Growing Guide
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Jacob’s Ladder

Herbaceous Perennial Flower

Polemonium caeruleum
Polemoniaceae Family

With fernlike, pinnate foliage and spikes of tiny, nodding, bell-like blue blooms, Jacob’s Ladder is a dainty and attractive garden favorite.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
  • part shade
Prefers part shade. Tolerates full sun in cooler areas.

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
Prefers cool, moist growing conditions.

Hardiness zones:

  • 3 to 9
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 1 to 3 feet

Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet

Bloom time:

  • late spring
  • early summer
  • mid-summer

Flower color: blue

Flowers are cup-shaped and pendulous on upright spikes.

Foliage color: medium green

Compund leaves are pinnate, resembling ladders (hence the common name).

Foliage texture: fine

Shape: upright

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • non-aggressive - May reseed some.
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to Europe, Asia.
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed, division or separation - Sow seeds in spring or divide plants in late summer.

Maintenance and care:
May require staking. Deadhead faded flower stalks to keep plants looking tidy (they tend to fade out late in the season) and to prevent reseeding. Some reseeding may be desirable as plants tend to be short-lived in warm areas.

Cutting back plants to basal foliage after flowering may produce some later reblooming.

Plants seldom need division. Divide in late summer as needed to propagate.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

‘Album’: white blooms.

‘Apricot Delight’: blue-purple blooms with peachy orange centers.

‘Blue Bell’: pastel blue blooms.

'Brise d'Anjou': medium green leaves have creamy white margins.

‘Sapphire’: 1 to 1 ˝’ tall compact plant with pale blue blooms.