Polemonium reptans (Jacob’s Ladder, Greek Valerian)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

In the Mid-Atlantic Region, this attractive wildflower is most common in Pennsylvania. In Virginia its occurrence is spotty, although it is native to Fairfax County. At home in moist woods and along stream banks, this Phlox family member features leaflets arranged like rungs on a ladder (the ladder dreamt of by Jacob in the Bible story), thus the common name.

Print Version (Legal Size): Polemonium reptans (Jacob’s Ladder, Greek Valerian)

Ground Cover, Polemonium reptans, Jacob’s Ladder, Greek Valerian, Height: 1⁄2–11⁄2 feet Spread: 1–11⁄2 feet Bloom Color: Blue, lavender Characteristics Mound-forming, herbaceous perennial Delicate fern-like foliage with pinnately compound leaves Showy, bell-shaped flowers bloom in loose flower clusters on separate slender stalks April to May Fruit is a three-celled capsule Light green to red-green stems tend to bow over and ramble along the ground Spreads by self-seeding in optimal conditions Attributes Intolerant of drought; no serious pests or diseases; deer seldom severely damage Slow-spreading, light-textured ground cover Therapeutic uses Attracts bees, flies, butterflies, and moths Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Humus-rich soil Light Requirements: Partial Shade, Shade Water Requirements: Moist Becomes dormant in drought situations Divide clumps in early spring or late summer Use in rock or woodland gardens Hardiness: USDA Zones 3–8 Excellent Replacement for Hedera helix - English Ivy Vinca minor - Periwinkle

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets