Please help identify this little plant coming back from the brink


Hello, This plant used to be much larger but it did not do well at first after a move. I’m hoping to learn more about it so we can get it to flourish again.






Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your plant identification question.

From the picture you submitted, it appears to be a one of the variegated sports of Jacob’s Ladder called ‘Stairway to Heaven’ (Polemonium reptans ‘Stairway to Heaven’). Please find below  details on the growing habit and culture for this herbaceous perennial.


It grows best in part shade and will tolerate full sun. This variegated wildflower native to much of eastern North America that likes moist woodlands. Continuously replenishing leaves keep it looking fresh from spring until fall. 

The plant produces light blue flowers in late spring to early summer. The bell-shaped flowers are 3/4” long and held in clusters on flimsy stems.

Stairway to Heaven’ gains its common name from the rung-like structure of the foliage. The oval leaflets are light green and variegated with white. This variegation sets this cultivar apart from the species and other selections. Leaves have a vivid purple cast when they first emerge in spring. Leaf edges then turn pink before finally fading to bright white before flowering begins. ‘Stairway to Heaven’ normally grows about 12 to 18 inches and is  self-seeding and rhizomatous, but doesn’t creep excessively.

Culture:  Plant Polemonium reptans in moist but well-drained, partially shaded soil. It can tolerate full sun where summers are cool and it is kept watered. This plant offers ground cover, working well to edge your wildflower and woodland gardens.  USDA Zones 4–8.