Tropical Style

Great Design Plant: Golden Breath of Heaven

I prefer subtle yet unique elegance when it comes to layout. If there’s a selection, suggested beauty over a loud, statement-making piece generally wins out. What I particularly admire about the ‘Sunset Gold’ breath of heaven cultivar is that you are so easily able to really go either way with only 1 plant. Whether prominently massed to a hillside, potted together with brilliant succulents or planted beneath softly textured foliage of grays and greens, breath of heaven is a plant likely to see heavy use on your garden once you find it. Soft, fluttery foliage persists through the entire year, into the darkest of days.

David Feix Landscape Design

Botanical name: Coleonema pulchellum ‘Sunset Gold’ (syn. Coleonema pulchrum ‘Sunset Gold’)
Common names: Golden breath of heaven, diosma, confetti bush
USDA zones: 8 to 11; tolerant to 20 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit (find your zone)
Water requirement: Medium
Light requirement: Full sun to light shade
Mature size: 2 to 4 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet broad
Benefits and tolerances: Flowers attract bees; tolerant of wind and coastal states; deer immune
Seasonal attention: Evergreen; flowers in winter and spring
When to plant: Plant cuttings in late summer and fall.

Revealed: Coleonema pulchellum ‘Sunset Gold’ with Parry’s agave and Phormium ‘Dazzler’

Huettl Landscape Architecture

Distinguishing attributes. Golden breath of heaven is just as easily a bold or subtle garden accent. Its soft texture and low, dispersing silhouette fill in planting gaps, complementing plants and gardens of all types.

It is the vivid chartreuse foliage that really stands out — the small glimmer that quickly catches the eye. Soft, heather-like stalks blow easily from the end, catching and reflecting any lighting.

Pat Brodie Landscape Design

Golden breath of heaven is lower growing and more compact than the straight species, reaching heights of just 2 to 4 feet instead of 4 to 6 feet. When massed, it works well as a weed-suppressing ground cover on banks and hillsides.

The plant is evergreen, producing aromatic foliage year-round. From winter to spring blossoms of little pink flowers emerge. Blooms may sporadically appear through the year.

David Feix Landscape Design

The best way to use it. The foliage of breath of heaven is truly a breath of heaven in the garden. It is a transparency to surrounding crops owing to its extremely fine texture and color. ‘Sunset Gold’ is especially so. It pairs particularly well with succulents, with colours that can rival that of breath of heaven but with textures which are so drastically different.

Here we see ‘Sunset Gold’ paired with rough earth cover Dymondia along with other taller succulents at a street strip. Landscape designer David Feix says, “This cultivar of breath heaven has the exact same wonderfully pungent foliage fragrance of the larger growing species, but lends itself to being retained clipped low to the ground. It makes a beautiful foliage transparency for succulents, also has exceptional drought and coastal wind tolerance.”

Dig Your Garden Landscape Design

Plants with leaves that are aromatic, such as breath of heaven, are fine to plant along pathways or planter edges. Brush up against them, and a nice scented wave is released. Plus, ‘Sunset Gold’ cascades elegantly onto a patio or path — blurring the transition between soft- and hardscape.

The casual style aesthetic of cabin- and Mediterranean-style gardens works well with breath of heaven. Lavender, blue oat grass and gold breath of heaven border this planter.

Donna Lynn – Landscape Designer

Planting notes. For the best results, plant breath of heaven in well-drained soil in full sun. During the first growing season, establish strong roots by following a regular watering schedule. The plant is quite drought tolerant and can take less irrigation after the very first season.

This really is a fairly easy-care plant which should flourish in most arctic environments. It is smaller than the straight species, however some anglers like to prune this kind too.

Don’t cut back to woody stalks, but you can shear lightly and regularly to prevent foliage from getting too out of control. Personally, I believe the plant looks best when allowed to spread and grow, so think about what type of care plan you would love to follow based on where you plant it. You can use a general-purpose fertilizer in spring before new growth emerges.

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