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Plants for Your Pond – Monkey Flower


M. luteus

Habit: marginal or pondside annual

Height: 6-12″

Spread: 12″

Hardiness: half-hardy or tender annual

It is always useful to have annual plants that provide color and fill spaces around perennials and shrubs that haven’t yet reached their mature size. Monkey flower is ideal for this purpose; it loves the moist conditions of a pond.

Two other species – M. luteus, with yellow flowers, and M. ringens, with pale mauve or blue flowers – are hardy perennials in most of the Pacific Northwest but don’t flower as prolifically as the hybrids. Both grow in shallow water.


Monkey flowers prefer light shade or partial shade with protection from the afternoon sun. Too much sun can make them straggly and unattractive. The soil should be fertile, humus rich and moist – don’t let it dry out.


These flowering annuals can be used to add color around the edge of your water feature or to brighten a bog garden. In ideal conditions, they will bloom for most of summer.


M. x hybridus

M. x hybridus (hybrid monkey flower) is a bushy, low, branching plant. The many cultivars offer flowers in bright and pastel shades ranging from orange, yellow and cream to burgundy, pink and red. Bicolors are also available.

Problems & Pests

Downy mildew, powdery mildew, gray mold, whiteflies, spider mites and aphids can cause occasional problems.

Excerpt from Water Garden Plants for Washington and Oregon by Mark Harp & Alison Beck, 2008, Lone Pine Publishing International Inc.