This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Community Favorites, 75 can't-fail, easy-care plants well-adapted to our region and recommended by local gardeners.
Brick red monkeyflower
Mimulus aurantiacus 'Brick red'
Size: Under 3 feet tall
Bloom season: Summer, early fall
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Pruning needs: Little or none; prune to shape
Water needs: Once established, water deeply once a week
Snapshot: Descended from a favorite California native, this hybrid offers lots of large brick-red flowers throughout the summer and into fall. Its distinctive flowers which reminded early botanists of little smiling monkey faces attract hummingbirds and beneficial insects. This perennial grows into a small shrubby mound, covered with flowers. It prefers good drainage and sandy soil. It combines well with many Mediterranean plants such as lavenders and salvias. You can see specimens in the arboretum's Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants on the UC Davis campus.
Why it's a Favorite: "A great summer bloomer!" said arboretum volunteer Kathy Olson. "I love the soft, brick-red color of the flowers."
Read more about the Arboretum's 75th anniversary at http://arboretum75th.ucdavis.edu/. For more on the Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars, click on http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu. Don't miss the arboretum's fall sale, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at the arboretum teaching nursery on Garrod Drive.