Polemonium caeruleum from the copses and margins of European
streams is the old-fashioned species to which
the genus owes its popular name from the manner
in which the leaflets are arranged on the stem
to suggest a ladder.
It is also called Greek Valerian.
The plant reaches two feet and bears a short panicle
of blue, drooping, bell-shaped flowers an inch
The finest form is :
Polemonium humile (syn. Polemonium richardsonii)
from North America, with bell-shaped flowers of
brilliant blue and white anthers.
Its var. pulchellum has smaller flowers that vary
in tone from white to violet and lavender.
Polemonium reptans, a native of North America,
is six inches high, with light blue flowers, half
an inch across, borne in a cluster.
A position in partial shade and a deep rich soil
is necessary to grow these plants to perfection
and, when established, they may remain for many
years without disturbance.
Propagate by division or from seed.
The flowering season is in spring.
Polemonium – “Jacob’s
Eighteen inches to two feet.
Flowers of several colours, May to August.
The old “Charity” or “Jacob’s
Ladder” (Polemonium cœruleum) is one of the
hardiest and most easily grown of perennials.
It has divided foliage, somewhat vetch-shaped,
and upright stems bearing loose spikes of purplish
blue or white flowers.
It may be put in the back rows and second-rate
corners of the border, and will stand a certain
amount of shade.
Plant in October in ordinary garden mould, and
leave it to itself to flower in May.
There are several other good varieties, such as
Polemonium Richardsonii, light blue, later flowering than
cœruleum; Polemonium cœruleum grandiflorum or
Himalaicum, large blue flowers, Polemonium Flavum, pale
yellow, flowering till autumn.
The old “Jacob’s Ladder” may
be raised from seed sown in the open in July,
and treated according to the routine of hardy