Polemonium reptans, Jacob’s Ladder. Despite its delicate appearance, Jacob’s Ladder is a fairly tough and easy to grow perennial for shady spots. Open shade with some sun, especially morning sun, is best. The rhizomes tend to run across the surface of the soil, so keep the crown and rhizome (horizontal stem above the roots) near or at the surface. Acidic soils are best and good drainage is recommended. Otherwise, Jacob’s Ladder isn’t too fussy about soil.Water in thoroughly after planting to settle soil into the fine roots. Keep the soil damp, not wet until the plant gets established. Then, water during very dry weather to prevent wilting. This plant is an early-spring grower and bloomer. The onset of hot, summer weather usually causes Jacob’s Ladder to go dormant. During dormancy, the leaves will die back and may vanish entirely until cooler weather. Clumps can be divided in Feb.–March. Fertilizer is usually not needed but can be applied using liquid fertilizer at 1/2 strength. This species is winter-hardy to at least USDA zone 6. Winter mulching in colder areas may be helpful as long as the covering is removed before spring growth begins.

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