The plant got its name "mimulus" from the Latin word "mime", i.e. "Clown", because of the bright, variegated and changeable color of flowers. Many gardeners call mimulus the flower of the monkey for the similarity of the flower with the grimaces of monkeys.
About 150 species of mimulus are known in nature. Most of them are perennials, but in culture they are cultivated as annuals.
Mimulus hybrid (Mimulus x hybridus) - It is a strongly branched herb up to 25 cm high with light green leaves jagged along the edges and numerous, rather large tubular flowers with a musk smell, which are collected in racemose inflorescences at the ends of the stems.
The flowers are shaped like a snapdragon, enlarged several times. The corolla of the flower is five-membered, the upper lip is dicotyledonous, and the lower lip is three-lobed, protrudes noticeably forward, for which the flower was called "lipstick".
The color of the flowers is very variegated - white, red, pink with spots and stripes of various colors. There is also a variety of plants with double flowers. The seeds of the sponge are very small, much smaller than a poppy seed, dark and light brown.
Today, many new varieties and hybrids of mimulus have been bred, which are distinguished by very large bright flowers. For example, in the F1 "Viva" hybrid, the flower diameter reaches 6–8 cm with a plant height of 25–30 cm.
Mimulus are unpretentious, they like loose, nutritious, moist soils containing peat. They grow well in the sun and in the shade, in damp and even swampy areas. However, if possible, it should be borne in mind that direct sunlight is still contraindicated for them. Therefore, it is best to place them on an area in light partial shade, for example, in a patio or on a balcony.
One of the very important advantages of mimulus is its relatively high cold resistance; in autumn, during flowering, it tolerates frosts down to -3oC.
Mimulus multiply by sowing seeds for seedlings at the end of April in a light sandy soil, slightly pressing and not sprinkling them. The landing container is covered with glass and placed in a lighted place. At a temperature of + 15 + 20 ° C, seedlings appear in 8-12 days. Seedlings in the phase of 2–3 true leaves dive into pots 5–7 cm in diameter. Seedlings are planted in open ground in early June with a distance of 15–20 cm between plants.
Mimulus also reproduce vegetatively by cutting them in the summer. Cuttings take root fairly quickly when placed in soil with a high sand content and covered with plastic wrap.
The flowering of plants begins at the end of June and lasts until September. The first stage of flowering lasts several weeks. Then the plants must be cut short and watered with liquid compound fertilizer. Soon, they will grow new shoots, and the second wave of flowering will begin.
In order for the plants to bloom for a long time and abundantly, they must be fed 2-3 times in the summer with complex fertilizer and watered abundantly, especially during the dry period.
Too elongated plants are cut, after which they quickly grow back and bloom again. And the resulting ovaries are plucked out, otherwise the plant will begin to spend all its strength on the development of seeds and will stop blooming.
Mimulus can be planted in flower beds, in rabatkas, rock gardens. They are widely used as a ground cover plant. Due to its very bright flowers, mimulus is often planted separately, without accompanying plants.
Mimulus looks very good in containers, vases, balcony boxes. In a container, they grow well on a mixture of humus, leaf, turf, peat and sand (3: 2: 1: 1: 1) with good drainage.
But the main value of these plants is that they can be used to decorate a shady garden, as well as wet areas near water bodies, on which other annuals cannot always grow.
Among other things, mimulus, being perennial plants, can successfully overwinter in a room if necessary.To do this, in the fall, the bushes are transplanted into small pots, completely cut off and transferred to a room on a cool, well-lit windowsill.