Jacob’s Ladder has been grown in our gardens for many hundreds of years – it has also lived on our hillsides as a wild flower for many thousands of years. Its long history should not deter you from using it in a modern herbaceous border. The bright bluestudded with golden stamens first appear in late May or June and then continue throughout the summer. The are deeply-divided into a series of rung-like leaflets – hence the common name. There are no problems about cultivation – add peat or at planting time, provide some form of support, dead-head regularly to prolong the flowering season and cut down the in autumn.
VARIETIES: The old cottage garden plant is P. caeruleum – height 2 ft. Spacing 1 ft.
Flowering period: June- August. The V4 in. flowers are blue, but a white form is available. One of the problems with this species is its short-lived nature – choose instead the larger and longer-lived P. foliosissimum (height 3 ft. Spacing 1/2 ft.
Flowering period: June-September). If space is limited there are 2 excellent hybrids – P. ‘Blue Pearl’ (1 ft. deep blue) and P. ‘Sapphire’ (1.5 ft. sky blue).
SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained soil will do – thrives in sun or partial shade.
PROPAGATION: Sowunder glass in April or divide clumps in autumn or spring.