Polemonium 'Heaven Scent'

Common Name: Jacob's ladder 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Polemoniaceae
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Bluish purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Deer, Heavy Shade


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Best leaf color may occur in part shade. Prefers rich, humusy, consistently moist soils. Soils must not be allowed to dry out. Best performance occurs in cool summer climates. Plants are intolerant of the high heat and humidity of summers in the deep South. Plants may be cut back to basal foliage after bloom or if foliage declines to tidy the planting and to encourage a possible late summer rebloom.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Polemonium is a genus of about 25 species of herbaceous perennials from Europe, Asia, North and Central America. They are grown for their showy flowers.

Genus name comes from the Greek name polemonion originally applied to a medicinal plant associated with Polemon of Cappadocia.

'Heaven Scent' was bred in 2004 by Brent Horvath of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens in Hebron, Illinois from a controlled cross of Polemonium reptans and Polemonium yezoense `Purple Rain'. It forms a mound of fern-like leaves with oppositely arranged leaflets resembling a ladder. The foliage emerges reddish purple in spring and matures to green. The bluish-purple, bell-shaped flowers have bright yellow anthers, are formed on 18-24" stems and have a light grape scent. 'Heaven Scent' grows 1 1/2 to 2 ft. tall and wide. United States Plant Patent PP#20,214 issued August 11, 2009.


Leaf spot and powdery mildew can be problems, particularly in humid climates. Foliage may scorch in too much sun. Leaflet tips will brown up if soils are allowed to dry out. Foliage will generally decline and become less attractive as the summer progresses. Watch for slugs.


The flowers will brighten shady locations in borders, woodland gardens, cottage gardens or shade gardens.