If you have noticed your creeping fig shriveling up or turning yellow, you may be asking yourself “Why is my creeping fig dying?”. While many people describe the creeping fig, also known as ficus pumilia as easy, I would disagree. I actually killed several before I got the hang of keeping this creeping vine.
If you are where I was you are probably frustrated, but if you are determined to make this plant work, check out the following care guide to see where you are going wrong.
Creeping Fig Plant Care Guide
Ficus pumilia, also known as creeping fig, are beautiful vining plants that look amazing in the right setting. These plants can be rather sensitive as houseplants though, so to keep them thriving it’s important they get near-perfect care.
If you are like me and are struggling with keeping your creeping fig inside, you could try keeping it in a terrarium. Terrariums are great because they create tiny microenvironments for your plants.
They keep temperatures steady, allow for moderate to high humidity, and can allow you to place your fig almost anywhere in your house.
One of my creeping figs is growing in a fishbowl on a piece of driftwood. I got the bowl at Walmart, added about ½ inch of charcoal to the bottom, then about an inch of soil, and planted my creeping fig cuttings.
I then covered the top of the bowl with plastic wrap. I water roughly once a month and fertilize every other month and my plant has thrived.
Learning how to care for my creeping fig in a terrarium helped me get the hang of caring for them outside of the terrarium as well.
Temperature and Humidity
The ideal temperature for creeping fig plants is 55-75, but they can survive in warmer temperatures. When keeping your plant inside, be sure to keep it away from drafty windows or heating and air conditioning vents. The air from vents is very dry and can cause your plants to dry out and shrivel up.
I have found my creeping figs prefer higher humidity, but they can thrive in moderate humidity as well.
Start off with your fig in your home and see how it does. If you notice it drying out, you can try adding a pebble tray or keep a humidifier near your plant.
A good watering schedule is an important part of keeping your creeping fig happy. Not enough water can cause your plant to dry out and die, but too much water can cause root rot and death as well.
A good place to start with watering is 1-2 times per week in the spring and summer. You want to water enough to keep the soil moist but not saturated. Test the soil to see how wet it is by placing your finger about an inch into the soil. If it is close to dry, water until you see water coming out of the drainage hole. If it is still too wet, wait a day or two and check again.
If you notice your plant doesn’t seem to be absorbing water as much as you think it should, this could be a sign it’s not getting enough light. Try moving it closer to a light source and see if that helps.
In winter you will want to water your creeping fig about half as much. You don’t want to let the soil get bone dry, but since the plant won’t be growing, it won’t need as much water as you typically give it.
When choosing soil for your plant, you want to pick one that is well-draining, but nutrient-dense. Most potting soil made for houseplants can do the trick, but I like to make my own mix. I use 2 parts FoxFarms Ocean Forest to 1 part perlite. This mix may mean you need to water slightly more often, but I have found it’s easier to water more often than to combat soggy roots.
The best time to fertilize your plants is spring and summer. This is the growing season for the creeping fig and when it will be utilizing the most nutrients. I recommend fertilizing once a month with a 10-10-10 fertilizer at half strength.
Using too much fertilizer can actually shock your plant and cause root burns, so less is more. It’s tempting to give your plant extra fertilizer, but it can actually do more harm than good.
You will want to repot your creeping fig every other year or when you notice it has outgrown its pot. The best time to do this is in the spring when your plant is coming out of its dormant season.
To start, you will want to choose a new pot. Be sure it has a drainage hole and if your plant has outgrown its current pot you will want to choose one that is 1-2 inches wider in diameter than the base of your plant.
Remove your plant from its current pot while making note of how deep it’s buried. Gently dust off the roots. If you don’t want to upgrade your plant pot, or you are happy with its current size, you can cut off any roots that are away from the main root ball.
Be careful when you are removing dirt that you don’t remove too much or damage the fragile root ball. Place it in its new pot and fill it with soil up to the spot you noted.
When you repot is also a good time to prune. While pruning isn’t necessary if you want to create new plants from stem cuttings or want a more managed look, this is the time to prune. You can remove up to ⅓ of the plant’s growth without damaging the plant. Just be sure to use sharp sterilized shears to keep from damaging the stems.
Creeping figs are fun plants that can be trained to grow on trellises or moss poles, but their care can be a bit challenging. Try not to be too discouraged if your plant is looking less than stellar and implement the care you have learned in this article to turn things around. With a little TLC, even rough-looking plants can turn into show stoppers.