Image credit: Prides Corner Farms
Image credit: Prides Corner Farms
Image credit: Prides Corner Farms

Polemonium reptans 'Stairway to Heaven' - Jacob's ladder

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Deer Resistant Butterfly Friendly Part Shade
Jacob's ladder
Polemonium reptans 'Stairway to Heaven'

'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

Native Range

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

Map Credit: The Biota of North America 
Map Key: Green (native), Teal (native, adventive), Blue (present), Yellow (present & rare), Red (extinct)


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.




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.


Mature Size: 15-18in. Tall x 12-15in. Wide

Hardiness Zone: 3-8

Sun Exposure: Part Shade

Coming Soon!

    American Beauties Offer Solution Based Plant Collections to Help you Choose

    Quick Tips for Choosing Plants:

    • Planting a variety of native trees, shrubs, perennials and vines increases biodiversity and gives wildlife a source for food, cover and nesting
    • Choose a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees so birds and other wildlife will always be able to find shelter
    • Plant trees and large shrubs where they will block winter winds from the house and shade it in summer, that will save energy and lower your carbon footprint
    • Try your best to buy plants that were grown locally, your independent garden center will be your best bet
    • Think about ultimate height and width of the plant you choose, make sure it will fit the space you have for it when it's reached maturity
    • Plant nectar plants in groups, to attract butterflies and other beneficial insects more easily
    • Ask for help if you need it. Most garden centers either have a landscape designer on staff or they can give you a reference of a designer that is adept at native plant wildlife gardening. There will be upfront costs but they are small when compared to having to redo a landscape that wasn't what you really wanted

    Our Plant Tags Hold the Secrets to Success

    Choosing the right plants for your garden can seem like a daunting task but we’re here to help. Our horticulturists have spent a considerable amount of time researching and writing our beautiful, American Beauties plant tags to help you be successful. First of all, when you see an American Beauties branded pot at your garden center you can be confident that the plant is native to your area and a responsible choice. 

    When you look at our tag you’ll find information about the plants natural habitat. That will give you a clue to how it will work in your backyard. For instance if the plant is naturally founded and moist, shade and you have full sun, it’s not the plant for you. The “Features” section gives you an overview or plant description so you’ll know what to expect. While the “Benefits” section talks about the plants strong suits and how the plant will benefit wildlife. 

    A Special Note About Exposure

    Full sun: Prefers six or more hours of direct sunshine a day
    Partial shade: Thrives in three to six hours of daily sunshine
    Shade: Generally does well with less than three hours of sun per day. Having said that even shade loving plants will struggle in extremely deep shade.


    Best Plants for Bees - Double sided printout for download

    Best Plants for Butterflies - Double sided printout for download

    Best Plants for Birds - Double sided printout for download

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