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FICUS pumila 'Variegata'

Image of Ficus pumila 'Variegata'

Gerald L. Klingaman



Botanical Name

FICUS pumila 'Variegata'

Plant Common Name

Creeping Fig, Variegated Creeping Fig

General Description

Variegated creeping fig is a relative of edible figs and tropical trees but is a tender, evergreen vine. It is native to eastern Asia and has distinctive juvenile and mature forms. The juvenile form features slender, fuzzy branches and small, white variegated, heart-shaped leaves. It is an aggressive vine which clings to most surfaces including metal, wood and concrete by a strong adhesive, aerial rootlets. Creeping fig will quickly cover structures to several stories high were it is hardy and can damage surfaces, particularly wood. Stems are generally hidden by the dense foliage, but may be invasive and require pruning when creeping fig is grown on buildings. The mature form of the plant is produces sturdier horizontal branches. The leaves are leathery, larger by several factors and elliptically-shaped. The horizontal form is not an aggressive climber and tends to form once the juvenile form reaches the limits of its support. Small, hairy, pear-shaped figs appear on the mature branches. Flowers are not showy and creeping fig is grown primarily for its lush foliage, which forms cool, green and white vertical carpets on walls.

Creeping fig is the most accommodating of plants, it grows just about anywhere. It prefers well-drained soil and partially sunny to shady locations. It will grow in the full, hot sun, but in such conditions, the leaves turn yellowish. It will take a few degrees of frost, but protect from prolonged freezing temperatures. Prune the mature fruiting branches off to maintain the climbing habit. Prune also to thin the plant and control its rampant growth. It is very drought tolerant once established. Use creeping fig on concrete walls to soften the appearance, in hanging baskets – particularly in colder climates and as a tough groundcover.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    3'-50' / 0.9m - 15.2m

  • Bloom Time


  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia, China, Japan

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Salt

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Fruit Color

    Purple, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    White, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    White, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    White, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Variegated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    White, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter) Modifier

    Variegated, SpottedMottled

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture


  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Groundcover, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier, Tropical, Vine

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Attracts


  • Self-Sowing