Plant Profile: Corydalis Lutea

corydalis lutea

Corydalis lutea, growing in a foundation crack in profusion.

Yellow Corydalis, (or Corydalis Lutea) an early spring blooming perennial that naturalizes in the hardest places is a must have in my garden. It sports a yellow froth of flowers for literally weeks in early summer. It will self-sow in the craziest places, seeming to have a mind of its own. One place it grows near me is in the crack between a house foundation and driveway. The leaf litter that collects in the crack creates a rich, but tiny flowerbed where it thrives. It happily blooms its head off in that spot for what seems like half the summer. It’s best in a semi-shaded location, and enjoys getting some sun at some point during the day.

The trick to getting it to naturalize where you want is to sprinkle the seed heads in places you’d like it, and then hope it likes the location too. It can be fussy about where it grows, but once it’s happy, it will come back bigger and better every year. I planted three starter container grown plants in my garden. I knew that the original plantings may not persist, and that self-sown baby plants would position themselves in spots that they preferred. You can try transplanting, but is generally best to let the seeds sow themselves rather than trying to transplant the baby plants.

The finely cut, slightly blue-green leaves are another lovely feature of this plant. It looks delicate, but is hard to kill. It pairs well with hostas and other foliage plants, adding a fine texture from the leaves, season round. It’s great for a cottage garden, rock garden, or woodland garden. Make sure you add this one to your list for next spring.

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