From the Greek mimo, ape ; the flowers were thought to look like a mask or monkey’s face (Scrophulariaceae). Monkey flower, monkey musk, musk. A genus of hardy annual, half-hardy perennial and hardy perennial plants, grown for their showy flowers. They are found in many temperate parts of the world, particularly in North America.
Species cultivated Annual M. brevipes, to 2 feet, yellow flowers, summer. M. fremontii, 6-8 inches, crimson flowers, summer. Hardy perennial M. x burnetii, 1 foot, yellow, spotted bronze ; var. duplex flowers double. M. cardinalis, cardinal monkey flower, 1-2 feet, red or red and yellow flowers, summer. M. cupreus, 8-12 inches, flowers yellow to copper-red, summer; cultivars include ‘Monarch Strain’, 1 foot, various colours ; ‘Red Emperor’, 6 inches, scarlet flowers ; ‘White-croft Scarlet’, 4 inches, bright orange-scarlet flowers. M. guttatus (syn. M. langsdorfii), 1-1.5 feet, yellow, red spotted flowers, summer. M. lewisii, 1-1.5 feet, red or white flowers, late summer. M. luteus, 1.5 feet, yellow flowers, summer. M. moschatus, monkey musk, 9 inches, yellow flowers, summer. M. primuloides, 2-3 inches, creeping habit, yellow, June and July. M. ringens, 2 feet, violet to white flowers, summer. M. variegatus, 1 foot, blotched flowers, summer, best grown as a half-hardy annual. Cultivars include ‘Bonfire’, 9 inches, orange-scarlet flowers; ‘Queen’s Prize’, 9 inches, white, cream and yellow, blotched red flowers.
Cultivation Annual species do best in moist, shady positions, though they will grow in sunny places provided the soil is sufficiently moist. Propagation is by seed sown under glass in a temperature of 55-65°F (13-18°C) in spring. The seedlings are pricked out, and gradually hardened off, finally in a cold frame, before being planted out at the end of May or the beginning of June. The hardy perennials grow well in sun or shade, provided the soil is moist. They should be planted, from spring to early summer. Propagation is by seed sown from spring to early summer in a temperature of 55-60°F (13-16°C), by cuttings of young growths inserted in sandy soil at almost any time, in a temperature of 55-65°F (13-16°C) or by division of established plants in spring.
How to Grow Mimulus