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Corydalis (ko-RID-uh-lis)

Common Name:  Corydalis

Light:  - Part shade to full shade

Soil:  Rich, well-drained

Moisture:  Average

Blooms:  Early to mid summer

Zones:  3 - 7


Corydalis 'Blackberry Wine'

Corydalis lutea

Corydalis Description and Cultural Information

Corydalis cheilanthifolia, ferny corydalis. 12". This corydalis has foliage resembling a delicate leafed fern. Bright yellow flowers appear in the spring. Plants come back readily from seed. Zones 5 - 6.

Corydalis elata, blue corydalis. 16". This upright corydalis has fragrant, cobalt blue flowers in May and June. Unlike C. flexuosa it does not go dormant in summer. Zone 4 - 8.

Corydalis flexuosa, blue corydalis. 12". Blue corydalis is a wonderful plant, as long as it is happy where it is growing. Plants often go dormant in the summer. Flower colors range from blue to purple with names like 'Blue Panda', 'Blue Dragon', and 'China Blue'. Zones 5 - 7.

Corydalis lutea, common corydalis. 12". This is the most common corydalis. It has lacy foliage and bright yellow flowers in early summer. 'Alba' is a white version. Zones 3 - 7.

Corydalis scouleri, purple corydalis. 20". This corydalis is a wide spreading plant in cool, moisture retentive soil. It has purplish flowers above finely divided, lacy leaves. 'Blackberry Wine' is a selection with nice purple flowers from spring to frost and 'Berry Exciting' is a yellow leaf form of 'Blackberry Wine'. Zones 6 - 8.

How to Grow:  Corydalis are very rewarding plants if grown under the proper conditions. They prefer cool temperatures and fertile, very well-drained soil in part sun. They are best suited for the Midwest and the West Coast so long as the winters aren't too severe. Some corydalis are prolific self seeders, especially Corydalis lutea. Corydalis elata is a slowly creeping plant that prefers rich, moist soil for best growth. Corydalis 'Blackberry Wine' is a vigorous grower and has shown considerable heat and drought tolerance making it a potential candidate for Southern gardens but it is only hardy to zone 6.

Landscape uses:  Corydalis is a wonderful spring and summer shade plant. Combine it with spring bulbs and perennials such as Tiarella, Dicentra, and Mertensia, or with hostas and ferns. Corydlias lutea is an excellent spreader from self-sown seedings and works great as a groundcover in dry shade.

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