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Products > Melianthus major
 
Melianthus major - Honey Bush
   

 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Melianthaceae (Melianthusą)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Maroon
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Height: 8-12 feet
Width: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20° F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Melianthus major (Honey Bush) - This fast-growing evergreen open shrub can grow up to 12 feet tall or more and spread rapidly by sucker roots. The one foot long bluish-green leaves have 10-15 serrated leaflets and when bruised have a strong salty peanut butter-like smell. Spikes of dark maroon-colored flowers are displayed on stalks above the foliage from winter through spring followed by papery seed pods. These flowers are variously described as ill or pleasingly honey scented but we find the flowers only slightly fragrant (not bad or good) and hard to even discern over the scent of the foliage once it is brushed up against. Plant in full sun to part shade and water occasionally. It can rejuvenate if foliage is frozen, tolerating temperatures down to about 16 °F and the rootstock is reported as hardy to as low as 5° F if the plant is mulched. This plant looks best if pruned hard and is often treated more like a perennial than a shrub. Does suffer occasionally from whitefly infestations in shaded gardens so keep any eye on this and wash off foliage as necessary. It is considered quite poisonous but poisonous plant references also note that domestic animals will not eat these offensively scented plants unless there is no other food available. For information on this please look at the "More Information" link below.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Melianthus major.