Polemonium yezoense 'Kaleidoscope'

Common Name: Jacob's ladder 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Polemoniaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to August
Bloom Description: Blue-purple
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful


Best grown in evenly moist, well-draining soils in full sun to part shade. Intolerant of heavy, overly clayey soils. Hardy in Zones 4-8.

'Kaleidoscope' performs best in partly shaded conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Polemonium yezoense is a herbaceous perennial endemic to Hokkaido, the northern-most of Japan's four main islands. It can be found growing on rocky slopes and in grassy meadows. Mature clumps will reach up to 2.5' tall with a 1.5' spread. The leaves, reaching up to 6" long, have pairs of lanceolate-shaped leaflets and form tidy clumps. The blue, 0.5" long flowers are held on upright flowering stalks in loose clusters above the foliage from late spring through summer.

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

The specific epithet yezoense means "of Ezo", a former name given to Hokkaido, the northern-most of Japan's four main islands where this species is endemic.

'Kaleidoscope' is a compact, variegated selection of Jacob's ladder that features colorful foliage and a showy display of blue-purple flowers. The foliage emerges in spring with green, creamy-white and dark pink tones. The pink lightens over the course of the growing season but the foliage retains a tri-colored appearance. Mature clumps will reach up to 2' tall with a similar spread.


No major pest or disease problems reported.


Mixed borders, cottage gardens, woodland margins planted with other spring wildflowers, containers.