Monday, January 5, 2015

Honey Bush

A small genus of shrubs native to southern Africa.
Overgrown or ragged plants can be cut to groundlevel.
It is not prone to pests or disease.

* photos taken on Aug 15 2014 @ Rawlings Conservatory, Baltimore, MD

Melianthus major ( Giant Honey Bush )
A perennial, reaching up to 4 feet, or in very mild climates it is an evergreen shrub, reaching up to 10 x 10 feet. It is native to southern Cape Province in South Africa. It is among the most attractive of foliage plants.
The pinnate leaves, up to 12 inches in length, are blue-green.
The deep red flowers are borne on upright clusters during late winter into early spring in mild climates. The flowers attract hummingbirds.
Hardy zones 8 to 11 ( 7 if the roots are protected with a deep mulch during winter ) in full sun to partial shade on well drained soil. It is drought tolerant.

* historical archive photo

'Antonow's Blue'
Reaches up to 8 x 8 feet, with intensely powdery-blue foliage.

'Purple Haze'
Compact and dwarf in habit, reaching up to 3 x 3 feet.
The foliage is purplish-blue.


  1. I planted 2 Melianthus major plants last year i eastern Poland. The Winter wasn't harsh but a week of frost of -17C without snow cover was supposed to kill the plants which got only little protection of spruce twigs and earth. Few cold Winter accents appeared later but with snow cover.
    The plants survived and are happily growing. After one year it's too early to tell the plant can be grown in zone 5/6 tho'.

  2. Thank you for the review! It is great news to hear this beautiful plant is far hardier than I would have ever imagined.