How to Grow Mimulus Plants

Guide to Growing Monkey Flower, Muskflower, and Monkey Musk

Although members of Mimulus are half hardy or hardy perennials, they are usually grown as half hardy annuals in the garden.

Mimulus plants range in height from 5 to 90 cm (2 to 36 inches). When in bloom, they carry tubular freckled flowers of orange, red, yellow, and pink.

Mimulus nanus
Mimulus nanus - Dwarf Purple Monkey-flower by Matt Lavin; creative commons.

Their range in size makes specific species ideal for growing in the rock garden, or for use in a garden border.

Mimulus cardinalis
Mimulus cardinalis - Cardinal Monkey flower by Marlin Harm.

Some common names for members of Mimulus include Monkey Musk, Monkey flower, and Musk.

Commonly Grown Mimulus Species Photographs and Plant Identification

Mimulus aurantiacus

Mimulus aurantiacus syn. Diplacus aurantiacus

Mimulus aurantiacus
Mimulus aurantiacus (Sticky Monkey-flower / Orange Bush Monkey-flower), photograph by Serres Fortier; CC.

Mimulus aurantiacus, commonly known as Sticky Monkey-flower or Orange Bush Monkey-flower, is a charming perennial plant native to North America. It features beautiful tubular flowers in shades of orange and has a delightful musky fragrance. Growing up to 3 feet (90 cm) in height, it adds vibrant colors to gardens and landscapes during the blooming season.

To cultivate Mimulus aurantiacus, provide a suitable growing environment. Choose a spot with full sunlight or light shade and ensure the soil has a slightly acidic to neutral pH level between 5.5 and 7. Keep the soil moist and well-drained, providing regular watering to prevent drying. This species can withstand temperatures in zones 7 to 10. Deadhead the faded flowers to encourage continuous blooming. With proper care,

Mimulus ringens

Mimulus ringens
Mimulus ringens (Allegheny Monkeyflower / Square-stemmed Monkeyflower), photograph by Fritz Flohr Reynolds; CC.

Mimulus ringens, commonly known as Allegheny Monkeyflower or Square-stemmed Monkeyflower, is a captivating perennial plant native to North America. It showcases striking tubular flowers in various shades and has a unique beauty. Growing up to three feet (90 cm) in height, it adds a touch of charm to gardens.

To cultivate Mimulus ringens, provide the ideal growing conditions. Choose a location with full sunlight or light shade and ensure the soil has a slightly acidic to neutral pH level between 5.5 and 7. Keep the soil consistently moist and well-drained, providing regular watering to prevent it from drying out. This species can thrive in zones 3 to 9. Deadhead the faded flowers to encourage prolonged blooming. With proper care and attention,

Mimulus guttatus

Mimulus guttatus
Mimulus guttatus (Seep Monkeyflower / Common Yellow Monkeyflower), picture by Andrey Zharkikh; CC.

To nurture Mimulus guttatus, provide it with full sunlight or light shade. It prefers moist, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH level between 5.5 and 7. Regular watering is essential to keep the soil consistently moist. This species can be grown in zones 3 to 10. Deadhead the flowers to promote continuous blooming. With proper care and attention,

Mimulus Plants Made Simple: Essential Tips for Beginners

If you're new to gardening and interested in growing Mimulus plants, also known as Monkey Flowers or Muskflowers, I'd be happy to guide you through the process. Mimulus plants are fascinating half hardy perennials that are commonly grown as annuals.

They can grow anywhere from 0.4 to 36 inches (2 to 90 cm) tall and produce beautiful, vibrant flowers in shades of yellow, magenta, purple, orange, red, and pink. These flowers have a delightful musky fragrance and resemble snapdragons.

Mimulus plants are native to different parts of the world, including North America, Eastern Asia, Australasia, and Southern Africa. However, don't worry about their origin—they can be grown in various regions.

Annual varieties are suitable for zones 3 to 10, while perennial types thrive in zones 3 to 9. These plants typically bloom during spring, summer, and/or autumn, so they'll add a burst of color to your garden during those seasons.

Now, let's dive into how to get started with growing Mimulus plants. You have two options: sowing the seeds directly outside or starting them indoors. If you choose outdoor sowing, which is simpler, wait until the end of winter and plant the seeds with a spacing of 2 to 36 inches (5 to 90 cm) between them.

On the other hand, if you're up for a bit more of a challenge, you can start them indoors. Mix the Mimulus seeds with a growing medium, place them in a sealed bag, and keep them moist. Then, pop the bag in the fridge for three weeks to stratify the seeds.

