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Jacob's Ladder - Polemonium reptans

Jacob's Ladder - Polemonium reptans

Polemonium reptans, or Jacob’s Ladder, is a perennial wildflower native to southern Michigan and much of Wisconsin. It is an early spring bloomer, sometime between April and June, depending on the year.  Flowers are usually blue, but may vary all the way to pink.


Jacob's Ladder is native to woody, wet places - river bluffs, wet prairies, fens, and tamarack swamps, according to Michigan Flora. It prefers full to part shade and medium to moist soil.  It will tolerate full sun with adequate moisture. It reaches a height of 1 foot. Will spread or sprawl into a mound but is not aggressive. Spreads by seed. Good for rock and shade gardens, fairy gardens, or soft landing zones under deciduous trees.


This plant is popular with bees, especially those that need early-season nectar. At least one species of bee has a specialist relationship with Jacob's Ladder and its western cousin. Many other butterflies and insects utilize the nectar, and Jacob's Ladder is the host plant for at least two moths. Theoretically deer resistant, but someone forgot to tell our deer. This is a delightful, delicate spring flower that offers a native alternative to alien plants like snow drops. 

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