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FICUS pumila

Image of Ficus pumila

James H. Schutte

Family

Moraceae

Botanical Name

FICUS pumila

Plant Common Name

Creeping Fig

General Description

Unlike most figs, which are trees, this East Asian native is a rampant evergreen vine grown primarily for its dense all-enveloping foliage. It has both juvenile and adult growth phases. Juvenile growth has small heart-shaped leaves on slender fuzzy clinging stems. Their rootlike holdfasts bond tightly to most surfaces including metal and concrete, and can damage some materials including wood. Where hardy, creeping fig will quickly cover multi-story buildings, requiring regular pruning to keep it in bounds. Adult growths are thick-stemmed and shrubby with leathery elliptical leaves that are several times larger than juvenile leaves. They often appears once the juvenile form reaches the limits of its support. Relatively large hairy green figs appear on adult branches, maturing to purple. Flowers are inconspicuous.

Creeping fig is a most accommodating plant, growing almost anywhere to form cool green vertical carpets. It prefers well-drained soil and partial to full shade. Full hot sun will yellow its leaves. It will take a few degrees of frost, but not prolonged freezing. Remove the mature fruiting branches to maintain the climbing habit. It is very drought tolerant once established. Use creeping fig to soften concrete walls or to cover embankments, or grow it indoors in a hanging basket or planter. Among its many cultivars are ‘Minima,’ which has tiny leaves; ‘Quercifolia,’ with small lobed oak-like leaves; and ‘Variegata,’ whose leaves have white marks or edges.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

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

  • Plant Type

    Vine/Liana

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    3'-50' / 0.9m - 15.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Eastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Vining/Climbing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Fruit Color

    Purple, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

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

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No