Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Creeping Fig, Climbing Fig, Creeping Ficus
Ficus pumila

Family: Moraceae (mor-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ficus (FY-kus) (Info)
Species: pumila (POO-mil-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Ficus repens

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

16 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Seed is poisonous if ingested
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction
Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From woody stem cuttings
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 40 photos.
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15 positives
7 neutrals
11 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative Hutcho On Nov 8, 2014, Hutcho from The Channon
Australia wrote:

It is sub tropical where I live and a lot of native forest.
My neighbour had this Ficus growing over an old tree stump in front of her house which became a 2 meter (sorry I'll use feet and inches) 6 foot diameter mass.
Someone painted a face on a board and placed it so it looked like a head with a huge afro.
This has now been cut down and mostly removed but I see tiny trailers in the grass 6 foot out all around.
I think someone must have dumped some clippings from this down by the giant old dead tree quite a number of years ago and it has now climbed 60 feet up and well established.
My fear is that soon this rotten old tree will break off and fall down into the forest below. All the fragments of the ficus will get going and a nightmare will occur in the very steep terrain.
The method I chose to kill this thing was to scrape and paint. At eye level I made about 1 1/2 inch long scrapes and brushed on neat glyphosate on all vertical runners. I repeated the process again lower down.
Several days later I saw quite a number of yellow leaves which have now fallen off.Today a week and a half later I administered a second dose by drilling a hole in each of the two biggest parts (3 inches wide). I drilled down at an angle and inserted a section of drinking straw, these I filled up with neat glyphosate.
This is good way as it is easy to now fill up the straws again until the bloody bastard thing is totally dead.
Some more info is that next to this giant dead tree is a stump that had lots of the juvenile form of the ficus over it. As I had the glyphosate there I brushed neat stuff over the leaves and they are now dead.
My thinking is to be wary if just applying poison to leaves as the root system may survive that's why I'm saturating the woody part just above ground level.
I'll post again in a month or so.

Positive slacanfora On Oct 17, 2014, slacanfora from Torrance, CA wrote:

It has taken over the patio and the walls. It looks good but is out of control; I don't know where it came from but it is also on my neighbors wall and as far down the walls as far as I can invasive, definitely. The comments on control are helpful. It provides shade, needs nothing and the hummingbirds and butterflies like it.

Positive Mom2D_M On Feb 27, 2013, Mom2D_M from Turlock, CA wrote:

We have an ugly concrete block wall seperating our backyard from a main street. Our neighbors had been growing Creeping Fig on their part of the wall and it grew over and covered our part, it looked beautiful! In almost 5 years I never had to trim and it never took over any other plants or nearby trees. My neighbor had someone trim his for him and accidently cut along the bottom and severed all the plants from the main roots so they all died including the part that had grown over and covered my ugly wall! So I just planted 2 plants of my own to cover the wall, I hope it grows fast!

Neutral kyotowest On Jan 28, 2013, kyotowest from Lake of the Pines, CA wrote:

After reading all the previous posts, I must say I agree with everything positive and negative, with one exception. Creeping fig was taking over the outside of my house when we moved in 3 years ago. The plants I didn't want were tough to pull down and dig out, but not impossible. The plants I removed have not come back, the ones I kept are easy to control, and we enjoy them. Its evergreen, takes very little water, the deer don't bother it, the hot summers don't bother it, the cold winters don't bother it. A pretty tough plant.

Negative lallen08 On Jan 12, 2013, lallen08 from Tampa, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I am so very sorry that I planted this beast. It has "creeped" up the trunks of my trees and side of my house and has formed a thick mat in the yard. It's awful, it's damaging everything and I can't get rid of it. I spend obscene amounts of time just trying to contain it. If you live in Central Florida DON'T PLANT IT!! You'll regret it, I promise.

Neutral spiderAnne On Jan 4, 2013, spiderAnne from Pretoria
South Africa wrote:

Some people have commented that Glyphosate (Roundup etc.) does not kill the plant. Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide which must be applied to actively growing green material so that it can be translocated throughout the plant (most importantly to the roots). Cutting off some or all of the leaves and shoots first and then applying it is exactly the wrong way to go about it and is the direct opposite of the manufacturers instructions. It should also be applied during the period when the plant is actively translocating metabolites to the roots, that is midsummer to late summer. Do not remove leaves and shoots before application, spray to cover the entire plant and wait at least 14 days for any results to become visible. Wait until the plant has died and dried out (a few weeks) and then remove any dead material. Used like this the whole plant is likely to die with one application. If leaves and shoots are removed from a plant before application of the herbicide, the ability to absorb and translocate the applied chemical (most importantly to the roots) is drastically impaired and regrowth will occur.

