The Mystery is Solved!

Polemonium reptans

Polemonium reptans

After 2 years of misnaming this beautiful little native in my garden, the unknown plant finally has a confirmed identity.   It is the shade-loving Polemonium reptans otherwise known as Greek valerian or Jacob’s ladder.  And now I feel quite dumb, since I just bought another one of these last Saturday at the Native Plant Sale.  So now I have two of these in the garden.  That’s okay, it is my favorite spring blooming native at the moment.  🙂   Here’s some facts on this perennial from Ask Mr. Smarty Plant:

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade – Full Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Drought Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist, humus-rich soils.
Conditions Comments: Will go dormant in drought conditions.

 If you would like more information about this native wildflower here’s another link I found that had some great useful information:


17 responses to this post.

  1. That is a very pretty plant.(-: Now you have another one to enjoy too!!!

    Thanks Cindee and yes I am pleased to have more than one now. 🙂 The funny part is the hybrid (which is variegated) was a no show this spring. Just goes to show that the native species is a hardier plant.


  2. You solved a mystery? Wow… so happy for you too. These baby blue flowers are so sweet. Don’t feel dumb… the flowers so sweet, so nice to have more!

    Yep I feel happy to finally know the name of this plant. Thanks Stephanie for your sweet comments. 🙂


  3. It is always gratifying to find the name of a mystery plant.

    Yes it is Keewee! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today.


  4. Soo pretty!

    Thank you Linda, I love these dainty bells. 🙂


  5. It is pretty, I’d be happy to have two of them. It’s wonderful when you finally get the correct name of a plant…waiting on my mystery to be solved now, hope it doesn’t take 2 years, LOL.

    Thanks Darla, I’m glad I ended up picking up another one of these great natives. My original one has done well in the garden this season. Hope your mystery plant gets solved soon too. 😉


  6. Posted by Sandy on April 23, 2009 at 7:21 am

    I started this from seed a few years ago. A pretty plant with a lovely name.

    Hmm..I didn’t know you could plant it from seed. Thanks for that info. Thanks Sandy!


  7. I like it! No-make that I love it! And now you have more to plant out-nothing wrong with that.

    lol, me too Tina! Yep I’m glad I have a duplicate of this nice little native plant in the garden. 🙂


  8. As Tony Reznicek (curator of University of Michigan Herbarium) says, “It’s easy to ID a plant. It’s just hard to get it right.” Heck, I couldn’t ID Virginia bluebells in my last post because I’d only ever noticed them in bloom! I love Jacob’s ladder, though I tend to mispronounce their Latin name as Poly-oly-um, so now I never get it right any more!

    lol, Tony has a valid point there! Glad I’m not the only one who has a hard time figuring out the id of things sometimes. 🙂 Those latin names can be a bit tricky I know.


  9. Adding another one sounds like a great thing! Don’t feel dumb–I’ve had my share of mysteries, too. If only plants could talk, they could real their true identities and we wouldn’t have to rely upon nursery labels. That’s a rant of mine — mislabeled plants from nurseries!

    Have a beautiful day!

    Thanks for that Cameron! 🙂 Somehow I was under the impression this was the Skullcap Hyssop & the actual Hyssop was a Baptisia. Don’t know how that happened, lol. Wouldn’t that be something if they could tell us what they are & that labels didn’t get mixed up. 😉


  10. The foliage almost reminds me of solomen’s seal. I am looking for this plant this year too. It will be perfect for the shadier part of the yard. You really have a great variety of plants Racquel!

    Just way smaller & unvariegated. 🙂 You will love it in the shady area of your garden. Thanks Linda!


  11. What a lovely little plant 🙂

    Thanks Mom! 🙂


  12. That’s a pretty plant. There’s also a variegated variety that is really pretty. Glad you found out the right i.d.

    Thanks Susie! I know I ordered the variegated cultivar last fall & it hasn’t appeared this spring. 😦


  13. Raquel~~ It’s always nice to know what you’re growing. 🙂 My problem is I can never remember the plant name when I need to.

    Yes it is Grace. Before I started blogging I didn’t realize how important it was to know the names of the plants in my garden, lol. I know what you mean, I’ve had to write them all down in my journal along with where they are located so I don’t forget. 🙂


  14. The more the merrier when it’s a favorite plant! I’ve heard they seed about in a charming manner…have you found this so? gail

    My thought exactly Gail. No not yet, but I moved this last fall to right under the Limelight Hydrangea tree. It did so much better this spring that maybe it will reseed for me this year. 🙂


  15. This is the great thing about blogging–mysteries are almost always solved here! I’ve thought about planting some of these in my shade garden; I love those blue flowers. I think your first plant needed a companion anyway:)

    Isn’t that the truth Rose. 🙂 I think these would make a great addition to your shade garden. The flowers are so sweet aren’t they?


  16. Well, when I have one I usually want another anyway.

    That’s a good point Brenda, lol. I usually do too, and this way I didn’t have to wait for it to reseed or to divide it. 🙂


  17. It looks different than the Jacobs ladder I’m familiar with but I’m sure there are a zillion varieties, etc. I’m glad you figure out the name. Not knowing bugs me until I get it solved.

    Yep there are about 25 species in the Polemonium family. This specific one is a native to my area. Thanks Kathleen, it was kind of bugging me. 🙂


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