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The Plant Guide

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Honey bush

Melianthus major

mel-ee-AN-thus MAY-jor Audio

Honey bush has attractive, 12- to 20-inch-long pinnate leaves with sharply toothed silver-green leaflets. It bears spike-like racemes of oddly scented brownish crimson to brick-red flowers from late spring to midsummer.

CareGrow in fertile, moist but well-drained soil. Shelter from cold and wind, and protect from excessive winter moisture. Where not hardy, grow in a cold greenhouse and plant or stand outside in summer. Or treat as a perennial; it will resprout annually from the base where temperatures do not fall below 23°F.

PropagationRoot basal or softwood cuttings in late spring or early summer.

ProblemsSpider mites and whiteflies under glass.

  • Genus : Melianthus
  • Zones : 10, 11, 8, 9
  • Plant Width : 3 to 6 feet
  • Plant Height : 6 to 10 feet
  • Uses : Containers
  • Characteristics : Fragrant Flowers, Showy Foliage
  • Light : Full Sun
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Flower Color : Red
  • Plant Type : Shrubs
  • Bloom Time : Spring, Summer
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest

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