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Polemonium reptans 'Stairway to Heaven' (Greek valerian)

Polemonium reptans 'Stairway to Heaven' PP15187

Greek valerian or creeping Jacob's ladder

This excellent variegated selection of P. reptans was selected by Bill Cullina of The New England Wild Flower Society. A good plant for shade or a sunny edge (with adequate moisture). Imagine, a variegated Polemonium that actually lives! This native groundcover is very popular, and its royalties benefit the Garden in the Woods and their plant and habitat conservation.

Polemonium 'Stairway to Heaven' PP15187 - 72 per flat Availability
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15-18 Inches


12 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8

Greek valerian 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 'Stairway to Heaven' Growing and Maintenance Tips

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

Good Substitutions

Greek valerian Polemonium reptans

Key Characteristics & Attributes

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

Additional Information

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