Creeping Fig or Climbing Fig

Botanical Name: Ficus pumila

Creeping fig has small, heart-shaped leaves that densely cover its long stems. Its growing habits make it a versatile plant indoors. To show off its thickly leafed vines, put this trailing, climbing, creeping ficus plant in a hanging basket.

creeping fig, climbing fig, ficus pumila, ficus houseplant

Better yet, you can train its aerial roots to sink into a moss support, trellis or topiary. Tie it loosely to a support with florist's wire and this climbing fig will readily take hold.

Want another option? Plant it as a ground cover beneath a tall house plant and allow the stems to spill over the sides of the container. It makes a nice complement to Norfolk Island pine or a braided weeping fig (F. benjamina).

Creeping Fig Solutions, How-tos and Special Helps

Yellow leaves? You over-watered. Water thoroughly when potting mix is dry 1 inch down. Reduce water in the winter when growth has slowed. 

Brown, shriveled, crunchy leaves may be caused by too much sunlight or too little water.

Brown leaf tips are likely due to low humidity. Raise the humidity around your houseplant. See "Humidity" tips below.

Prune it back. Creeping fig is fast-growing and needs some help from you to shape it or train it. Prune off new stems regularly to encourage branching and to shape them as they grow. Pruning up to one-third in spring will keep the plant compact.

Repot in spring. This creeping ficus houseplant prefers to be slightly pot-bound. Repot every 3 years, moving to a pot 1 size larger or keep it in the same pot and just give it fresh potting mix. Use a pot with drainage holes to prevent root rot.

creeping fig, climbing fig, ficus pumilaPlace a small trellis in the pot for Creeping Fig to climb. Photo ©Rodrusoleg

Ficus pumila Varieties

This creeping ficus houseplant is also known as Ficus repens. The variegated cultivars are the most popular.

Ficus pumila 'Minima' has tiny leaves, making this humidity-loving plant an ideal addition to a terrarium. White-edged 'Snowflake', 'White Sunny' and 'Variegata' are just a few heavily variegated ficus cultivars.

Creeping Fig Care Tips

Origin: China and Japan 

Height: Trailing to 3 ft (90 cm)

Light: Bright, indirect sunlight is ideal for Creeping Fig. It will tolerate low light, but not direct sun. Dry, shriveled leaves are caused by too much sun. This ficus houseplant responds well to growing under a grow light.

Water: Keep soil lightly moist spring through fall. Water less in winter, allowing the top of the potting medium to dry out before watering again. Yellow leaves are a sign of over-watering.

Humidity: Try to maintain 50% relative humidity or higher. Indoor air can become extremely dry during the winter months so it's a good idea to use a humidity monitor, rather than guess. If relative humidity drops below 50%, place the plant on a tray of wet pebbles or use a cool-mist room humidifier. Young plants can be kept in a Wardian case to surround them with the moist air they crave.

Temperature: Will tolerate cool to warm temperatures (55-85°F/13-29°C). 

Soil: Good-quality, all-purpose potting mix

Fertilizer: Feed monthly spring through fall with a balanced (such as 10-10-10 NPK) liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Stop feeding in winter, when growth is slower because of lower light levels.

Propagation: Take 3-4 inch stem tip cuttings in spring and root in perlite or fresh potting mix. Use rooting hormone powder to ensure the stems will quickly develop roots.

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