Negative umaka On Nov 21, 2012, umaka from Nairobi
Kenya wrote:

Am I glad I read this post tonight before planting the creeping fig on my compound !

Was contemplating to do so but opted to do some research which landed me on your website

The plant is alive and well too in Nairobi and folks seem to be having similar issues getting rid of it

Positive SVCDeserts On Oct 8, 2012, SVCDeserts from Albuquerque, NM (Zone 6b) wrote:

I bought the plant in a small pot, then transplanted it. I have no intention of using it outside. I like the "fragility" of the leaves. I find it great for a potted plant or planter, although mine has a long way to go since I bought it as a "baby." However. I can see that it would not be advisable for any kind of plant on the outside wall of a house. In fact, I would never advise ivy on any kind of house exterior, no matter how enchanting it looks.

Positive stevenreiley On Apr 7, 2012, stevenreiley from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Had the vine on the northside of my home for nearly 20 years. Never had a problem with it taking over. I trim it regularly. It is a beautiful green color and really gives the house some style. I read the negative comments and I simply have never encountered any of those problems. I have a defined area where I want it grow and with a little maintenance, it grows exactly where it is suppose to grow. A little maintenance and this vine looks great and in twenty 20 years it has not taken over anything.

Neutral gm_letty On Jul 29, 2011, gm_letty from Lancaster, PA wrote:

Ummm... I used some concentrated Miracle Grow in my neighbor's potted creeping figus and KILLED it. Then I found out it was her mother's day gift. Have only been able to find 3 tiny ones & am trying to get them to grow up alot quickly.

It would figure though, I love to garden but what can you do when you kill unkillable plants ???? My daughter can grow anything & my daughter-in-law is worse than me. I am going to buy fake flowers; they may fade but I can't kill them, LOL

Neutral CentralCoastGardener On Jun 10, 2011, CentralCoastGardener from Pismo Beach, CA wrote:

First time planting a creeping fig. This is a silly question, I know, but am I supposed to remove the ties that keep the fig fastened to the stick they're growing on in the nursery pot? I put them in the ground and left them bound to the original stick. I figured I'd cut them loose when they attached to my wall, but they haven't yet. I cut one loose and it just flopped all over the ground and is creeping away from the wall. Help!

Neutral Florence1149 On Jun 6, 2011, Florence1149 from Denham Springs, LA wrote:

Has anyone seen a fruit from the creeping fig? If so, please describe. Thanks

Neutral krixtina On Mar 23, 2011, krixtina from Redlands, CA wrote:

ok, Yes it can get out of control. I used a tree stump killer and that worked after I pulled all I could out. Otherwise it is a beautiful plant, but we call it Jumanji!

Positive onecoolshe On Aug 4, 2010, onecoolshe from Highland, CA wrote:

It's green, and SoCal heat keeps it under control. Once a year I have a tree trimmer trim it as well as trees that need it. People stop and take pictures of it on my house it looks so pretty.

Negative deeleegee On May 10, 2010, deeleegee from Houston, TX wrote:

I am one who hates this plant!

It grew from the neighbor's yards on both sides of my house, climbed up the brick and privacy fence, making both more asthetically pleasing and providing more privacy. I usually keep it trimmed close to the wall because I think it looks prettier that way. Then last year when I had back problems was unable to trim it, so this year decided to cut it all down and start over, since it was so out of control.

You may THINK you have this vine under control, when all you actually have under control is the foliage above the ground.

I discovered. it covered the ground, just below the grass, not allowing the grass to root, so I pulled up the surface roots. I eventually discovered the root system goes at least 15 inches deep, with roots as large as 3 to 4 inches in diameter that grow all the way across the yard and under patie slab and the foundation of my house. It has caused the patio slab to crack.

I will have to dig up the entire back yard to remove the root system!
And what about the roots that are already under the foundation?
Will they continue to grow?
There is also the problem of the next door neighbors who don't keep the vine under control, and the roots from their side are growing under the soil up to my foundation!

The other poster was correct - this stuff just laughs at Brush-B-
Gone, and the like.
Any suggestions for killing this beast would be greatly appreciated.

