Corydalis Plant: A Complete Guide To Grow & Care for Corydalis

Seven Secrets of Success

 1. How and when to Corydalis Plant: tubers are planted in the second half of summer or in September, seedlings are planted in May.
 2. Caring for the corydalis: the flower needs timely watering and feeding, as well as weeding.
 3. Useful properties : the medicinal properties of the plant are recognized in folk medicine, but it must be used with caution – the flower contains many toxins.
 4. When it blooms : Different plants bloom throughout the spring months and June.
 5. Top dressing : the flower responds positively to the use of organic fertilizers. 
 6. Transplant : Corydalis transplant is carried out during the rest period.
 7. Reproduction: Corydalis plant reproduces by seeds, division of rhizomes and daughter nodules.

            Botanical name : Corydalis Plant.

Family . Poppy .

Origin where Corydalis plant grows. The plant is widespread in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. The largest number of species grows in China, where they are located in the highlands.


Description – what it looks like.  The corydalis genus includes about 300 plant species, among which there are both perennial and annual.

The flower has an underground brown, oblong – oval tuber with numerous, diverging roots. The tubers are used to store nutrient reserves, it is interesting that they are hollow inside. 

In some varieties, tubers are renewed annually – a young one appears inside the old tuber, the source of nutrition for which is the remnants of the old.

Stems are erect, slender, bear complex, multiply dissected green leaves.


The leaves are arranged on long petioles alternately and consist of 3 – 5 segments. The edges of the leaf plates can have both large, sharp teeth and a rounded surface.

During the flowering period, vertical peduncles are formed at the tops of the shoots . The flowers are slightly drooping, bright, reaching a length of 3 cm, collected at the top of the peduncles in large inflorescences – brushes, consisting of 10 – 30 buds. 

The color of the flowers includes white, yellow, blue and blue, purple and red, as well as pink. During the flowering period, many varieties of Corydalis have a pleasant aroma.

After flowering, oblong seed pods appear with small dark colored seeds with a glossy surface. 


Height . Depending on the specific species, the height of the plants can vary from 10 to 120 – 150 cm.


Varieties and types of corydalis:

All varieties and species can be divided according to their habitat into mountain, forest and desert. By the type of root formation – tuberous and rhizome.

Forest varieties include dense, hollow, Kashmir, Marshall, yellow, Ledebura, noble, bracts, deceptive, spaced, Turchaninov, Bush.

Mountain Corydalis – Alpine, Chinese.

Corydalis  dense  or Haller -Corydalis solida

 A widespread variety in horticultural culture, on the basis of which many modern varieties and hybrids have been bred. Represents compact plants up to 15 – 30 cm high with dissected leaves with rounded segments.

 The inflorescences are large – they consist of about 20 buds. Comes from Central and Western Asia, Europe.

Corydalis dense or Haller

Corydalis solida Beth  Evans

 Blooming perennials up to 25 cm high with delicate, light green leaves and large pink buds. The center of the flowers is often colored lighter, pink.

Crested Beth Evans

Corydalis ‘George Baker’

 Small bushes grow up to 15 – 30 cm and during the flowering period they throw out peduncles with large inflorescences of bright and large flowers of a red or pink hue.

Corydalis 'George Baker'

Corydalis yellow – Corydalis lutea

 The Corydalis lutea is quite a large corydalis, widespread in Europe. It is a decorative perennial with emerald green leaves and small inflorescences on the tops of the shoots. The buds are painted in a bright yellow shade. The flowering period can come at any time from May to September. Corydalis lutea reaches a height of 30 – 45 cm.

Corydalis yellow

Corydalis hollow – Corydalis cava

Most often used in traditional medicine. Plants are native to Turkey, Iran and the Caucasus. Early flowering perennials up to 15 cm in height. Plants of this species need cool stratification during seed propagation. When grown outdoors, may be prone to rot. 

Corydalis hollow

Corydalis  Marshall  – Corydalis marschalliana Pers.

 The corydalis subspecies is hollow, characterized by cream or pale yellow flowers. In its natural habitat, it grows in the Balkans, Crimea, the Caucasus and north-west Iran.

Crested Marshall

Corydalis dubious or deceiving – Corydalis ambigua

 Early flowering plants originating from East Asia. Plants of this species are believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. The bulbs of this flower are eaten by the population of the South Kuriles and Sakhalin.

Corydalis dubious or deceptive

Corydalis noble – Corydalis nobilis

The second name is rotten root. Plants are native to Siberia, they are also found in Kazakhstan. Bushes reach a height of about 50 cm and are characterized by very compact, dense inflorescences, consisting of several dozen yellow – white buds.

