Melianthus Major


Common Names: giant honey flower



Family: Melianthaceae

Origin: South Africa

Type: Evergreen shrub

Size: 8 ft. high, 14 ft. wide.

Flowers: Red-brown 1 in. flowers on 1 ft. spikes, late winter, early spring; leaves are 1 ft. long, gray-green, with toothy leaflets. Leaf odor offensive when rubbed.

Uses: Color and shape accent, tropical garden, screen.

Wildlife: Nectar attracts pollinating hummingbirds and other birds such as orioles.

Soil: Tolerates most, but likes rich well-draining soil.

Water: Low to medium.

Sun: Full sun to some shade; shade in heat.

Pruning: Prune for desired shape: low and sprawling to upright and tall. Cut back old canes yearly.

Pests & Diseases: Relatively free of pests and diseases. Watch for spider mites and whiteflies. 

Notes: This sap is toxic, but leaves have been used as a poultice for wounds and backache by natives. Spreads by sucker roots. Hardy to 20° F.