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Clusters of showy tubular blossoms and soft fernlike foliage make corydalis a standout plant for shade gardens. Its flowers appear in spring, then the plant virtually disappears (leaving room for summer bloomers) until the following spring. This plant adds a colorful, cascading component to containers and hanging baskets.
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Part Sun, Shade
1 to 3 feet
From 1 to 2 feet
garden plans for Corydalis
Typically a soft shade of blue-green, corydalis' intricate compound leaves give the plant a soft, airy feel that contrasts beautifully against shade plants with coarser textures, such as hostas. In spring and early summer, corydalis sports clusters of small, showy blossoms held above the foliage. The flowers' wide variety of colors—creamy white, yellow, purple, pink, red, and blue—is somewhat unusual for shade-loving plants.
Corydalis Care Must-Knows
Corydalis grows best in humus-rich, consistently moist but well-drained soil. It also likes lightly sun-dappled conditions that resemble woodlands, especially in hot summer climates. South of Zone 7, this plant's growth may slow down or even stop. In the Pacific Northwest's cool summer climate, on the other hand, corydalis may bloom all summer long and well into fall. Too much shade results in lanky plants and sparse flowers. Letting corydalis sit in water risks rot.
Most corydalis species enthusiastically self-seed, sometimes almost to the point of being viewed as weeds. Young seedlings are easy to remove and transplant to more desirable spaces. Divide clumps every two to three years in the spring—understanding that as corydalis gets older, it dislikes being disturbed.