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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.
Part Sun, Sun
1 to 3 feet
6 inches-2 feet wide, depending on variety
more varieties for Jacob's ladder
Brize D'Anjou Jacob's ladder
(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
Bresssingham Purple Jacob's ladder
(Polemonium caeruleum 'Bresssingham Purple') bears large light purple flowers. It grows 2 feet tall. Zones 4-9
Stairway to Heaven Jacob's ladder
(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
plant Jacob's ladder with
Exciting new selections with incredible foliage patterns have put coralbells on the map. Previously enjoyed mainly for their spires of dainty reddish flowers, coralbells are now grown as much for the unusual mottling and veining of different-color leaves. The low clumps of long-stemmed evergreen or semi-evergreen lobed foliage make coralbells fine groundcover plants. They enjoy humus-rich, moisture-retaining soil. Beware of heaving in areas with very cold winters.
Phlox are one of those bounteous summer flowers any large sunny flowerbed or border shouldn't be without. There are several different kinds of phlox. Garden and meadow phlox produce large panicles of fragrant flowers in a wide assortment of colors. They also add height, heft, and charm to a border. Low-growing wild Sweet William, moss pinks, and creeping phlox are effective as ground covers, at the front of the border, and as rock and wild garden plants, especially in light shade. These native gems have been hybridized extensively especially to toughen the foliage against mildew problems; many recent selections are mildew-resistant. Phlox need amply moist soil for best overall health.
Sparkling white candytuft, with its cool evergreen foliage, brightens any rock garden or wall for several weeks in spring. At bloom time, plants are covered with umbels of pure white flowers that fade to pink. Compact selections are now available. Where happy, this plant will spread. Supply good drainage, and cut back spent flowers to keep plants neat.