Monkeyflowers are one of the most common native perennials in the hillsides of Southern California. The form you see most often is Mimulus longiflorus, also known as Mimulus aurantiacus, common names Southern or Sticky Monkeyflower, which has yellow-orange flowers. However, monkeyflowers can be had in many other colors; we are partial to Mimulus puniceus: the Southern Red Monkeyflower, which can be found in Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego counties.
The flowers of Mimulus puniceus are slightly smaller than other varieties, but the hummingbirds still consider it worth a visit. It forms a spray from 1' to reportedly 5' in height (ours are closer to 1'). It goes semi-dormant in winter, only to re-emerge in early spring, blooming through early summer. Although they are known as drought-tolerant plants for sunny locations, they'll also do well in light shade. They need careful pruning after flowering if you wish to maintain a good shape; though in general we've found them short lived (two to three years). After initially establishing an area devoted entirely to monkeyflowers in a variety of colors (including white, pumpkin and pink), we now feel they are better suited to being mingled in amongst other longer-lived evergreen plants.
You don't see Mimulus puniceus offered in nurseries very often; we grew the one you see above from seed we obtained from Theodore Payne. (Monkeyflowers are easy from seed, a cost effective way to go if you want lots of monkeyflowers scattered around!) Theodore Payne also offer a good variety of related plants (such as the maroon San Diego Monkeyflower, and their own ‘Payne's Red’ selection). Another beauty is the velvet red selection of Mimulus longiflorus var. rutilus (pictured below) from the Santa Susana Mountains (try Matilija Nursery or Tarweed Native Plants for this one – see our Nurseries page for info).