Claire Curran

Wildflower hybrids sans its original flaws

Sharon Cohoon,  – November 5, 2004

Bush monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus), a Pacific Coast wildflower, has a reputation for being persnickety and intolerant of garden conditions. But Rich Persoff, a hybridizer based in Alameda, has spent more than a decade correcting those flaws. In the process, he has increased the flowering capacity of the plant, reduced its legginess, and introduced new colors.

Three of his hybrids have been picked up by the Flower Fields, a new line of flowering plants started by Paul Ecke Ranch and Yoder Brothers, and are now in general distribution. Jelly Bean White and Jelly Bean Yellow are shown here; the third variety, Jelly Bean Apricot, has apricot colored flowers.

M. aurantiacus reaches 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 1/2 feet wide, and it grows best in Sunset climate zones 7-9 and 14-24. Give it full sun (light shade inland) and good drainage. Keep soil on the dry side and fertilize minimally.