Plant of the Month for August, 2015

 (soo-doe-few-MA-ree-uh  LOO-tee-uh)

General Information:

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 called Corydalis lutea)

Pseudofumaria lutea; photo 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 called Corydalis lutea)

Pseudofumaria lutea; photo 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 called Corydalis lutea)

Pseudofumaria lutea; photo by Robert Pavlis

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:

Light: part to full shade

Soil: well drained

Water: regular moisture, but not wet in winter

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Propagation: seed, division

           Seedex availability (ORG&HPS annual Seed Exchange): occasionally        

 

Robert Pavlis