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Polemonium reptans 'Stairway to Heaven'

Jacob's Ladder /

'Stairway to Heaven' is a colorful new cultivar of the native form, featuring green leaves with white leaf margins that are tinged with pink in spring. Pale lavender blue, bell-shaped flowers bloom for many weeks in late spring. Foliage provides good contrast to other shade plants and combines well with purple Heucheras and deep green ferns. This Jacob's Ladder was selected by Bill Cullina of the New England Wildflower Society after observing its longevity in their garden and nursery.


  • Handsome plant, colorful foliage lights up shade areas
  • Clusters of blue flowers provide nectar for native bees and butterflies
  • Unlike other variegated Polemonium, plants are hardy and long-lived
  • No serious pest or disease problems
  • Deer tend to leave this plant alone

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Best grown in moist, rich, well-drained soil in part shade. Tolerates full sun in cool summer climates. May rebloom in early summer if you remove spent flowers in the spring.

15-18 Inches


12-15 Inches

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

Native Range

Moist woods; New York to Minnesota, south to Oklahoma and Alabama.

Native Trivia

Butterflies often bask using their wings as solar collectors. After a cool night, their wing muscles must warm up before they can fly. Set out a rock or two where morning light will warm them so butterflies can take advantage of the early morning sun.

"Though most of us butterflies love sun, some of my cousins search woodlands for plants like this to drink the nectar."

Patent Number: (PP15,187)
Good Companions
Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Cranesbill (Geranium maculatum), Coral Bells (Heuchera americana), Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
  • Low Perennials
  • Filtered Shade
  • Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
  • Well-drained
  • Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
  • Average
  • Moist
  • Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
  • Beneficial insects
  • Butterflies
Bloom Time
  • Early Spring
  • Late Spring / Early Summer
Critter Resistance
  • Deer Resistant
Habitat Collection
  • Butterfly
Native Habitat
  • Grassland
  • Riparian, wetland
Foliage Color
  • Green
  • Border
  • Container
  • Cut or dried flower
  • Edging
  • Ground cover
  • Mass plant
  • Naturalizes
  • Rock garden
Native to
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin