Cheerful monkey flowers will leave you smiling
Monkey flowers are native to California, southern Oregon and Baja California.
The plant’s funnel-shaped, two-lipped flowers are said to resemble grinning monkey faces, and come in a wide range of colors. Monkey flowers also have narrow, dark green, sticky leaves an inch and a half long.
Las Pilitas Nursery in Santa Margarita, which specializes in growing and propagating California native plants, maintains the distinction between the two genera: Mimulus and Diplacus. But “The New Sunset Western Garden Book” only acknowledges the genus Mimulus.
Plants in the Mimulus genus are not very drought tolerant.
Some Mimulus species are annuals that appear only when there is a source of constant moisture. They are more herbaceous and often shorter.
Plants in the Diplacus genus, which are woody and grow upright, like dry rocky slopes. They can grow in almost solid rock with very little moisture, and will often survive drought by going deciduous during the summer.
Here are some varieties to seek, plant, and enjoy:
Plants which have yellow flowers include Conejo, Topanga, Creeping Monkey, Ramona, Rock and Clevelands.
Slender is yellowish-orange and Lompoc is light orange.
Light-colored monkey flowers include Southern, which is nearly white, as well as white Long Flowered and cream-colored Agoura Spunky Monkey.
Susana is brick red and Red is, well, red. Scarlet has red flowers and soft, light green foliage.
And there’s good news for gardeners who worry about deer enjoying their plants more than they do. Deer do not appear to favor these plants.
Monkey flowers come in a wide range of colors.