A really lovely perennial plant for shady areas. Lush green foliage is produced in prolific mounds from which rise stalks of bright blue flowers that are a delight in any garden. Flowering late spring to early summer when little else is in flower they brighten any garden. Easy to grow and taking little care provided they have enough water, needs a richer damp soil for best results. Deer and rabbits don't eat it. However some report that cats like it, although we have not found that. A must for the shade garden.
A lovely perennial that forms a mound of deep green ferny foliage. The leaves are composite formed from many small leaflets that are spear shaped and arranged in pairs on a central stem giving the appearance of a ladder. Leaves are prolific especially in early spring. In mid spring the plant sends up tall stalks of leaves 2-3 feet in height which are topped by masses of blue star shaped flowers one inch across with long white stamens. Flowers for 3-6 weeks sometimes longer then produces more leaves providing an exotic look during the summer months. Hardy to zone 2 and will retain leaves throughout the winter in warmer zones. Clumping nature makes it an excellent border plant. Many sources state that this plant flowers in summer but here in zone 6 it always flowers in spring, it appears to flower just after the daffodils have finished in the period where little else is flowering.
Location and care
Location will depend on your growing zone. In zone 5-7 providing the plant with some shade is necessary as it does not do well in full sunshine as it cannot tolerate heat. Dappled shade or shade in the noon part of the day is ideal. In zones higher than 5 full sun can be tolerated as the sunshine is not as strong or bright and plants can tolerate these. Lower zones 8 and higher plant in shade. This plant does not do as well in high heat and sunshine of southern states and needs to be protected with shade in cooler spot, north sides of structures or under trees where there is airflow is ideal. Does best in cooler climates where it will flower more prolifically.
In less favorable conditions it may behave as a biennial and die after flowering. If you have this problem give plants more shade.
Prefers a richer loam soil but can tolerate most soils provided it has enough water. Soil should always be damp and not allowed to dry out, it does not however like waterlogged soils.
Water regularly in hotter months does not like to have the soil dry out entirely it should always be slightly damp. Adding mulch around the base of the plants can help reduce water evaporation.
Cutting back flower heads after flowers will encourage more flowers often prolonging flowering for several months.
Plants need to be moved to fresh soil every few years to prolong their lives. Clumps need to be divided and moved which will encourage more vigorous growth.
Lush foliage makes an excellent border plant or for shady areas where lushness is needed. Deer and rabbits don't eat it.
Best started indoors in trays or pots 6-8 weeks before last predicated frost date. Sow thinly in good compost and keep moist. Light is needed for germination so do not cover seeds, or cover with the thinnest coating possible. Germination usually takes place within 14-20 days depending on conditions and temperature. Cooler temps will inhibit germination. Keep moist until seedlings are large enough to transplant to individual pots, then grow on until plants are large enough to transplant. Harden off well before transplanting into permanent location.
Polemonium was used in ancient times as a remedy for fevers, palpitations, headaches, fevers, epilepsy and hysteria. Ancient Greek physicians prescribed Jacob's Ladder in wine as relief from toothache, dysentery and insect bites. It was used in the nineteenth-century to treat syphilis, rabies, headaches and neuralgia.
Boiled in olive oil the plant makes a black dye.
Greek Valerian, Charity