This is a wide-ranging group of plants with different needs. All have funnel-shaped, two-lipped flowers said to resemble a grinning monkey face—hence the common name.
Native to southern Oregon, California, and Baja California. Grows to 4 1/2 ft. tall and wide, with narrow, 1 1/2-in.-long, sticky dark green leaves. Buff-toned orange, 1 3/4-in. flowers bloom over a long spring-and-summer season. All subspecies thrive in full sun or partial shade, with little water.
More important than the subspecies themselves are the showy hybrids derived from them (often called Verity hybrids, after their originator). These plants grow 1–4 ft. tall and wide, with narrow, glossy dark green leaves that are sometimes sticky. Flowers are 1–3 in. long, in colors ranging from white and cream to yellow, orange, copper, salmon, red, and maroon.
Plant in full sun or light shade; give good drainage. Prune in spring before growth starts. Pruned again after first flowering, they often rebloom in fall—and, if given moderate water with good drainage, they may flower repeatedly throughout the year. Because plants are not long-lived, take cuttings of your favorites; they root easily in moist sand.Mimulus cardinalis
Native to dampor wet locales throughout much of the West. Grows to 2 1/2 ft. high and wide, with upright or sprawling stems and bright green, sticky leaves. Tubular, scarlet, 1 1/2–2-in.-long flowers bloom throughout summer. Give full shade in Zones 12 and 13, sun or shade elsewhere. Ample water.
Grows to 1 ft. high and wide, with smooth, succulent leaves. Flowers are 2–2 1/2 in. across, in colors including cream, rose, orange, yellow, scarlet, and brown, usually with heavy brownish maroon spotting or mottling. Mystic Mix series has virtually unspotted flowers. Sow in spring for summer bloom, or set out plants for an early spring show. Provide rich soil with high organic content, regular water, nd partial or full shade. Actually a perennial, this is most commonly grown as an annual.
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Only a few of the ten or so species are seen in gardens. One feature these shrubs have in common is sm...