Yellow monkey flower – planting, care and tips

The flower of a yellow monkey flower
The flower of a yellow monkey flower © CC BY-SA 3.0,

Yellow monkey flower is a versatile and richly flowering plants. Many species delight the gardener with a preference that other plants tend to avoid: their roots love moisture. From May to November, they form a colored flower surrounding at the pond. But they also feel extremely comfortable in the bed and pots. What else do you need to cultivate them, apart from „wet feet“?

Profile of yellow monkey flower:

Scientific name: Mimulus luteus

Plant family: lopseed family (Phrymaceae)

Other names: yellow monkeyflower, monkey musk, blotched monkey flowers, blood-drop-emlets

Sowing time: from March indoor

Planting time: after the frost in May

Flowering period: May to September

Location: sunny to partially shaded

Soil quality: sandy to loamy, nutrient rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: pond planting, water garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 7 (-18 °C / +5 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of yellow monkey flower

Plant order, origin and occurrence of yellow monkey flower

The yellow monkey flower (Mimulus luteus) is a very blooming perennial in a water garden. The plant belongs to the lopseed family (Phrymaceae) and originally comes from Chile, where it thrives on banks and on wet meadows. It is also assigned to the monkey-flowers and musk-flowers, genus Erythranthe as Erythranthe lutea.

Characteristics of yellow monkey flower


The yellow monkey flower grows upright to a height of 30 to 40 centimeters (12 to 16 in).


The green leaves of the yellow monke flower appear broadly ovate to oblong. They are sawn at the edge and are 2 two to 3 centimeters long (0.8 to 1.2 in).


The flowering period of the yellow monkey flower extends from June to September. During this time, it opens the golden-yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers. The red spots, which emphasize the inside of the flower, are characteristic. Up to six flowers can sit on a stem.


After flowering, Mimulus luteus develops capsule fruits with numerous seeds.

Yellow monkey flower – cultivation and care


The yellow monkey flower is a plant with few demands. It tolerates both sunlit and partially shaded places. The main thing is that it gets enough moisture. It is therefore suitable for many spots in the garden. If the yellow monkey flower gets a suitable location, it shows gratitude and thrives splendidly even with minimal care.

  • suitable as an underplant
  • develops well even in damp locations
  • ideal for the design of waysides
  • likes places under evergreen shrubs
  • compatible with marsh marigold and swamp forget-me-not
  • do not place container plants in the direct midday sun

This flower is often chosen for planting pond edges. Where other plants are sensitive to moisture, most types of yellow monkey flower feel at home. By all means, its root can stand in the water. They owe this to their natural distribution area, which is in the immediate vicinity of streams and rivers.


When it comes to soil moisture, no general statement can be made. Everything depends on the variety chosen. The numerous types of yellow monkey flowers are sometimes very different from each other. In this genus, most species love moist soil, some even like waterlogging. The specimens, which like it particularly wet, therefore like to grow on bank areas or directly in the pond. If you choose one of these types for your garden, you have to offer this moist environment so that it can grow well. But there are also yellow monkey flowers that thrive well in normal garden soil. A few species even manage with dry soil. When buying a yellow monkey flower, ask how much moisture it needs. Then you can prepare the right place for it from the start. Mimulus planted in the bed like plenty of compost.

Yellow monkey flower (Mimulus luteus)
Yellow monkey flower (Mimulus luteus) © CC BY-SA 3.0,

Planting the yellow monkey flower

The yellow monkey flower can be planted directly in the bed or in a bucket, but it must then be watered more often on warm days. Ideally, planting should take place after the frost in May, when the days are warmer and frost is no longer to be expected.

  • Before planting, immerse the root bale in a bucket of water until it is soaked
  • Mix the soil with compost
  • Plant the flowers about 20 to 30 cm apart (8 to 12 in)
  • Press the soil firmly
  • Water the plants with plenty of water
  • Spread a layer of mulch around the root area to protect the flowers from drying out

Note: Unlike most plants, the yellow monkey flowers growing in the tub do not need a drainage layer so that the water can drain off. On the contrary, their roots like it moist.

Planting on the edge of the pond

Many varieties of yellow monkey flower can be planted in moist ground or directly in the pond. With aquatic plants, it is important not to add compost, since the nutrients get into the water and cause algae growth. It also makes sense to control the strong and uncontrolled spreading of the yellow monkey flower by placing a few large stones around it as a boundary. 10 cm (4 in) is the ideal depth if the yellow monkey flower is to be planted in the pond. However, this depth is not suitable for all plants. The riparian zone is often the more suitable place. In winter, young plants need cover for winter protection.


All species that like to dip their roots in damp earth need regular watering. The soil dries out quickly, especially when the location is exposed to strong sunlight. Then the lost moisture must be replaced. Watering will be necessary in the summer, during a hot period it may be necessary to use the water hose or watering can twice. Never let the root area of these species dry out. Container plants need more attention because the soil dries out faster.


