The name "monkey flower" comes from the physical appearance of the flowers or from the name mimulus, stemming from a root word meaning "mimic." In either case, the low-growing flowers are a good way to brighten up the shade.
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Description of monkey flower: Mimulus forms neat, compact mounds seldom reaching over 10 inches in height, but spreading wider. The open-faced flowers are frequently painted with contrasting color markings on the background of yellow, pink, red, burgundy, and other warm-hued tones.
Growing monkey flower: Mimulus is not frost-tolerant, but prefers cool weather. It will thrive in moist soil, even in boggy conditions with occasional flooding; it will also bloom beautifully in dappled shade. Plant out after all danger of frost has passed, spacing plants 6 inches apart. Work a slow-release fertilizer into the soil at planting for feeding all summer. Where keeping an even soil moisture level is a problem, a mulch is suggested. Deadheading spent flowers occasionally will improve their appearance.
Propagating monkey flower: By seed. Sow seeds indoors 10 to 12 days prior to planting outdoors. Do not cover the fine seeds. Germination takes 7 to 14 days at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Uses for monkey flower: Mimulus thrives nears ponds, pools, and streams. Grow it in shady borders and, because of its small stature, in front of a border or as an edging. Mimulus is also a perfect container plant. It will bloom indoors under cool conditions (and high indoor light).
Monkey flower related varieties: Calypso is a mixture of many colors of 2-inch flowers, both solids and marked bicolors. Malibu is another mixture in shades of red, yellow, and orange. Viva is a single variety with yellow flowers marked with bright red.
Scientific Name for Monkey Flower:Mimulus hybridus
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