Few plants can boast such heart stirring, true blue flowers, as Corydalis flexuosa
Clusters of those brilliant sky blue blooms, all shimmy fetchingly in even the slightest breeze.
All making Corydalis flexuosa an enchanting plant.
Vivid flowers plus beautiful foliage
Lacy bright green, fern-like foliage is the perfect foil for such vivid blue flowers on Corydalis flexuosa.
(Please see “Growing” section below for full details)
The flowers also have a sweet scent, wafting on warming air as they bloom from late winter well into spring.
They can also re-bloom in autumn as the soil moistens.
Vivid colour in Shade
Corydalis are perfectly adapted to shaded gardens. Making them natural companions for planting under trees and shrubs.
Because this is exactly where they grow in the wild.
So Deep Shade to 1/2 Shade, and Dappled Shade under trees and shrubs, are ideal for them.
Corydalis are also wonderful for pots in the shade, because both the foliage and flowers are pretty enough for a feature.
They actually take well to confinement in pots and troughs, as long as regular water is available.
So a drip system, or wicking pot makes it all very easy.
Easy low care in the shade
Because they require no pruning or deadheading, and are virtually disease free.
Growing: Corydalis flexuosa
– Height with flowers: Blooms to 30cm. approx. while the foliage forms a neat cushion beneath.
– Width: Clumps to a diameter of 30-45cm. approx. Plant in multiples to form a lovely groundcover in the shade.
– Position: Deep to 1/2 Shade, including Dappled Shade and Woodland positions.
– Soil: Corydalis enjoy humus rich soil, as their natural home is amongst the leaf litter under trees and shrubs, in woodlands. They therefore prefer soil with a slightly acid pH. So they make perfect companions for Rhododendrons and Camellias.
– Frost: Very frost hardy, withstanding frosts to well below -10C.
– Fragrance: Sweetly scented flowers.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Bees adore the tubular flowers, because they know they are rich in pollen and nectar.
– Care: Very easy low care if planted in Shade. No maintenance work is required other than normal garden watering. Corydalis flexuosa is ignored by virtually all pests and diseases, and is not a favourite of slugs and snails unless you have a very heavy infestation.
– Rabbit & Deer resistant: Rabbits and deer seem not to care for it.
– Growth: Corydalis are evergreen perennials, with the foliage forming a dense cushion. However do not be alarmed if the foliage disappears for a little while during very hot summer periods. This summer dormancy is a natural defense against excessive heat. They will then re-sprout when the weather cools, often re-blooming with this new autumn growth.
– Origin: Corydalis are native to woodlands in Sichuan Province, China, where the Pandas roam.
Pandas & a missionary
– A cleric who loved flowers more than his mission: Corydalis were first brought out of the Panda forests of China in 1865, by an intrepid French missionary, Pere Armand David . But Pere David was reputed to have been more fervent about botany than his missionary duties. Certainly he collected more plants than Christian converts whilst in China. But he did meticulously send all his specimens back to the Natural History Museum in Paris. When the gardening elite of Paris first saw these gorgeous blue flowers, of course they were smitten. But no Corydalis plants were available and so they became a legendary “holy grail” of gardening. Then live plants were re-discovered again in 1989, when wildlife researchers accidentally stumbled across Corydalis while looking for Pandas in the forests of Sichuan. So Corydalis ‘Blue Panda’ was released onto the gardening world during the 1990’s, and unsurprisingly it was an immediate sensation.