PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Monkey Flower (Mimulus spp)

Monkey Flower species are native all over the globe from Australia to Africa & North America including in the Pacific Northwest! They have evolved and adapted to a huge range of ecologies. Because of this, the genus Mimulus is being used as a reference model for evolutionary processes. No pressure, though. You Monkey Flowers can just go on being cute.

The Pacific Northwest one is Mimulus guttatus, or Yellow Monkey Flower. In the wild, it is typically found near streams, springs, and other moist areas. It can also be found near seasonal wet areas that go dry in summer, so it works well in an urban rain garden. We grow this one as well as Scarlet Monkey Flower (Mimulus cardinalis) which is native from central California to Northern Mexico in the same type of ecology.

Flowers open continuously for a couple of months in late spring to mid summer, take a break, and do it again. They spread by rhizomes and seed into a carpet of 6-24 inchdowny leaves and stems topped with exotic looking orchid-like blooms. It is not a plant for a very tidy organized garden. It’s best put where it can get its wild thing on. Its happy place is some shade and some sun but will grow nearly anywhere.

Pollinators love it. While we were snapping the photo of the Scarlet one, a hummingbird buzzed down and hung 6 inches from the camera, peeping a challenge for ownership of the blooms! Bumblebee butts are also cute sticking out of the tubular flowers.