How to Grow Coleonema – Pink Breath of Heaven

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Coleonema–commonly called the pink breath of heaven–is an evergreen shrub cultivated for its wispy foliage and prolific small-pink blossoms. Coleonema gives a feathery, heath-like effect. It can be grown in borders or as a light, nearly see-through hedge.

Coleonema has short, linear, narrowly lance-shaped bright green leaves that crowd its arching stems. It bears very small star-shaped, 5-petaled flowers usually in number at the ends of shoots and from leaf axils.

Coleonema can be planted in borders or as a wispy, loose hedge. There are compact forms that can be grown at the front of borders. Colenmea grows best in full sun in well-drained soil.

Coleonema is a genus of 8 species of evergreen shrubs native to heathland and rocky slopes in South Africa.

Get to know Coleonema

  • Plant type: Evergreen shrub
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 8-11
  • Hardiness: Half-hardy; grows best where winters are mild; grows in a greenhouse where not hardy.
  • Height and width: 3 to 10 feet (1-3m) tall and wide
  • Foliage: Short, linear to oblong or narrowly lance-shaped bright green leaves crowded on stems
  • Flowers: Small, star-shaped, 5-petaled flowers singly or profusely at the end of stems and from leaf axils
  • Bloom time: Spring into summer
  • Uses: Shrub border in warm climates
  • Common name: Pink breath of heaven, confetti bush
  • Botanical name: Coleonema
  • Family name: Rutaceae
  • Origin: Rocky slopes of South Africa
Confetti bush or pink breath of heaven, Coleonema pulchellum

Where to plant Coleonema

  • Light outdoors: Plant Coleonema in full sun outdoors.
  • Light indoors: Grow Coleonema in bright light.
  • Soil outdoors: Grow in moderately fertile, moist, but well-drained soil.
  • Soil indoors: Pot Coleonema in an acidic potting mix.

When to plant Coleonema

  • Set container-grown Coleonema outdoors in spring or autumn.

Planting and spacing Coleonema

  • Space Coleonema 3 to 10 feet (1-3m) apart.

How to water and feed Coleonema

  • Water Coleonema moderately; water sparingly in winter.
  • Fertilize Coleonema monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer.

Coleonema care

  • Top-dress Coleonema in spring and fall with well-aged compost.

Coleonema pests and diseases

  • Coleonema is usually not bothered by pests or diseases.
Coleonema album, white breath of heaven
Coleonema album, a white breath of heaven

Coleonema propagation

  • Surface sow seed in warm soil in spring.
  • Root semi-ripe cuttings with bottom heat in summer.

Coleonema varieties to grow

  • Coleonema album, a white breath of heaven. Mounding shrub 4 to 5 feet tall and wide; covered with white flowers at the tips.
  • C. pullchellum (C. pulchrum), pink breath of heaven. Freely branching shrub erect at first then spreading with maturity; grows 3 to 10 feet (1-3m) tall or slightly taller and wide; linear, bright green leaves to 1 inch or longer; terminal and axillary red or pink flowers with reflexed petal and dark eyes. Cultivar ‘Sunset Gold’ has yellow-green leaves and white flowers. Cultivar ‘Sunset Gold’ grows to 3 feet tall and wide with golden-green foliage.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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