Melianthus

Family: Melianthaceae
Common Name: Honeybush

Native to South Africa, these large, unusual shrubs are grown for their luxuriant foliage, although the leaves have an unpleasant smell if bruised. They have a suckering habit so their spread may need to be controlled. The flowers, which have calyces filled with nectar, are borne on long spikes in spring and summer. The fruit is contained in a seed bag which bursts when squeezed. Melianthus is generally suited to large gardens only.

Species

M. major is a sprawling shrub, with a height and spread of 2-3 m (6-10 ft), which makes a striking accent plant. The luxuriant foliage is grayish green and the tubular flowers are a brownish red colour. The nectar-rich flowers are very attractive to birds.

Cultivation

In climates with hard frosts, grow in pots of soil-based potting compost in a cool greenhouse. They can be stood outside for the summer. Outdoors, grow in a sheltered, sunny position. Propagate from seed or softwood cuttings in spring, with bottom heat for both.

Climate

Zone 9.

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Melia      Melicytus