In the genus Melianthus are a handful of evergreen shrubs from the hilly grasslands of Africa that make good border, specimen, or greenhouse plants. The small flowers are sometimes oddly scented. They hold great quantities of nectar, hence the common name of “honey bush.” The foliage makes an architectural statement in the garden. Greenhouse plants can be moved outside in summer.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsEvergreen. Nectar-rich flowers that attract hummingbirds. Good for coastal gardens.
CareIn the garden, choose a sheltered site in full sun with moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil. Melianthus won't tolerate excessive winter moisture. Indoors, grow in full light and low humidity; water sparingly in winter.
PropagationStart seed indoors in spring at 55° to 64°F, or root basal or softwood cuttings in late spring or early summer.
ProblemsIn the greenhouse, watch for spider mites and whiteflies.