Creeping fig (Ficus pumila) is a fast-growing vine that can be used to soften the look of concrete garden walls. The plant’s wandering stems and small leaves create an interesting lacy pattern as the vine grows across the wall. It can also be used as a groundcover.
Creeping fig can be planted in sun or shade, and it has a good tolerance to salt spray. If there’s a freeze, the leaves will turn brown and fall off but usually come back in spring. This vine needs well-drained soil and moderate moisture until it becomes well established.
You will need to be vigilant with your pruning to keep this vine in check. If you use this plant as a groundcover near a wall or building, it will grow onto the wall very quickly. To prevent this, clip the edge of the groundcover regularly. Plus, the vine’s adhesive pads make it hard to remove, so consider planting it on privacy walls, but avoid the walls of your home. It can damage wooden structures.
Another excellent use for creeping fig is in topiaries. Since it holds tight and grows quickly, it can easily cover just about any topiary form.
There are cultivars available, including 'Minima', with slender, small leaves; ’Quercifolia’, with leaves resembling those of a miniature oak; and 'Variegata', the leaves of which have creamy white markings.
- Ficus pumila, Creeping Fig (PDF)
- Ficus: Trees and Vine of Florida (PDF; a thorough description all of ficus species)