Ficus pumila- Creeping fig
Ficus pumila is an evergreen climber. The leaves are varying shades of green, with tips sometimes appearing a light pink colour. Leaves are small and heart shaped when young but will become an oval shape as they mature.
A great choice for climbing walls in a courtyard setting. Can climb brick and timber structures. Will root into the structure. Can be grown also be grown inside or in hanging baskets.
Prefers moist well draining soil. Can be grown in full sun/part shade/ shade. Leaves can be kept small by pruning if desired.
Botanical name: Ficus pumila
Common name: Climbing fig, creeping fig
Native to: East Asia
Flowers: Requires the fig wasp Blastophaga pumilae for pollination
Position: Full sun/Part shade/ Shade
Can ficus pumila be grown in the shade?
Yes. We find creeping fig performs really well in the shade her in Victoria. When grown in the shade it keeps that beautiful glossy green much better.
Can creeping fig be grown indoors?
Yes. ficus pumila does really well indoors. It will benefit from being planked outside in a shaded area from time to time. Application of a slow release fertiliser and watering with seasol will encourage lush growth.
How fast does ficus pumila grow?
To establish creeping fig outdoors here in victoria can require some patience. But once its established it will grow very fast, especially during the summer months.
We live out in gippsland and the temperatures are cooler than Melbourne. It took about 2 years for a creeping fig in a 14cm pot to cover an area 2m2.
Will creeping fig damage walls?
Ficus pumila will attach itself to any solid structure. Overtime the roots will grow onto walls. I wouldn't grow it on a weatherboard house wall. And if growing on a brick wall keep it in check. I know it looks great but consider the next owners. When its removed those small fibrous roots can be next to impossible to remove.
We always recommend planting it on non structural walls and fences.
Will frost damage ficus pumila?
Frost can be a problem when the plants are young. Once the leaves become larger and more waxy they are much more adapt at handling frost. Here we sometimes receive overnight temperatures of -5C during winter, now that our creeping figs in the garden are established they weather this no problem.
However the young plants in the nursery need to be kept in the shade house during winter, where there is no risk of frost. This is another reason why planting them in shaded areas can be beneficial in Victoria or anywhere else that receives frosts.
How do you propagate ficus pumila?
Another effective form of propagating creeping figs is to dig up a piece of stem that is trailing along the ground, these stems will set roots and can easily be transplanted.