Corydalis noble

Corydalis  sinuous –  Corydalis Flexuosa

 Perennial herbaceous plants originating from the mountainous regions of China. Bushes reach 23 cm in height and during the flowering period, they adorn themselves with tall peduncles with violet-blue flowers. 

The most common cultivar derived from this variety is the Blue Panda. Plants of this variety have lush inflorescences, consisting of several dozen graceful, thin at the base of the flowers of an azure-blue hue.

Corydalis sinuous

Corydalis intermediate – Corydalis intermedia

 Spring-flowering perennials up to 10 – 20 cm in height come from Finland, where they grow in forests. One of the smallest varieties with delicate lilac or pink buds.

Corydalis intermediate

Caucasian Corydalis -Corydalis caucasica

 Early flowering perennials with dissected leaves in segments with rounded edges. During the flowering period, the bushes adorn themselves with lilac, pinkish or white flowers.

Caucasian Corydalis

Corydalis  large – Corydalis bracteata

 Compact primroses up to 20 cm high with bright green openwork foliage and large buds painted in all shades of yellow.

Corydalis large-flowered

Corydalis  Bush  – Corydalis buschii

 Siberian variety, the bushes of which adorn themselves with flowers in May. The foliage is openwork, light green, beautifully contrasts with large lilac or pinkish flowers, collected in high clusters.

Crested bush

Corydalis  serpentine  – Corydalis ophiocarpa

 The main difference from other species is that the plants remain evergreen throughout the year. Bushes consist of spreading, abundantly branching at the base of the shoots with delicate, lacy leaves. During the flowering period, forms long inflorescences with yellowish flowers.

Corydalis serpentine

Planting and Care for Corydalis in The Open Field

The forest varieties of the Corydalis plant are best grown and acclimatized in the middle lane – these flowers of the rack endure rather severe winters, welcome a penumbra planting, and are not picky about watering. With mountain plants, everything will be much more complicated.

It is worth purchasing tubers in flower shops only those that do not have signs of rot, mold and mechanical damage. They should be tight to the touch. 


Since flower varieties develop in their natural habitat under different conditions, such conditions should be provided when growing a flower in a garden. Alpine varieties should pick up a sun-drenched area or plant them on an alpine slide. Such primroses develop well in rocky ground, on a slope.

Forest dwellers already need partial shade – the direct sun can burn their delicate leaves. Such crested beetles will appreciate perfectly drained soil with a lot of organic matter and nutrients.

An area with shallow groundwater or a lowland flooded with melt water is not suitable for any type of flower. The soil for all varieties should have a neutral or slightly acidic pH reaction. 


When and How to Plant Corydalis

Corydalis Plants are planted in open ground in the second half of summer or during September. At this time, you can purchase dormant tubers. If such planting dates are met, the tubers have time to adapt to new conditions and build up the root system before the onset of frost. In addition, new, young shoots are formed in the tubers in the autumn months, which will appear in the spring.

It is not recommended to plant flowering bushes in another place – the plants spend too much energy on the formation of buds and transplantation can damage them.

If tubers need to be stored for some time before planting, then this should be done so that they do not lose precious moisture. The tubers are placed in a cool and fairly humid room, sprinkled with wet river sand or shifting with sphagnum well-moistened with moss. 


The plot is prepared in accordance with the needs of the plants – they loosen the soil and remove the weeds. Leaf and turf humus are mixed into the soil for forest beauties. 

Crushed stone and coarse river sand are added to the substrate for mountain plants – these materials will help remove excess moisture from the roots and prevent the soil from quickly caking.

Planting holes are prepared depending on the planting scheme and the final size of the bushes – the distance between the holes will be approximately equal to the height of the plants. 

As a general rule, the larger the tubers, the deeper they should be planted and this depth will vary from 5 to 15 cm. Also, the planting depth in dense clay soil can be reduced, while the tubers can be placed a little deeper in light soils. 


Before planting, it is worth deciding where the tubers are at the top and where the bottom is. The sprouts usually emerge from the flat part, while the roots grow from the convex part. If you confuse the top and bottom, then usually nothing terrible happens – just shoots will appear a little later.

If the tubers have the first signs of growth, then they should be handled with extreme caution – the sprouts break off easily and the tuber again falls into a long dormant period.

The tubers are sprinkled with earth, the area with the planted plants is watered with a large amount of water, the planting of forest crested beetles is mulched with cut grass or straw. Mulch will prevent moisture from evaporating too quickly and keep weeds in check. Mountain flowers do not need mulch. 


