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Melianthus major

Honey bush

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Key information

Plant type

Tender perennial

Flower colour

Red, Brown


Flowers, Dramatic foliage



Skill level


photo by Howard Rice, copyright GAP Photos (23852)
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Plant details

Formerly grown as a greenhouse and conservatory foliage plant, this attractive shrub is almost hardy in very mild gardens if planted in a warm sunny border and given a protective mulch in winter. Usually it is grown for ornamental bedding purposes, either as a taller highlight among flowering plants, or in large pots as a patio foliage plant. If kept as a perennial, it needs a minimum winter temperature of 4-7C (40-45F), and may be propagated by division and basal suckers, as well as summer cuttings. It is easy from seed, however, as a half-hardy annual. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Family: Melianthaceae

Genus: Melianthus

Species: major

Plant type: Tender perennial

Flower colour: Red, Brown

Foliage colour: Grey

Feature: Flowers, Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Dry, Moist, Sandy

Hardiness: Tender

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 225cm

Spread: 200cm

Time to plant seeds: March to May

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