches with a few leaves and flowers at the tips.


Cut limbs up to ½ inch in diameter with hand pruners and cut limbs up to 1 inch with lopping shears. Use pruning shears to trim limbs.

If needle-like foliage irritates your skin, you should wear gloves when pruning Breath of Heaven shrubs.

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