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Jacob's ladder

Polemonium reptans

Polemonium reptans

Regular price $6.48 USD
Regular price Sale price $6.48 USD
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Sun/shade: Full sun to full shade

Soil moisture: Medium

Height: 1'

Spread: 1'

Flowering period: May

Dividing the shadows of the forest floor with clean, sharp lines, the handsome foliage of Jacob’s ladder is a stirring backdrop to the plant’s soft blue blossoms. Composed of numerous paired leaflets, the foliage persists throughout the growing season, adding a striking textural element to the home garden.

A native of NE Ohio forests, Jacob’s ladder grows well under conditions of full to partial shade and average to moderately wet soil moisture. In natural settings, Jacob’s ladder may be found growing alongside other spring blooming wildflowers such as foamflower, wild geranium, and ragwort species. In the home landscape, these plants complement one another quite well, bringing spring color to shady parts of the garden.

Jacob’s ladder’s bell-shaped blossoms open in mid-April, offering an early season source of pollen and nectar to many pollinators. In addition to moths and butterflies, the flowers attract bee species such as mason bees. These handsome bees have a metallic sheen and are dark blue or dark green in color. They are famous for their pollination efficiency, with reports that as few as 300 mason bees can pollinate as effectively as 90,000 honey bees. Planting spring blooming plants like Jacob’s ladder gives the bees the forage resources they need, but the garden can offer nesting materials too. A few pieces of old decaying wood can become sites for beetle burrows that may one day serve as mason bee nests.

Photo 1 by Ashley Keesling. Photo 2 © Joshua Mayer, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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