Melianthus major

Great big bluey-grey saw edged evergreen leaves, dark red flower spikes and a strong aroma of peanut butter. It prefers plenty of light and reasonably well drained soil. In colder gardens, it'll get cut back by the frost but will re-grow in the spring. Always benefits from a bit of grooming from time to time - usually by just removing bent, brown and broken bits. In mild gardens where the frost doesn't control its size, it might get too big and leggy after a couple of years so never hesitate to cut back to near ground level in the spring for a better, more compact looking plant.

This plant has the curious habit of putting on a noticeable growth spurt in the autumn - between October and December. Is that because it comes from South Africa and therefore thinks the autumn is the spring? If it does, it's the only southern hemisphere plant I know of that behaves like that.

For information and ideas on winter protection go to 64. Wrapping for Winter in the Glossary of Terms

Propagated by us by seed gathered in South Africa

Features Hardiness rating

Hardy in Atlantic Seaboard gardens, The Channel Islands, gardens in Central London (and other large cities) and conservatories.

This is only meant as a guide; there are some plants with red labels that would only survive in extremely favoured spots such as The Isles of Scilly or coastal south-west Ireland.

We're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.

Coastal, Conservatories, Exotics, Herbaceous, Evergreen, Pots, Soil - Clay, Soil - Dry/Well drained, Space & Light Red

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