Plant Library

Honey Bush

Melianthus major

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Honey Bush (Melianthus major) at Green Thumb Nursery

Honey Bush in bloom

Honey Bush in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Honey Bush (Melianthus major) at Green Thumb Nursery

Honey Bush foliage

Honey Bush foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  8 feet

Spread:  10 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  8b

Other Names:  Honeybush, Peanut Butter Plant


A fabulous textured shrub with striking green and powdery blue foliage, arranged fern-like on arching stems; birds are attracted to the bold, nectar-rich red flowers in spring and summer; great for borders or containers

Ornamental Features

Honey Bush features showy clusters of fragrant dark red tubular flowers rising above the foliage from late spring to mid summer. It has attractive powder blue-variegated grayish green foliage. The serrated narrow pinnately compound leaves are highly ornamental and remain grayish green throughout the winter.

Landscape Attributes

Honey Bush is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other landscape plants with less refined foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season's flowers. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Honey Bush is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Honey Bush will grow to be about 8 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 10 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It may require supplemental watering during periods of drought or extended heat. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is not originally from North America.

Honey Bush makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Massing  Screening  Garden  Container 
Flowers  Foliage Color  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features