Honey Bush
Melianthus major

Family: Melianthaceae
Genus: Melianthus (me-lee-AN-thus) (Info)
Species: major (MAY-jor) (Info)

Category:

Shrubs

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Height:

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Spacing:

Unknown - Tell us

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Red

Brown/Bronze

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Evergreen

Silver/Gray

Smooth-Textured

Other details:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Huntsville, Alabama

Phenix City, Alabama

Berkeley, California

Castro Valley, California

Chula Vista, California

Clayton, California

Davis, California

El Dorado Hills, California

El Sobrante, California

Encinitas, California

Fairfield, California

Ferndale, California

Fort Bragg, California

Gilroy, California

Huntington Beach, California

Long Beach, California

Los Angeles, California

Reseda, California

Rosedale, California

San Diego, California (2 reports)

San Francisco, California

San Jose, California

San Leandro, California

Silverado, California

Solvang, California

Tracy, California

Vista, California

Brooksville, Florida

New Orleans, Louisiana

Deer River, Minnesota

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Ladys Island, South Carolina

Austin, Texas

Hallettsville, Texas

Bellevue, Washington

Puyallup, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Vashon, Washington

White Center, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

5
positives
0
neutrals
2
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Jan 8, 2013, Oxytone from Marina, CA wrote:

I give this a positive because at our old house, in the years it was in the ground, this was quick to shoot upward, but slow to spread outward. I never saw seedlings come up from the plant, and suckers only traveled a few inches from my plant. This plant is also very easy to grow from quite hefty cuttings, although it will take a while before those get established and vigorous.

I am growing this again at the new house, and it is growing in sand, and will not be kept moist year round (perhaps that's the key?). Either way, this is an attractive shrub with very silvery blue green foliage with a very architectural quality to the shapes of the leaflets (like regular saw teeth).

Melianthus can grow quite tall unless cut back. I had let my original plant grow stems... read more

Negative

On Jul 29, 2012, huntbeachgarden from Huntington Beach, CA wrote:

My plants are growing very well in Zone 10 - Coastal Southern California.

However, I am having continuous trouble with a sooty-like smudge on the tops and underside of the leaves. I did have a significant white fly infestation that is now gone by diligent use of soapy water.

Does anyone have any tips for getting rid of the sooty-like smudge on the leaves? If left untouched, the leaves nearly are covered within about 2-3 weeks.

Thanks, Paula

Negative

On Oct 23, 2011, baiissatva from Dunedin
New Zealand wrote:

zone nine, coastal otago new zealand.

Sorry to rain on the love-in about this nasty customer, and I don't hate many plants, but I detest this one passionately. It is a sneaky, toxic invasive weed in my large garden, here when we arrived and will probably survive the apocalypse- it'll ride in on it's own bloody horse alongside Famine and Pestilence!

Be very wary where you let this bugger go- it shows up all over, from dropped seed, tiny bits you missed, stray roots, suckers, you name it. Every spring it merrily creeps outward from a central redoubt, (tried to poison it but you can probably tell from my tone how successful that was) and would cover my half acre in a couple of years if left to it's evil devices.
It smells bad ( a nasty, gassy high pitc... read more

Positive

On Jan 2, 2006, growin from Beautiful, BC (Zone 9b) wrote:

Attractive serrated silver-green arching foliage on upright stems. The aroma of peanut-butter is a neat novelty. Prefers well-drained soil but enjoys a bit of water in the summer. Planted against a sunny wall, can usually expect it to survive winter. Seed propagation is very easy.

Positive

On Jul 9, 2005, StarGazey26 from (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant is so amazing! I love it alot, i planted it in my yard a few months back from a one gallon, it really hasnt grown much, but i noticed today that is started to shoot up new stems from the ground, i think it will be a nice bush when it fills in. I love the flower alot, it is very very nice and eye catching, the foliage is also eye catching..

Positive

On Jan 5, 2005, wnstarr from Puyallup, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Edgewood, Washington Got my plant from Heronswood nursery. It grew like crazy this past summer. I have it in a container now, am giving it protection form the extreme cold and wind. Possible that in the Spring will plant it in the ground near my hardy banana's .It so far has survived down to 24 degrees. Have been told to cut it down in the winter to get a bushier plant in the Spring, haven't done so yet. Thinking about trying to root the cuttings.

Positive

On Aug 27, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

There are 6 species of Melianthus, all of which are found in South Africa.

Kruidjie-roer-my-nie, which means herb-touch-me-not, is a well known plant in the south western Cape where it occurs naturally; usually along streams and roadside ditches.

The long flower-spikes grow out from the top of the stems in spring, rusty red flowers rise up above the leaves, followed by pale green, bladder-like pods containing the shiny black seeds.

In its native habitat it is used to make poultices and decoctions that are applied directly to wounds, bruises, backache and rheumatic joints.

Easy, fast growing shrub, prune for shape, attractive foliage, prefers sun with good drainage.