My Corydalis lutea

Corydalis Lutea in the erly spring at Sensensible Gardening and Living

You might be wondering why on earth I posted this picture. Well, I do have a good reason. One of my favorite plants that I grow is Corydalis lutea. A somewhat unknown plant that is seldom found in the nursery trade, at least around here. It all started when I was introduced to Corydalis Blue Panda, a striking plant with gorgeous gentian-blue flowers. I fell in love with the blue tones and promptly planted one in my garden. Naturally it died.  It’s not that it is particularly difficult to grow but as you’ve heard me mention before, my garden sits on a a sand hill and is extremely dry and hot. Even though I placed Blue Panda in the best spot I had and gave it the shade it needed under a large tree, it never really stood a chance.

Sensible Gardening and Living
Sensible Gardening and Living

Some time later I found Corydalis lutea in a small local specialty nursery. A small 4 inch pot with a tag showing the same lovely fern foliage as Blue Panda and similar flowers only a very bright yellow. I was not as attracted to the yellow as I was the blue but loved the plant anyways and figured I had nothing to loose. I prepared a special little growing hole for it under the same tree and waited. It held its own producing a few flowers then when the weather got hot it promptly turned yellow and disappeared under the ground, no doubt never to be seen again.

Summer and fall passed and I never gave the plant much thought. Out of sight out of mind I guess. The following early spring as I was raking up around that area, I noticed a bulging reddish growth and upon inspection realized that my plant was returning in a big way. I was amazed at the amount of new growth emerging and how healthy it was. In the next few weeks this plant continued to grow and flower, becoming one of the most beautiful spring flowers in my yard. For several years now this plant has intrigued me and I thought others might enjoy watching along with me. I plan to post a photo about every 7-10 days to follow its progress.

Should you become interested in this plant here are some facts and information that should prove useful.

Corydalis lutea is a rhizomatous, mound-forming perennial with fern like arching pale green leaves. Bluntly spurred, 3/4 inch long golden yellow flowers bloom in early spring.  This species requires a period of dry dormancy in summer and protection from excessive winter moisture. Likes partial shade and moderately fertile well drained soil. It grows about 16 inches high and equally wide in zones 5-8.

It’s always good to remember that in any plant Genus there are usually several different species, and just because one species is not suitable for your garden site does not mean that the other species will not be suitable either.



14 thoughts on “My Corydalis lutea

  1. you are the second person to post on this plant this week! I love it!
    Thanks for linking in today…I hope you will again soon….Happy Easter friend!
    I have shared your post on the tootsie time facebook page

    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

  2. C. lutea seeds itself around in my garden. It’s easy enough to pull if it grows where I don’t want it. It’s actually an old plant. The old garden writers called it fumetory.

    Yellow bleeding heart is Dicentra scandans. It’s a vine.

  3. Yellow Corydalis self-seeded itself in my spring garden, returning every year to bloom with Daffodils. The foliage gives it away so I don’t pull it out when I’m pulling chickweed.

  4. Thanks for mentioning the common name Pam. I knew there was one but I just couldn’t think of it:)

  5. I just love when that happens! I’m looking forward to seeing its progress. I would think the Pacific Northwest would be a perfect place for it. I’ve seen in at a nursery in Raleigh but it always looks just awful and disappears once the weather gets hot. So it’s a no-go in my garden.

  6. I too have lost I don’t know how many blue Corydalis, I don’t intend to kill any more! One which is very happy and has been for years now is Corydalis solida Beth Evans which has been flowering in the garden here all through February and March, despite our freezing temperatures. Will look forward to seeing your yellow one!

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