PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Honey Bush (Melianthus major) a.k.a. Honey Flower

This is one of our long-time favorite evergreen plants for shady spaces. It offers strong textures, dramatic structure, and beautiful blue/grey/green color in a dark corner of your garden or yard. It can handle quite a lot of sun too if you want it to grab attention in a brighter sunnier spot.

Though it is native to South Africa (known as kruidjie-roer-my-nie in Afrikaans), it is perfectly hardy here in the Puget Sound area. Over the years we’ve been growing it we have noticed that in an extreme cold snap (getting near 10 degrees F.) Melianthus will die back to the ground but the roots will send up new foliage as soon as late Spring weather warms it up again.

Most references to it indicate it will get 6-12 feet tall. In the Puget Sound area it will only reach about 2-3 feet. Maybe a titch more if it’s in a warm cozy space. We planted several in a front yard landscape in Tacoma’s north end 17 years ago and they are still there and still only 2 feet tall, though the patch of them has expanded a bit.

Oh, one more thing – rub the leaves and they smell exactly like peanut butter! You can even get a whiff of peanut butter if the plants are in direct sun on a hot day.