After this "chill time," you can expect the seeds to germinate in about one to three weeks at a temperature of around 70°F (21°C). Start this process two to three months before the last frost date and transplant the seedlings outside once the danger of frost has passed.

Mimulus plants are not too demanding, but there are a few factors to consider for their well-being. They prefer full sunlight or light shade, so find a suitable spot in your garden accordingly. As for the soil, aim for a slightly acidic to neutral pH level between 5.5 and 7.

It's important to provide rich and moist soil for these plants, so they can thrive. To retain moisture and protect them during winter, apply a layer of mulch around the plants. Regular watering is essential to keep the soil consistently moist, so make sure to water them whenever the top inch of soil feels dry.

Another helpful tip is to remove faded flowers, or "deadhead," which will encourage the plants to produce more blooms and prolong the flowering period.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also propagate Mimulus plants by taking stem cuttings in the spring. It involves carefully selecting a healthy stem, removing a few leaves from the bottom, and placing it in a suitable growing medium until it develops roots.

Remember, gardening is a continuous learning experience, and even experts are constantly discovering new things. Enjoy the journey and observe how your Mimulus plants thrive in your unique gardening environment.

Mimulus Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Monkey Flower, Muskflower. Monkey Flower: Sticky; Purple; Cardinal Pink; Hard wooded; Congdons; Scarlet; Bolanders; Roundleaf; Slenderstalk; Cutleaf.
Family: Phrymaceae.
Life Cycle: Half hardy perennial. Perennial commonly grown as a half hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: 0.4 to 36 inches (2 to 90 cm).
Native: North America, Eastern Asia, Australasia, Southern Africa.
Growing Region: Annuals: zones 3 to 10. Perennials: zones 3 to 9. As they are half-hardy perennials, Mimulus are typically suitable for growing in the UK's milder regions (H3). Be aware that they may require some winter protection in colder areas.

Flowers: Spring, summer and/or autumn.
Flower Details: Yellow, magenta, purple, orange, red, pink. Snapdragon-like. Tubular. Lipped. Musky fragrance.
Foliage: Oval. Lanceolate. Sometimes slimy. Sometimes toothed. Downy.

Sow Outside: Surface. Towards the end of winter. Spacing 2 to 36 inches (5 to 90 cm).
Sow Inside: Mix seeds in a growing medium, place in a freezer bag, keep moist, then stratify by refrigeration for three weeks. Germination time: one to three weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Two or three months before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.

Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Soil pH 5.5 to 7. Rich soil. Moist soil. Winter mulch. Regular watering to keep soil moist. Deadhead. Propagate: cuttings in the spring.

Pests and Diseases: Mimulus plants may encounter pests like aphids and spider mites, which can cause damage to the leaves and affect plant health. Controlling these pests using insecticidal soap or neem oil can help maintain the well-being of Mimulus plants.

How to Grow Monkey Musk and other Mimulus in the Garden

When growing monkey musk and other Mimulus plants outdoors from seed, they should be sown on the surface towards the end of winter.

Musk likes to grow in sunny areas of the garden, though in very hot area they prefer partially shaded areas in the afternoon.

The soil that Mimulus plants grows in should be moist and rich, with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (6 to 7).

If starting Monkey Musk species indoors, then the process should be done about two to three months in advance.

The Mimulus seeds initially should be imbibed by placing the seeds (within soil) in a plastic bag, then placing in the fridge for three weeks.

Seeds should then be sown out into the light, at a temperature of 21 to 25 Celsius (70 to 77°F). They usually take from one to three weeks to germinate.

Mimulus seedlings should be transplanted following the last frost of spring, at a spacing of 15 cm (6 inches, small Mimulus species) to 30 to 90 cm (1 to 3 feet, larger varieties).

Caring for Mimulus Plants

Once growing Monkey Musk and other Mimulus plant species are easy to look after.

They require to be watered regular to ensure that the soil is moist at all times. Their flowers should be dead-headed before they have chance to set seed.

For the winter, it is best to apply mulch to protect the plants if growing as a hardy perennial. If you require more plants then Musk can be propagated by dividing in the springtime.

Further Reading and Resources

Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) - Growing Mimulus primuloides Plants

Missouri Botanical Garden - Mimulus ringens Plant Information

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Mimulus plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Monkey Flower, Gaillardia, Iris, and Monkey Orchid plants.