Care of the crested in the garden

In order to fully enjoy the flowering of the corydalis plant in the spring, it is worth working hard. The flower will need weeding and loosening of the soil, which is carried out immediately after watering.

During the period of leaf formation and budding, the flower is unlikely to need a large amount of water – the earth is usually saturated with thawed moisture. As it warms, the soil will dry out more and more and timely watering should be provided to the flower. 

The frequency of watering for different plants should be different: mountain varieties require less moisture and are easier to tolerate a slight drought than the bay. The soil for forest flowers should be kept moist most of the time. 


For abundant flowering, timely fertilization will be required. Best of all, the flower reacts to organic matter – humus and rotted cow or horse manure is good, however, you should not neglect phosphorus-potassium mineral mixtures. It is these fertilizers that help form a large number of buds in the spring.

The flower is distinguished by enviable frost resistance and there is no need for additional shelter for the winter. Only in regions with little snow, with severe frosts, it is possible to sprinkle a flower and sprinkle it on top with mulch in the autumn months, before the onset of frost. 

An exception to this rule is the Chinese Corydalis – this plant is used for mild winters and should be planted in a pot and sent to a cool cellar during the dormant period. The tubers can also be removed from the ground and stored in wet river sand. 


Pruning Corydalis Plant

After the formation of seed pods and the maturation of the planting material, the entire ground part of the flower begins to wither and finally dies off completely. Dry leaves can be cut off, but there is no need to rush to cut – the leaf blades feed the underground tuber until the last moment and help it stock up on food for development in the next season.

Pruning is carried out with a sharply sharpened and sterilized tool – a garden knife or pruning shears. 


When Corydalis blooms

The onset of flowering can occur from March to May inclusive. Some varieties bloom during the summer months. The specific flowering times vary from species to species, but flowering times often remain unchanged at around 3 weeks.

Mountain plants usually bloom first, and only then forest blooms come. The Far Eastern Corydalis plant will decorate the garden with buds among the latter – in late spring – early summer.

The onset of early flowering will also be facilitated by planting in a sun-drenched area where snow melts first, however, such plants will fade earlier, and the flowering period will be shorter. 


Transplant Corydalis Plant

A transplant to a new place is carried out after flowering, but before the ground part dies off, otherwise it will be difficult to find the crested in the garden. Flowering plants should not be transplanted; only in case of emergency, such specimens are reloaded. 

The transshipment consists in the fact that the flower is transferred to a new site along with the old earthen clod, trying to disturb the root system as little as possible.

If the ground part is separated from the tuber during transplantation, you should not worry too much. Such tubers are planted in the ground and they simply fall into a dormant period, suspending their development until next spring. 


Useful Properties

The flower is used in folk medicine to treat many diseases, but it should be used with caution – the plant is poisonous. Large doses of plant materials can cause severe poisoning; you should also not use bushes during pregnancy and breastfeeding. (DO NOT SELF MEDICATE WITHOUT CONSULTING A DOCTOR)

Corydalis plant is believed to relieve nervous tension, promote muscle relaxation and help lower blood pressure.

Plants also have antimicrobial properties, and therefore they are used to treat purulent wounds and trophic ulcers. Corydalis plant is used as a hemostatic and analgesic agent.

For medical purposes, all parts of the plant are used, from tubers to flowers, and they are harvested at different times. The green mass is cut off immediately after flowering – at this time it has the highest concentration of nutrients. 

Tubers and rhizomes are dug out of the ground in the autumn months – during this period, the leaves managed to transfer all the reserves of nutrients to them. 



There are 3 ways to reproduce a flower – separating small daughter tubers, dividing the rhizome of an adult plant and sowing seeds. The choice of breeding method will depend on the specific species. 


Growing Corydalis from Seeds

The seed method is probably the most common for the propagation of this flower. Varieties such as Corydalis dense, Marshall’s and bracts reproduce very easily by seeds and often even form self-seeding.

For propagation by seeds, you can use planting material collected from garden plants. When using such seeds, flowers are protected only by specific, and not varietal characteristics, therefore, the appearance of the resulting bushes can be strikingly different from the mother flowers.

Full ripening of seeds occurs in June, but you should not wait for it. From fully ripened and opened seed pods, the seeds fall to the surface of the soil, from where they are quickly carried away by ants. 

It is worth taking care of the collection of planting material at a time when they have already acquired black color, but before the seed pods open. Also, to prevent rashes, you can pre-wrap the boxes with gauze. 


