Connecticut Garden Journal: Bring The Wild Corydalis To Your Garden

Mar 8, 2018

While we plant spring flowering bulbs to naturalize in our meadows and woods, there are some naturally occurring ones that you can just help along. Corydalis is a tuberous plant that forms a carpet-like, ground cover of pink or white blooms each spring.

Corydalis is a poppy family wildflower related to bleeding hearts. It grows wild in open areas but also can be cultivated in the garden. The most common and hardiest type has pink or white flowers.

I often admire a stand of this beauty under a grove of maple trees near our home. The foliage is deeply serrated and looks like a fern leaf bleeding heart. The small flowers resemble larkspurs and bloom in abundance.

Corydalis loves to spread. Once happy in a part shade location it can self-sow and create a carpet of color in a few years.

While the pink or white flowered Corydalis solida is most common there are other beautiful colored versions. Corydalis lutea has bright yellow colored flowers and blooms all summer.

The same is true of the striking Blue Panda -- Corydalis elata. A friend had some in a container last year and they were stunning. Unfortunately, the yellow and blue corydalis aren't as hardy as the wild ones.

Plant corydalis under deciduous trees, in shade gardens or shady rock gardens. They like an organic soil with a neutral pH.

You can help the wild ones move around by dividing the plants after flowering. Usually they self-sow so readily, though, that stopping them from moving is more the issue! Weed out seedlings in spring to slow their progress.

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about crocus. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.