Honey bush

Melianthus major

Honey bush - Melianthus major

Common Name: Honey bush
Genus: Melianthus
Species: major

Category: Non Hardy Perennials
Growth Rate: Average
Features: Has interesting foliage, A good architectural plant, Long flowering period

Hardiness: Half-HardyHeight: 3.00 m (300 cm)
Sun/Shade: Full sunSpread: 2.00 m (200 cm)

Foliage Type: DeciduousFlower Colour: Brown, Red
Foliage Colour: Green, Grey/SilverFlowering Period: May to July

Soil Type: Normal/Loam
Soil Moisture: Moist, but well drained

As they unfurl in early spring the spectacular grey-green leaves up to 50cm (20in) long reveal serrated edges that look as though they have been cut with pinking shears. This dramatic architectural shrub makes a stunning specimen for a sunny perennial border or exotic-style garden in warmer areas of the country. In hot summers it sends up curious tubular reddish-brown flowers, but it is the wonderful foliage that stops you in your tracks. To stop it getting leggy, it is best cut back in early spring and the plant will make up to 1.5m growth in one season. To minimise the risk of frost-damage it's important to provide a dry winter mulch. It is quite late into leaf in spring so you do need to be patient but you may be surprised by the amount of growth it will put on late in the year.

  • Garden Care: Water frequently until established and apply a generous mulch of well-rotted manure or garden compost around the base of the plant in spring. Although it is a shrub, this plant is best treated as a perennial and cut down to within two or three buds from the base in early spring. It will shoot back from the base. Protect with a dry winter mulch of straw or bracken especially in cold winters.