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Ficus pumila

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
FY-kus PEW-mih-lah
Description

Ficus pumila, or Climbing fig, is a vigorous, fast-growing evergreen vine that can climb to 15 feet or more when grown outdoors. It is not winter hardy in most of North Carolina and severe cold will kill the vine back to the ground, thus it is often grown as an annual groundcover or as a houseplant or in a greenhouse. When grown indoors, place in a soil-based potting mix with bright indirect light or part shade and protection from afternoon sun. Water regularly during the growing season and reduce watering from fall to late winter. Prune as needed. When grown outdoors, the plant prefers partial shade but will tolerate full sun in a moist, well-drained soil. It does best in high humidity. It is drought tolerant, a good climber, resistant to damage by deer and moderately salt tolerant.

Juvenile and adult forms exist for this plant and the habit differences closely parallel those for Hedera helix. The juvenile form is usually maintained in interior environments and characterized by small, heart-shaped, alternate leaves on the vine with adventious roots. The adult form has larger, more elliptic, more leathery and reticulte leaves. The plant can cement itself to porous surfaces and will cover moist surfaces quickly. It can also be used outdoors as groundcover or to cover walls. Variegated forms are available. 

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or problems. Watch for scale, aphids, mealybugs, thrips and spider mites. The plant can become invasive.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Garden "Bed"
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Minima'
'Minima'
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#drought tolerant#salt tolerant#apvg#vines#deer resistant#groundcover#fantz#problem for cats#apvg-vg#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Minima'
'Minima'
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#drought tolerant#salt tolerant#apvg#vines#deer resistant#groundcover#fantz#problem for cats#apvg-vg#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ficus
    Species:
    pumila
    Family:
    Moraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and Southern China, Eastern Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    host plant for butterfly species
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer and drought resistant
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
    Edibility:
    Not usually grown for edible fruit, but properly prepared it is popular in Asian countries.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    When grown outdoors, pear-shaped to cylindrical fig, mostly solitary, may appear throughout the year. They are green with white flecks maturing to purple, densely hairy, and 2.5 inches long by 1.5 inches wide. Flowers and fruits rarely appear on indoor plants.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Description:
    When grown outdoors, the adult form displays minute, axillary, unisexual flowers enclosed in fleshy receptacle (fig), entered by apical orifice and pollinated by fig wasps. Rarely flowers when grown indoors.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Subcordate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    On climbing stems, juvenile leaves are alternate, simple, heart-shaped, acute, cordate, entire, medium to dark green, glabrous and bumpy above, pubescent below, to 1 inch long with a short petiole. On fruit bearing stems, adult leaves are more ovate-elliptic, slightly acute to obtuse, rotund to subcordate, very dark green above, pale below, reticulate, coriaceous, to 4 inches long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems have a milky sap. The juvenile form is slender, climbing by adventitious roots, and developing woody texture and more bushy habit in adult state.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Rock Wall
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Salt
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses