Fluffy, wild, and hardy—three great ways to describe the Creeping Fig. Their leaves may be much smaller compared to the more common vining house plant the Golden Pothos, but they make up for it with extreme foliage and fluffiness. It is one of the smallest plants that belong to the ficus family. Most of its family grows upright as trees (such as the fiddle leaf fig) and as shrubs but this plant is a ground covering. When used for decoration, it is a great plant for terrariums, topiaries, and hanging planters.
Scientific Name: Ficus Pumila
From: Southeast Asia
Zones: 8, 9 and 11
Height: Aggressive grower. Varys in length depending on if it is growing from a hanging planter or growing up a trellis or wall. 3-6 ft is normal from a hanging planter inside. 20-40 ft is normal for vining outside on walls or structures.
Creeping Figs love medium indirect sunlight. Little light can cause the vines to slow down in growth but won’t kill them. Just be sure to keep them in a room with a sunny window. Avoid direct sunlight through windows as this can burn the leaves. If there’s enough light to cast a shadow in a room then your creeping fig will do just fine.
Water when the soil is dry but do not let water sit in the pot/container. For this plant, it is better to err on the side of overwatering than underwatering. If underwatered for too long the plant will start to shrivel and lose whole sections of vines. It’s a bit dramatic and will also drop its leaves prematurely but don’t let this deter you from getting one. A good indicator of overwatering is that the leaves will become light in color and fall off with the slightest touch. If the leaves are beginning to turn brown and shrivel then it is being underwatered.
Creeping Fig is not extremely poisonous, however, the sap can cause skin irritation so it is best to keep this plant away from children and pets. The best solution is to put it in a hanging planter high up in a room and let it vine down—simply prune it when the vines become too close to the ground.
One of the best tips I can give with a Creeping Fig is to NOT let the soil dry out if you have one growing inside. While they don’t like to sit in water they are not as forgiving for underwatering like some other vines such as Golden Pothos. If underwater they will sacrifice their fluffiness and leave you with only stringy, sad, vines. When growing in a container fertilize them every 3 months and a little less in the wintertime. If you are using a slow-release fertilizer be sure to wait till it is ‘done releasing’ before fertilizing again as overdoing it will burn the plant roots.
As previously stated Creeping Figs are aggressive growers—a little ironic since it has ‘creeping’ in the name. Really, the creeping part refers to how it can latch onto surfaces easily. If you’re ever needing to cover a fence or wall quickly then this is the plant for you. Within 1-2 years they can completely cover a pergola, archway, or columns. While inside they are great hanging plants, outside they can grow on almost any surface and can span from 20-40ft. If you want it to grow on a wall inside, just be aware that if you ever need to move it, it can leave indentions on your walls and take the paint off. When vining on surfaces and outside they grow ‘runner vines’ that stretch far away from the plant a few feet and then grow new vines that start to branch out to cover more space—similar to a lightning bold but prettier.
Creeping Figs, like most vines, can easily be rooted in both water and also directly in soil. To water root simply cut a vine directly after a leaf and put the cut side down into a glass of water. To soil root simply repeat the cutting process but instead put it in a pot with moist sterile potting mix and continue to keep the soil from drying out. It’s best to do this in the springtime when new growth is beginning to form. If you want to speed up the process you can also dip the tip of your cutting in rooting hormone for both water and soil propagation.