Sign up for News & Availability Emails
Site Search:
Polemonium reptans (creeping Jacob's ladder)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Polemonium reptans

creeping Jacob's ladder or Greek valerian

A free-flowering woodland native with delicate light blue flowers topping ladder-like foliage in late spring. A good light-textured groundcover in areas with average to moist soils.

Polemonium reptans LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
Add to My North Creek Nurseries Wish List


12-18 Inches


12-18 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8

creeping Jacob's ladder Interesting Notes

Blooming in late April, Jacob's ladder is a great plant for massing in the spring woodland garden. It produces loose upright shoots 12-18” tall with small, bell-shaped pale blue flowers borne in branched clusters. The leaves of Jacob's ladder are divided into many small segments, giving plants a strong architectural appearance. Jacob's ladder prefers partial shade to shade in moist well-drained soils. With its eye-catching flowers and foliage Jacob’s ladder is a nice complement to neighboring plants such as Arisaema triphyllumCaulophyllum thalictroidesSanguinaria canadensisPanax quinqefoliusTrillium spp., and other woodland garden plants. - Mt. Cuba Center

Genus name comes from the Greek name polemonion originally applied to a medicinal plant associated with Polemon of Cappadocia. Specific epithet means creeping. - Missouri Botanical Garden

Like many spring blooming natives, the bloom time on Jacob's Ladder is short but sweet. The few short weeks in April or May that the flowers appear, the plant will be covered in blooms that range from shades of pink to blue. Jacob's Ladder will grow in full sun if it has adequate moisture but it prefers woodlands (almost full shade) and on woodland edges (partial shade). A mature plant will only reach heights of 1' and is deer resistant. Other common names include Bluebell, Greek Valerian, and Skunk Weed. The roots have been used for kidney troubles and as a diuretic. - Prairie Moon Nursery

This is a wild flower through much of the eastern woodlands and the Midwest plains. They are excellent foliage plants and provide fresh greenery all season. Plants are seldom over one foot high. The common name is a misnomer as the plant has a shallow rhizome and is not stoloniferous. The stems are weak and diffuse, but the plant doesn't creep nearly as fast as it reseeds. The 7-15 leaflets are about 1" long and topped by light blue, half-inch long flowers borne in loose drooping clusters (corymbs). After flowering, the plants are covered with tan-colored fruit, another wonderful attribute of this little-appreciated plant. If placed in partial shade and kept moist, plants are easy to grow, and may seed vigourously. - Allan Armitage, Herbaceous Perennial Plants

Polemonium reptans Growing and Maintenance Tips

Best in moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil in part to full shade.

Good Substitutions

creeping Jacob's ladder Polemonium reptans 'Stairway to Heaven'

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Spring / Early Summer
Green Infrastructure
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Open pollinated