Self-collected planting material can be sprinkled with wet sand and left to ripen at room temperature, making sure that the sand is constantly wet.

At a high level, the germination of seeds is maintained only until they begin to dry out, therefore, sowing is carried out immediately after collection. After a week, the seeds will already lose their life-giving moisture. 

Wet sphagnum moss will help to extend the viability of seeds, however, even in such conditions, after a month, germination will be zero. 

Sowing is carried out in the summer months, using small flower greenhouses with transparent lids or individual cups. 

There should be drainage holes at the bottom of the container, and for the first time, a moisture-wicking layer in the form of expanded clay or broken brick is laid.

The cups are filled with soil consisting of sod and leaf humus, peat with a large amount of river sand in the composition. Seeds are sown to a depth of about 0.5 – 1 cm, covered with earth and thoroughly moistened with a spray bottle. 


Crops are covered from above with glass or transparent plastic to maintain high humidity. The soil is kept uniformly moist all the time, but not swampy. Next spring, subject to the rules of agricultural technology, only cotyledons will hatch. 

Planting seedlings in open ground is carried out in the spring when the snow melts and the last night frosts leave. The first buds will be decorated with Corydalis plant grown from seeds for 3-4 years of life and often on each bush there will be only 1 – 2 flowers. 

For 4 – 5 years, flowering will become more abundant, and the first division of tubers will occur when the plants are 5 – 6 years old. 


Division of Rhizomes

By dividing the rhizomes, it is possible to propagate the Corydalis Kashmir and Bush. The division of plants aged 3 to 5 years is carried out during transplantation. Bushes are dug out of the ground. shake off the soil residues from the root system and cut into pieces.

For division, a sharpened, sterile knife is used. As a result of division, each part should receive its own root system with a renewal bud.

Do not worry if the delenka does not have tubers – after planting for some time, these plants will be able to form new nodules.

The wound surface, which appeared during division, is treated with charcoal powder or wood ash for drying and disinfection.

Delenka are seated in new areas and watered. It is worth placing such plants in partial shade – direct sunlight immediately after division can cause additional stress. 


Separation of Daughter Tubers

This method of reproduction is the easiest and is available for almost all varieties of the flower. The fact is that under the surface of the soil, small daughter nodules form annually in the corydalis and in the autumn months, they are separated and planted during transplantation.

Sometimes it is quite difficult to find the planting of the Corydalis due to the fact that its leaves die off in the fall. 

To be guaranteed to dig up the tubers, it is enough to mark the place where the flower was or to transplant and divide until the leaves die off. 


Diseases and Pests

Corydalis plant has an enviable resistance to various diseases and harmful insects.

In lowlands and in areas with stagnant moisture, the plant’s roots may rot.

With too high humidity and insufficient air movement, fungal diseases appear.

Viral diseases manifest themselves in the form of spots on the leaves uncharacteristic of flowers and deformed buds, the plants affected by the virus cannot be treated – they are destroyed.

When grown outdoors, the root system of the flower can be tasted by moles and small rodents.

Wireworms can attack tubers from harmful insects. 


Application of Corydalis Plant in Landscape Design

Corydalis plant began to be used by flower growers quite recently – in the 19th century. It is interesting that on each seed of the corydalis, like most seeds of spring primroses, there is a small fleshy sprout. 

This sprout is used by the plant for propagation – ants love to eat it. Finding ripe seeds scattered on the ground, insects can take them away over considerable distances.

When grown in the garden, the corydalis plant can become a bright accent in any flower garden, in a flower bed or in an alpine slide. Other primroses – snowdrops, crocuses, tulips – can shade the beauty of a flower. 

The flower forms its buds when there is still little vegetation on the bare ground, and even more so there are no flowers. 


Forcing the Corydalis

For forcing – getting a flowering bush for any date or holiday at home, you should use only the best planting material. The tubers must be firm and healthy. 2.5 months before the onset of the desired flowering, the tubers are planted in pots, in a moist and nutritious substrate.

Put the pot in the dark, watering the soil from time to time to keep it slightly damp. The room temperature should be about 4 – 6 degrees. In this mode, the tubers are stored for 1.5 – 2 months.

2 – 3 weeks before the expected flowering, the pots are taken out into the light, placed in a warm place with room temperature, and little by little they begin to water. With the appearance of the first shoots, it is worth feeding.

As soon as the buds appear, it is desirable to lower the air temperature to 16 – 18 degrees – a higher one will contribute to rapid flowering. Plants are watered before flowering, keeping the soil evenly moist and periodically fed.