To say I like Corydalis very much would be an understatement. The delicate, ferny foliage and early, colourful flowering of many species, make them wonderful spring harbingers.
Quite a few tuberous species are easy to grow in the garden in our cold climate (I usually don’t fuss around with pots, except for seedlings): C. solida especially, but also C. caucasica, C. packozy, C. cava, C. bracteata and probably few others.
The same applies for rhizomatous species like C. nobilis, the Pseudofumaria group (formerly C. lutea and C. alba), C. ophiocarpa, C. incisa; also the North American Capnoides sempervirens.
Corydalis incisa and C. ophiocarpa which were grown under lights are already advanced.
I agree it is much easier to buy plants (if available), but for a fast increase of the personal collection, growing from seeds is the better option, not to mention cheaper. They germinate very well if sown fresh or after moist storage. Sowing asap and keeping the pots outdoors (i.e., a warm/cold treatment) is the best option (by asap I don’t mean next day, the seeds sown up to about a month after collecting are OK even if not kept moist).
All you have to do is sow, cover the pots/trays with a mesh and keep them in a partly shaded area; water once in a while. For the winter, place in an area that usually gets covered in snow (or where it is easy to pile snow on top) or a cold garage. By spring they will start to germinate.
For the more adventurous there is also the option on sowing the seeds directly in the garden, reproducing their natural way of multiplying; the seeds are dispersed and buried by ants which feed on the elaiosomes, for which reason, in time they will show up in various places around the garden.
Same applies for Claytonia or any of the other spring flowering species that are best sown fresh: Dicentra, Hepatica, Erythronium, Anemone quinquefolia, Sanguinaria and so on – more about all these soon…
See more Corydalis pictures below in the related posts.