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Jacob's ladder

Polemonium selections

Jacob's ladder

Jacob's ladder is a favorite native plant for shady spots. It has long handsome leaves, sometimes variegated, with a ladder-like arrangement of leaflets. Heavy clusters of clear lavender blue, pink, yellow, or white flowers with conspicuous stamens nod atop slender stems. Jacob's ladder is a winner in sunny or lightly shaded beds and borders as well as in native plant gardens. Well-drained soil is a must.

Sun,Part Sun
Plant Type:
Plant Height:
1-3 feet tall, depending on variety
Plant Width:
6 inches-2 feet wide, depending on variety
Flower Color:
White, pink, blue, or yellow flowers, depending on variety; variegated leaves, depending on variety
Bloom Time:
Blooms spring and early summer, depending on variety
Landscape Uses:
Containers,Beds & Borders
Special Features:
Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Cut Flowers,Drought Tolerant,Deer Resistant
Top Varieties

(Polemonium caeruleum 'Brize D'Anjou') is not as floriferous as many others, but its leaves are dramatically rimmed with creamy white. It grows 2 feet tall. Zones 4-9
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(Polemonium caeruleum 'Bresssingham Purple') bears large light purple flowers. It grows 2 feet tall. Zones 4-9
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(Polemonium reptans 'Stairway to Heaven') bears pink-and-white-edged leaves and lavender-blue flowers in early summer. It grows 2 feet tall. Zones 3-7
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Plant It With

The dainty spires of red or pink coral bells are fine companions for Jacob's ladder in light shade.


In light shade creeping phlox has flattish flowers in pinks, blues, and white that mix well with those of blue Jacob's ladder.


The dark leaves and dramatic white flower heads of perennial candytuft provide a strong foil for Jacob's ladder in sun.