Are polemonium reptans shade plants?

lilgreenfrogJuly 10, 2007

Hi - I bought a Blue Pearl Jacob's Ladder a few months ago, and the tag said partial shade to shade. I planted it, therefor, in the shade (probably full, but not heavy, if that makes sense - shaded by my eaves).

It was horribly root bound, and despite my best efforts it floundered after I planted it (yellowed leaves, droopy stems). My overzealous Coral Bells grew over it, so I dug it up, put in some "quick draining" soil mix and replanted it where it gets a bit more light. It looks better, but still qualifies as SAD.

Someone on another forum told me that they are in fact full-sun plants, and are sure to die in my clay soil, despite any ammendments I might do. I would like the thoughts of this forum, please!



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There is a lot of confusion in the trade about Polemonium 'Blue Pearl'. some label it as P. reptans (a native species), others label it as P. caeruleum (an introduced species). Whichever one you have, the cultural requirements are basically the same, moderately fertile, well drained soil, in part to full shade. Wet or heavy clay soil will shorten their life. I haven't found Polemonium to be very heat tolerant. My P. reptans, grown in full shade, goes dormant when we have a long string of 90°+ days, but returns when daytime high temperatures drop into the 60°-70°'s. Except P. reptans 'Stairway to Heaven', the variegated foliage form, it completely died due to the heat, even though they were in total shade.
Planting during the summer months creates a lot of stress upon the plant and I always do those in full shade. Part shade and full sun plantings have to wait until fall or spring.
Hoping the best for yours!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 2:31AM
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Thank you, Georgia-rose, that was very helpful! So no wet soil- how much water does it want? Should I be letting the soil dry a few inches down before re-watering? I can certainly cut back its water - I've probably been overdoing it because of its wilty-ness. And we have been in the high 80's to low 100's for several weeks now, so I'm sure it's less than pleased about that.
Thanks again, I appreciate the help


    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 10:58AM
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tracyvine(6 NE Ohio)

I may have lost mine completely. It had gone dormant due to the high temperatures. It is in fertile well draining soil but after the several days of deep torrential rains that we received here it seems to have died completely. Nothing is left other than a dried hollow empty husk of a stem. I just cut it down as it was depressing to look at. I left a little lower foliage in hope that it may return. After all that stress I just don't think it will.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 12:51AM
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I have had good luck with P. reptans 'Stairway to Heaven,' despite the humidity & 90s. Of course my soil is ridiculously well drained. Mine are in part shade. The leaf color is not as good as in the Spring, but the plants are healthy.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 12:20PM
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