The juggler likes to get regular nutrients. Fertilize the plants about once a week with liquid fertilizer. This recommendation applies to all species, but caution is advised for flowers growing in the pond. The fertilizer cannot be administered there specifically only to the yellow monkey flower. The plant cannot immediately take up all the nutrients with its roots. The water-soluble fertilizer would be distributed in the entire water of the pond and thus also reach other pond plants. But not all plants benefit from an excess of nutrients. It leads in particular to the algae bloom, which no garden lover welcomes. Here fertilizers should be avoided.


With the yellow monkey flower, cutting is hardly in demand as a horticultural measure. Only the hardy, multi-year varieties should be cut back after flowering. All other varieties do not need a prune. Only if you want to promote new flowers, it is helpful to remove faded flowers regularly and promptly. When the flowering period comes to an end, some withered flowers can be left. The seed can then ripen so that new plants can emerge from it in the next gardening year.


By sowing

The easiest way to propagate the yellow monkey flower is by sowing. Seeds can be bought in specialist shops or gathered from your own plants. A distinction must be made here between pure species and hybrids. With the latter, it could happen that no or only weak seedlings will sprout.

  • March is the best month for growing
  • in the mini greenhouse or on a warm window sill
  • only lightly cover the seeds with soil
  • the earth must remain moist throughout, but not too wet
  • germination temperature is optimal between 12 and 15 °F / 54 and 59 °F
  • germination takes place after about 2 weeks
  • prick out 4-week-old seedlings
  • it only takes about 4-5 weeks to flower

Tip: Store the seeds in an airtight container, which is stored in a cool, dark and dry place.

By cuttings

Yellow monkey flowers can also be easily propagated by cuttings. The best season for this is spring.

  • from the mother plant, cut about 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 in) long cuttings that are vigorous
  • remove any flowers that are still on it
  • remove most of the leaves as well. Only 3 to 4 leaves at the tip of the cutting can remain
  • put the cuttings in pots with potting compost
  • place the pots in a warm and bright place
  • keep the soil moist but not too wet

Note: The cuttings can be placed in a glass of water before planting in the soil until sufficient roots have formed. However, this is not a must for the propagation to succeed.

By division

The perennials of the mimulus form a strong root ball over the years. This is suitable for propagation by division. The best time for this technique is early spring when it is no longer freezing. A healthy plant is carefully dug out and cut into several pieces with a sharp knife or spade. It is important that each part has its own shoots and buds. Each individual piece is then planted in a new place in the bed after the soil has been enriched with compost and horn shavings. Finally water in plenty. When planting on the edge of the pond, there is no need to add organic fertilizer or water it.

Diseases and pests

The yellow monkey flower is a thoroughly healthy flower. It is very resistant to diseases. The biggest pest of the yellow monkey flower is the snail, here in particular the nudibranch. This plant seems to be a real delicacy for them. Anyone who knows about the voracity of the slimy animals is well advised to take appropriate measures at an early stage. These include, for example, snail nematodes, which are best placed in the bed before planting the yellow monkey flower.

Container plants can be placed so that they are difficult to reach for the snails. In addition, there are numerous ways to combat these pests and every gardener has their preferred methods. Among other things, the following should help:

  • Coffee grounds scattered around the plant
  • Collect snails diligently and consistently
  • Plant communities with plants that contain tannins and bitter substances
  • Snail fences and snail collar
  • Slug pellet
  • Coarse mulch


The monkey flower is not just a type of plant. This name hides a genus of plants with more than one hundred and fifty species. When buying your yellow monkey flower, ask about the type. This also answers the question of winter hardiness. Annual juggling flowers do not have to be overwinterd, they are sown anew every spring. They usually sow well by themselves if some flowers are left to seed.

Non-hardy varieties can be excavated from the earth and composted in late autumn. The following year, they are easily increased again by sowing. It is therefore very practical to sow this beautiful flower again and again and to save yourself the hassle of wintering. If you have a good winter quarters available, you can still try overwintering.

  • a basement room is ideal
  • the room should be cool and dark
  • must be frost-free
  • from March the plants will be taken out of the cellar and get used to light and warmth in another room
  • From the middle of May the yellow monkey flowers can go outside again
  • get used to the sun slowly outside

Hardy plants are cut off near the ground in autumn and covered with a protective layer of leaves, mulch and brushwood. Here, too, sowing is often the more labor-saving method for the new garden year.

Tip: The well-known yellow monkey flower is an annual species. However, it propagates diligently through self-sowing. Planting out once is enough and you can enjoy it every year.

Use in the garden

Mimulus luteus is ideal for moist riparian zones in the water garden. Because of their large and long-lasting flowers, you should ensure that they are clearly visible. Yellow monkey flowers look most beautiful when they are in larger groups on the water’s edge. Grasses such as rushes, bulrushes or sedges serve as a green frame.

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