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Pseudofumaria lutea (formerly Corydalis lutea)

Pseudofumaria lutea (formerly Corydalis lutea), by Robert Pavlis

Pseudofumaria lutea (formerly Corydalis lutea), by Robert Pavlis

Imagine a perennial that has no pest problems, and blooms from spring until frost, with fabulous yellow flowers. Pseudofumaria lutea (formerly called Corydalis lutea) is that plant. Because of its long bloom time it is one of my top perennials.

Pseudofumaria lutea (formerly Corydalis lutea), by Robert Pavlis

Pseudofumaria lutea (formerly Corydalis lutea), by Robert Pavlis

The plant always looks good with bluish green fern-like leaves resembling a bleeding heart – to which it is related. In zone 5, it starts to flower in May and stops after a hard frost. It requires no maintenance all summer and even deadheading is not required.

Pseudofumaria lutea (formerly Corydalis lutea), by Robert Pavlis

Pseudofumaria lutea (formerly Corydalis lutea), by Robert Pavlis

Some sources suggest that the plant is a short lived perennial but in my zone 5 garden it is long lived. It does seed around a bit, but seedlings are easily pulled out. In hot climates it may not flower all summer, and it might even go dormant in mid-summer. It might also be shorter lived in hot climates.

It is commonly called yellow fumitory or yellow corydalis. If yellow is not your thing, a very similar species, Pseudofumaria ochroleuca (formerly called Corydalis ochroleuca) ,blooms off-white with a small yellow patch.

Pseudofumaria lutea (formerly Corydalis lutea), by Robert Pavlis

Pseudofumaria lutea (formerly Corydalis lutea), by Robert Pavlis

Pseudofumaria lutea

 (soo-doe-few-MA-ree-uh  LOO-tee-uh)

Life Cycle: perennial

Height: 45 cm (1.5 ft)

Bloom Time: spring to late fall

Natural Range: southern Alps of Europe

Habitat: wooded areas

Synonyms:  none

Cultivation of Pseudofumaria lutea:

Light: part to full shade

Soil: well drained

Water: regular moisture, but not wet in winter

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Propagation: seed, division

The following video showcases all of the favorite plants for 2015:

If you can’t see the above video, use this link instead: https://youtu.be/GbLlQgn0vLs

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Robert Pavlis
Editor of GardenFundamentals.com
I live in southern Ontario, Canada, zone 5 and have been gardening a long time. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

I hope you find Garden Fundamentals an educational site that helps you understand your garden better.

2 Responses to 'Pseudofumaria lutea (formerly Corydalis lutea)'

  1. R.Szalich says:

    what about white and blue versions ?
    I cannot find the white one, despite it supposedly being native, and the blue one I planted did not survive.
    I live in London, Ont, so the climate is pretty forgiving, at least compared to other parts of Canada!

    • P. lutea does not come in white or blue. You may be thinking about a different Corydalis? There are blue Corydalis and most seem to be difficult to grow in the garden – I have tried and failed with several. I now have Corydalis King Fisher from a friend and it seems to grow well in Guelph.

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