Mimulus flowers

A large group of hardy and half-hardy annuals and hardy perennials, usually grown as annual bedding or container plants in the UK. One of a few useful bedding plants that can tollerate moist soil and light shade. Several of the hardy species make good marginal plants.

Family: Phrymaceae (lopseed family)
Botanical Name: Mimulus
Common Names: Musk, Monkey Flower, Diplacus

Foliage: Oval shaped, shallowly toothed bright green leaves.

Flowers: Colourful trumpet-shaped flowers borne in succession throughout the summer. Available in a good range of bright or pastel shades. The throat is often mottled or spotted.

Flowering Period: June-September.

Soil: Moist fertile soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Sun or partial shade. Best grown in an east or west facing aspect, in a sheltered location.

Habit: A low growing, branching bush of broadly spreading habit.

Type: Half-hardy annual or short lived perennial.

Origin: Chile

Hardiness: Hardy to half-hardy in the UK (depending on variety).

Planting and Growing Mimulus

Monkey flowers thrive in semi-shade shade, in a deep moist, humus rich loam. Dislikes dry conditions.

Suitable for damp beds, bog gardens or shaded containers. You can also use Mimulus for summer bedding in shady places such as a north-east or north-west facing side of the house.

Although they can be grown from seed, it is often easier to buy ready grown plants from a garden centre or nursery in the spring.

Taking Care of Mimulus

Keep soil slightly moist at all times. Water regularly during dry weather and water container grown plants daily.

To improve flowering, apply an all-purpose flowering plant food (slightly higher in phosphorus and potassium) every few weeks, or use a slow release form. Do not over fertilize.

Hardy forms can survive several years outside in a sheltered position, if protected from the worst of the winter weather.


Pinch back young plants to make them more bushy.

Deadhead regularly to extend the flowering period.

Pests and Diseases

Susceptible to attack by slugs and snails. Can be affected by powdery mildew.

Propagating Mimulus

Sow seeds user glass in seed trays at the beginning of April, at a temperature of 13 to 16°C (55-61°F). Do not cover seeds. Prick out and pot on once seedlings are large enough to handle. Harden-off before planted out at 10 to 14in apart, around the end of May.

Popular Varieties of Mimulus

Mimulus Bonfire a fast-growing perennial which is suitable for adding rich colour to the margins of a pond. For sale at Crocus.

Mimulus cardinalis produces pretty tubular vivid red flowers that bloom throughout the summer. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.

Mimulus 'Calypso' (F1 Hybrid) is a summer bedding plant bears an abundance of flowers in shades of red and cream. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.

Mimulus x cultorum 'Major Bees' produces exotic, yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers, mottled with red markings, which bloom between June and August. Suitable for planting in borders or containers in shaded areas. Height and spread to 20in (50cm). For sale at Van Meuwen.

Mimulus cupreus is a marginal aquatic form that produces flowers in shades of red, orange, yellow and brown, depending on variety.

Mimulus x hybridus 'Monkey Magic' (F1 Hybrid) is a tender perennial (grown as a annual) which bears large pure white flowers, splashed with vibrant red spots, from early summer. Height 6-9in (15-23cm). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.

Mimulus 'Leopard Print Mix' is a tender perennial (grown as a annual) with exotic colours and orchid like bicoloured blooms from June to August. For sale at Van Meuwen.

Mimulus luteus a fast-growing free-flowering perennial with yellow spotted flowers. Ideal for establishing around the margins of a pond. For sale at Crocus.

Mimulus Masterpiece produces an abundance of large, uniquely spotted flowers, in contrasting hues of pink, yellow, orange and white, from May until the First Frosts. For sale at Gardening Direct.