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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.

SIZE
Polemonium reptans LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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Height

12-18 Inches

Spread

12-18 Inches

Spacing

12 Inches

Bloom Color

Violet

USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8

creeping Jacob's ladder Interesting Notes

Growing up to 1’ tall, this free-flowering woodland native has delicate light blue flowers topping ladder-like foliage in late spring. Polemonium reptans is a good light-textured groundcover in areas with average to moist soils, thriving in light shade beneath deciduous trees. Blooming in April through to May, the flowers range in color from light purple to light pink and form in delicate clusters atop the fresh green foliage. A natural partner with creeping Phlox and ferns, this is a wonderful and unexpected addition to the spring shade garden.


Polemonium reptans is found in moist, deciduous forests or along streambanks from New York to Minnesota and south to Georgia and Arkansas. It does best in moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil in part to full shade. A sweet spring wildflower, the green foliage persists through the growing season and is an easy to grow groundcover that spreads by shallow rhizome. When placed in a happy location, creeping Jacob’s Ladder self-sows. In periods of drought, plant will go into dormancy.


We find Polemonium reptans to be deer-resistant and enjoy how it provides an early season nectar sources to native pollinators. Visited by a wide assortment of native bees, Andrena polemonii is of note as a specialist bee that only feeds on plants from Polemonium genus. In addition, several moth larvae use the foliage as forage.

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
Moist
Moist
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Groundcover
Groundcover

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Average
Green Infrastructure
Woodland
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative Upland (FACU)
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Attributes
Native to North America
Ornamental Foliage
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Spring / Early Summer
Propagation Type
Open pollinated