Mimulus: monkey flower
Height 15-30cm (6-12in)
Planting distance 23cm (9in)
Flowers early summer to mid autumn
Sunny or lightly shaded site
Mimulus is a large genus of mainly perennial garden plants but one species and its varieties is grown as a half-hardy annual — Mimulus cupreus. This produces(said to resemble the face of a grinning monkey) in great profusion from early summer until mid autumn — bright red, orange and yellow blooms.
The annual monkey flower is one of the few bedding plants to tolerate light shade and flourish in damp soil. It is useful for filling window-boxes and hanging baskets out of the sun or edging lightly shaded borders.
Several varieties are available: ‘Calypso Mixed’ has robust plants, to 30cm (1ft), bearing a mass of orange, yellow, burgundy and pink flowers singly or in bi-colours. ‘Magic’ is early-flowering, in a mixture of bright red, orange, yellow and crimson, as well as pink, pale yellow and several bi-colours. Height 15cm (6in). ‘Queen’s Prize Strain’ has flowers in mixed colours with some mottled or spotted. The plants reach 30cm (1ft) high. ‘Red Emperor’ has dazzling scarlet-red flowers and reaches 15cm (6in) high.
Sow the seeds under glass in early spring and keep at a temperature of 13-16°C (55-61°F). When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into boxes. Harden off in a cold frame before planting out in late spring to early summer.
Monkey flowers grow in any moisture retentive soil, in sun or light shade.
Pests and diseases