Every year, like almost all flower growers, I plant new annuals, dreaming of an unprecedented, brightest and most unusual flower garden.
Last season, I staked on undersized Mimulus and made the right decision.
As a botanist, I imagined this plant from the Norich family, but as a florist I met him for the first time. It was all the more interesting to observe how strong plants grew out of fragile seedlings, on which then multi-colored two-lipped gramophone appeared. There were so many color combinations that it makes no sense to list them, take a better look at the photos.
According to one version, the name of the genus Mimulus means "little mime, magician" and comes from the Latin word mime. According to another version - from the Latin mimo - "monkey" (the shape of the flower's corolla resembles the muzzle of a mischievous monkey). At home, in America, he is called so - monkey flowers. In Russia, for irregular flowers - with the upper lip bent back and the lower, capriciously pushed forward - it is called a lipstick. In addition to spots, the flowers are decorative, creating a velvety effect on the lower lip. But it's not just about beauty, all this "makeup" is very important biologically, as it shows insects the way to nectar.
The genus Mimulus includes about 120 annual and perennial species. On the market, however, most often there are mixtures of hybrid mimulus (Mimulus x hybridus), the parents of which are several species and, above all, mimulus tiger, or speckled. True, some varieties have recently been sold - for example, Viva with yellow, Magic Spots with creamy white, Calypso with red-orange flowers (only the main background color is indicated, not the color stains).
Especially for hanging baskets, the British bred an ampelous variety Brass Monkeys with bright orange flowers. It grows well and blooms profusely in the shade throughout the summer, and most importantly, it perfectly tolerates the dryness of the substrate.
The seeds are very small, just dusty, in 1 gram there are up to 7000 pieces! It is impossible to evenly distribute seeds over the surface of the substrate, therefore, a pick will be required in the phase of 2-3 true leaves. Mimulus is sown in March-April in boxes, which are necessarily covered with glass or foil to maintain moisture. At a temperature of 15-18 °, seedlings appear in two weeks. It is better to moisten seedlings from a spray bottle - they are very delicate. But they develop quickly, and by the end of May, when it is time to plant seedlings in flower beds, young plants bloom.
Mimulus can be propagated not only by seeds, but also by cuttings. Shoots easily give adventitious roots, it remains only to cut off and plant new plants.
The literature indicates that mimulus is photophilous, but it can also develop in partial shade. In my garden, I gave him a spot on the lawn curb. From the south and west, the plantings were covered with a house and trees, so there was not even partial shade here, but a thick shadow, especially since it was often cloudy last summer. In addition, droplets of rain constantly flew from the gutters laid along the roof of the house, which directly fell on the flowering plants, which they liked.
Mimulus bloomed very profusely until the end of June, but gradually the smaller flowers moved to the top, and the stems lodged. And the neat bushes turned into careless rugs with rare small flowers on the top. The border became unkempt, the plants had to be cut off and fed with complex fertilizer in order to induce re-flowering (a fairly well-known method of prolonging the flowering of some summer plants).
Many Russian firms buy seeds abroad. At the same time, unfortunately, the original brand names of the varieties are not always printed on the bags. It is good if a translation into Russian is given instead of them, but often the “names” are simply made up. And it happens that the same variety is sold under different names.
The result exceeded my expectations. A week later, young shoots appeared, on which buds began to stand out. The secondary flowering was more abundant and longer than the primary one. Only the first frosts stopped the flowering of Mimulus. Based on my experience, I advise you to cut the plants without waiting for the complete loss of their decorative effect, then you will admire the blooming carpet until the end of summer.
Mimulus is good not only in flower beds. It can also be used as a container plant, planting it in flowerpots and boxes on the north side of the house, but in this case, constant and abundant watering is required.
Another sponge - yellow (Mimulus luteus) - can be planted as a summer plant on the banks of a decorative reservoir, where it bears fruit well and easily spreads by self-sowing.
Mimulus bushes can also winter in the room. To do this, in the fall, the selected plants are transplanted into pots, cut to almost zero and placed on cold, light windowsills.
© Matt Lavin
Author: O. Signalova