Maryland Native Plants for Shady Spring Blooms: Polemonium reptans ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – Jacobs Ladder

Feb 8, 2024 | Blog, Native Plant Spotlight

Native Plants for Shady Spring Blooms

Polemonium reptans ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – Jacobs Ladder

jacobsladder plant sign

Polemonium reptans ‘Stairway to Heaven’, also known as creeping Jacob’s ladder, is a perennial wildflower that occurs in rich, moist woods and along streams. Typically grows in a mound to 12″ tall.the flowers are light blue and bell-shaped. The flowers grow in loose, terminal clusters that appear on sprawling, weak stems in mid to late spring. Pinnately compound leaves with oval leaflets are arranged like the rungs of a ladder hence the common name. This plant grows best in moist, humusy, well-draining soil in part shade. Freely self-seeds in optimum growing conditions.

‘Stairway to Heaven’ cultivar was discovered in a group of Polemonium reptans seedlings that were growing in a nursery in Framingham, Massachusetts. William Cullina holds the patent for this cultivar, he chose it for its longevity. ‘Stairway to Heaven’ forms a low mound of green leaves with white margins that are tinged with pink in spring or cooler weather. It has pale lavender blue, bell-shaped flowers with white stamens. It grows 1 to 1.5 ft. tall and wide. United States Plant Patent PP#15,187 awarded September 28, 2004

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Common Name: Jacob’s ladder
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Polemoniaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Lavender blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Deer
(Information from Missouri Botanical Garden, USFWS)
Jacob's Ladder 'Stairway to Heaven' flowers and foliage

Jacob’s Ladder ‘Stairway to Heaven’ flowers and foliage

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