Melianthus major

Honey bush

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Key information

Plant type

Tender perennial

Flower colour

Red, Brown


Flowers, Dramatic foliage



Skill level


Melianthus major

Plant details

Formerly grown as a greenhouse and conservatory foliage plant, Melianthus major can be grown outside in mild regions. It has spectacular, grey-green leaves with deeply serrated edges, and occasionally tubular, red-brown flowers in summer. It makes a dramatic statement in a sunny, sheltered border or exotic garden scheme. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Grow Melianthus major in well-drained soil in full sun, ideally against the shelter of a south-facing wall. Alternatively grow it in a container, which you can move indoors in autumn. To stop it getting leggy, cut back in early spring. Protect from winter frost.

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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