Sun exposure:
Dappled shade, full shade, partial shade
East facing, north facing, west facing
Position in border:
Back, front, middle


Clay / Heavy / Moist / Well Drained / Light / Sandy

Creeping fig (Ficus pumila) is native to the tropical forests of East Asia, although now is commonly seen in many temperate countries, where it's often grown as a climber on walls. In the UK it's an easy-to-grow house plant with attractive evergreen foliage. Frost tender, it needs a minimum temperature of 7-10ºC, but it can be grown outside against a sheltered wall in some parts of Cornwall and other very mild areas of the UK – bear in mind that creeping fig can be difficult to remove from walls once attached and can therefore cause damage when cut back.

The growth of creeping fig is rather like that of English ivy, suitable to train either as a climber – on a moss pole, frame, or on a wall – or as a trailing plant, such as from a shelf or hanging pot. Many slender stems bear an abundance of small leaves which are mid- to dark green in colour, with an attractive, dimpled, and crinkled surface. The leaves are heart-shaped when young and around 2cm across, becoming larger and more elongated with age, to a maximum of around 5cm. Variegated forms have leaves with a mixture of white, cream or yellow and green, and are less vigorous than the green-leaved species.

How to grow Ficus pumila

Grow Ficus pumila in a warm, humid room such as a bathroom, in good indirect light, although light shade is tolerated. Water regularly to ensure the compost doesn’t dry out. If you need to, increase humidity by standing the pot on a water-filled tray of gravel, with the water sitting just below the top of the gravel so the plant roots don't absorb it and become waterlogged. Feed with a liquid fertiliser once every two to three weeks in spring and summer. Stop feeding in autumn and cut down on watering, ensuring the compost stays only just moist throughout winter. Resume your normal watering and feeding routine in spring.

To prune creeping fig, trim lightly as required to remove unwanted or straggly shoots. If Ficus pumila outgrows its pot, repot into the next pot size up, in spring.

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Advice on buying Ficus pumila 

  • Ficus pumila is widely available to buy from house plant retailers and garden centres although is not commonly available to buy from online suppliers
  • Take care not to confuse creeping fig with other types of fig (Ficus) sold as house plants, such as weeping fig
  • Always check plants for signs of damage or disease before planting

Where to buy Ficus pumila

Plant calendar


Ficus and wildlife

Ficus has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Ficus poisonous?

Ficus causes an upset stomach and irritates skin. Its sap is toxic.

Toxic to:
Is known to attract Cats
Is known to attract Dogs
Is known to attract People
No reported toxicity to:
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Horses
Is not known to attract Livestock