Melianthus major

Melianthus major

Melianthus major is a most unusual shrubby perennial from South Africa. It has tall, unbranched stems with long, arching, blue-gray leaves comprised of serrated-edged leaflets, that look as if they have been cut with old-fashioned pinking shears. The foliage has a strange and rather unpleasant smell when handled, giving rise to one of its common names: touch-me-not! Other common names include honey flower and honey bush. It grows best in well-drained soil in full sun. It can grow to a height of 2-3 m in a single season and fills quite a wide space. I cut mine to the ground in late winter - left unpruned, they will produce mahogany-coloured tubular flowers in spikes in spring or early summer, but I prefer to sacrifice these for a more compact plant. In areas that experience light frosts in winter, it will die back to the ground naturally in winter like a herbaceous perennial; however, in very cold regions it may not survive through winter . Propagation is by seed or by basal or softwood cuttings in late spring. It sometimes gets attacked by white fly. After a number of years it may become very woody, and at this time it may be best to replace it with a fresh plant.