Giant honey flower
- Melianthus major : Giant honey flower
- Family : Melianthaceae
- Origin : South Africa
- Height in its natural environment : 2,50 m
- Rusticity : -6°C
- Flower colour: red/orange/brown
Size : 10 cm to 30 cm
Description of the plant
With the Melianthus, we take you into a whirlwind of scents and colors!
It is aptly named - "Melianthus" meaning the flower of honey - because its large floral stems give off a pleasant scent of honey. But your smell will also be titillated by its leaves, which exhale an odor between peanut butter and cocoa when crumpled.
It also offers a festival of colors, between its deep red-brown flowers and green decorative foliage with bluish metallic reflections.
The Honey flower is an easy to grow perenial tropical shrub, frost resistant, down to -7°C, and reach a wingspan of up to 3 meters. It is easy to maintain, is easily pruned and its masterful shape evokes that of a giant fern.
So, no more hesitation!
Also known as: Honey flower, Cape honey-flower, kruidjie-roer-my-nie, Touch me not plant, Honeybush, …
When you receive your plant, repot it in a pot slightly larger than the bucket, which must be well pierced. Avoid pot covers which prevent residual water from draining away and encourage fungal diseases. Choose a fine potting soil, ideally with added perlite or sand to lighten the substrate (do not use garden soil or acidic soil such as heather). Then plan two repottings per year (spring and autumn), gradually increasing the size of the pot and adapting it to the size of the root network (the roots must have room, but not too much as the plant must be able to dry out its substrate between waterings). This avoids having to add fertilizer, which always risks burning the fragile roots of the plants and making the plant wither as soon as the fertilizer is stopped.
Copious watering: when watering, the entire root ball should be wet, then wait for the substrate to dry on the surface before watering again. These plants are greedy in water, but you should not drown the roots either. Always water at the base of the plant, and do not mist it, because stagnant water in the armpit of the leaves favors cryptogamic diseases. If your atmosphere is too dry, put bowls of water nearby (above radiators for example), so that evaporation humidifies the air.
For an indoor planting
Your plant is best taken out in summer, full sun is perfect for it. It should be brought indoors in winter, and ideally placed in a warm and luminous place, like in a veranda or behind a window. It fears excessive humidity when temperatures are low, so avoid cold rooms. Attention: do not take it out and bring it in all the time, it should be taken out in good weather, then brought in when the cold weather arrives, because plants adapt their foliage to their environment, which should not constantly change. It often happens that plants lose their foliage when they are taken out and/or put in, don't worry, your plant will adapt and will emit its new foliage accordingly.
For an outdoor planting
If your climate allows it, you will be able to plant your plant in full ground, a full sun is recommended. We advise you however to cultivate it in pot the first year and to make it spend the first winter in the heat, in order to strengthen it well. Plant it between the end of the risk of frost (generally at the beginning of May) and the end of August, in a soil which must be light and draining; do not hesitate to add sand and fine potting soil if necessary. Be careful with the minimum temperatures indicated: they are given for a mature plant, and you have to take into account the wind which accentuates the cold felt, as well as the water retention capacity of your soil, which can rot the roots if it is not sufficiently draining. So take a little safety margin!
This plant can not be pruned If you feel that it is becoming too bulky, you can limit its growth by continuing to repot it and change its substrate but without increasing the size of the pot. If the root network becomes too important, do not hesitate to prune the roots.
Our plants are grown naturally, without chemical fertilizers, so we advise you to repot them regularly (twice a year) rather than adding fertilizer.
In case of pest attack
If your plants are under attack by aphids or other pests, the best way to control them is by hand. Change their soil, remove as many undesirables as possible by hand and then shower your plants with a strong stream of water to eliminate any eggs that may be present. Spray them (insist on the underside of the leaves) with liquid black soap diluted in water. Repeat the operation several times at a few days interval. Take them outside in good weather, rain, sun and wind will kill most of the aggressors!