How to Buy a Creeping Fig Vine


Lovely as a house plant when small, the creeping fig vine (Ficus pumila) also clings to walls and tree trunks or sprawls across the ground outdoors in tropical, frost-free locations. Creeping fig develops small, papery juvenile leaves and larger, leathery adult foliage once the plant becomes large and develops thicker, woodier stems. Don't plant it in hot direct sunlight as it will yellow the foliage, but place it where shifting shade across the day or dense shade helps keep the leaves green and lush. For extra visual interest, choose a variegated creeping fig selection, one that has green leaves edged in creamy white.

Step 1

Visit a garden center known to carry a wide selection of tropical plants. Creeping fig may be sold in the outdoor landscape plant section of nurseries in subtropical regions or in the houseplant/indoor plant section in colder regions.

Step 2

Examine the creeping fig plants for overall vigor and health. Plants should have stems lined in many leaves that do not have brown edges, a sign of improper watering maintenance at the nursery. Such stressed plants may not be healthy and harbor weakened roots or insects.

Step 3

Pass over plants that have weak, malformed or yellowed leaves, especially if the youngest leaves at the tips of stems are pale green or yellow. Select plants that are green, a sign they are growing well and do not have any nutrient deficiencies from being raised in a plastic container.

Step 4

Look at leaf undersides and stems to ensure no scale or mealybugs infest plants. If you find one plant in the nursery's display area, chances are other plants in the inventory are infected too, or soon will be. Consider looking on the opposite side of the display area from the plant you find insects on, perhaps the creeping fig plants far from it are still pest-free.

Step 5

Pick up the container of the creeping fig plant you wish to buy and look at the drainage holes at the bottom. There should be no or few roots protruding from the drainage holes. Do not purchase a plant that reveals lots or roots or a beige knotted matrix of roots just inside the drainage hole openings.

Step 6

Consider your use of a creeping fig before buying. If you want a sprawling, weeping ground cover or prostrate house plant, do not purchase a creeping fig that is already trained and attached to a small trellis in the container. Plants without a trellis work well in all applications since the stems will spread horizontally or grow vertically once the stems' growing tips encounter a wall or fence.


  • Learn2Grow: Ficus pumila
  • Country Living Magazine: Nursery Shopping Tips
  • University of Idaho: Diagnosing Plant Problems--An Analytical Approach
Keywords: Ficus pumila, Ficus repens, buying creeping fig

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for "The Public Garden," "Docent Educator," nonprofit newsletters and for horticultural databases, becoming a full-time writer in 2008. He's gardened and worked professionally at public and private gardens in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He has written articles for eHow and GardenGuides.