Corydalis - Growing Guide

Corydalis - Growing Guide

The Corydalis which we grow are tuberous or rhizomatous perennials with tubular flowers in profusion above the foliage. The flowers each have four petals; the outer pair with a spur and reflexed tips and the inner pair incurved to cover the stamens and style.

These plants are hardy but have differing seasonal lifestyles and prefer to be grown in semi shade in moist but well drained soil.

C. lutea is a mound forming evergreen perennial with a long succession of golden yellow flowers from late spring to early autumn. This species readily self-seeds itself in between pavement slabs and in gravel drives. It is a European native plant and will naturalise itself widely in your garden before you know it. The car parking space outside our house in the Isle of Wight is subject to just this sort of, rather attractive and welcome, invasion. It is easy enough to pull or dig a bit to start your own. C. lutea, if left unchecked, will grow to 12-15in in height often with a spread of three times this.

C. flexuosa has a rather different lifestyle with summer dormancy. After flowering in spring and early summer before it dies down completely for a rest. It has a fibrous root system with small bulbils which can be lifted and moved in the autumn. The flowers are a brilliant blue and this colourful display ensures the widespread popularity of this plant. It grows to around 12in tall with a smaller spread.

C. temulifolia ‘Chocolate Stars’ is very different again. The foliage starts a pale green in spring and then turns rust brown in winter. The lilac-pink flowers appear in March through to May.


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