Neutral nomosno On Mar 29, 2010, nomosno from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

People seem to love of hate this plant. I used to love it ...

I still like it but it begins to outgrow my ability to control it and it makes me worried.

One thing for sure tho: contrary to what the "Dangers" section of the plant files say, this plans has no sharp edges or spines. It is actually quite pleasant to handle because it is mildly fuzzy. I just cut down a huge amount with an electrical shearer and fed the cutting thru a chipper.

Negative englishsoup On Oct 8, 2009, englishsoup from Hemet, CA wrote:

I bought a house 2 months ago and have this 'triffid' growing over from a garden on the other side of the wall.

It has been hell. I started trimming it back 2 weeks ago and have managed to remove a pathetically small amount of it.

I hate it, hate it, hate it.

I've just spent another 45 minutes removing another small section. It's literally made a crack in a solid wall, I've never seen anything like it and I never thought I would be snipping away with loppers.

I tried to get a gardening company to come in and do it and they walked away saying YOU COULD OFFER A BILLION DOLLARS WE AREN'T FIGHTING THAT MONSTER.

This vine is enough to make a grown man cry. I wonder if a herbicide liberally sprayed on the vine would kill it or at least kill it back enough so I can get a respite from constantly stopping it from growing over.

Positive giftgas On May 5, 2009, giftgas from Everson, WA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I've heard from various people, that this plant can take years to climb - I didn't find this to be true. It's climbing right now, and I've only had it in the ground for a month.

I'm really enjoying's going to be a shame if it gets blasted back to the ground on the first frost.

Negative cosmiccat On Apr 29, 2008, cosmiccat from Fullerton, CA wrote:

We bought a house 3yrs ago with the side brick wall shared with my neighbor completely covered in it. It seems like the original owners planted it 20yrs ago when they moved in and never attempted to control it. It has gone through little cracks in the wall over to my neighbors, climbed over and down his side of the wall and extended itself an additional 2ft up in places to make the privacy between us, well, more private.

I had thought that there were two plants in there, as the mature leaves are broader and the branches produce figs. This is obviously not the case. And I believe it's currently flowering.

As for the poster that asked about the plant living although he had cut it from the trunk/root (and I know this is late), the plant self roots. I believe it has rooted itself in our neighbor's side of the yard. On several occasions in our attempt to remove some of the fig, we've found that it's rooted itself to another location in the dirt. We've actually severed it in several places and it's only killed a few of the many branches. It's likely rooted itself in some poor crevice within the tree.

My husband did the backbreaking work on (hopefully) removing it from one of our backyard hard-scaped planters, leaving the rest of the fig for the "privacy". We'll see if it pops back up. And yes, he wasn't able to remove all of the thick root system as we were afraid it was going to break a pipe. He spent a whole weekend removing the roots/plant from a 5ft by 10inch planter, using a pickax, ax, loppers, etc. I'm going to be watching carefully to see if it grows back.

And yes, it's suckered up paint from our fences as well.

Added 6.13.10
I just wanted to add that this past early spring we decided to try to unblock the landscape drains on the side and back of the house, as the rains we had in So.Cal. were a bit concerning and it looked like it was going to flood our side yard. We rented an industrial rooter from our local mega hardware store. This plant had broken through the piping section that is approx. 10" underground and extended it's roots through the pipe blocking all water flow. When we were able to finally pull out the roots, which came out in one piece, it was (I kid you not) over 10 FEET in length. This plant will not die no matter how hard I try to kill it.

Positive growin On Jan 2, 2008, growin from Vancouver, BC (Zone 8b) wrote:

I planted a small plant over 20 years ago on the south side of my folks home. It would grow up the side of the house, and, if the winter was cold enough, defoliate or die to the roots. Every year it'd grow back up and never got to the mature leaf stage. In my zone, 8b, it is a die-back perennial vine that seems to be kept under control by winter. I think it's survived for so long as it gets protection from the house as its planted right against the house and the south facing gives it the seasonal sun it needs.

Negative tvbart On Nov 6, 2007, tvbart from Corpus Christi, TX wrote:

I love the posting earlier that includes the updates months later... "still no success", "still no success". That's great.

Hopefully, I will have a better story to tell, but I fear I will be fighting this for years to come, as it appears well established in the home we just moved into.

I do, however, want to contradict an earlier posting. Our creeping ivy grew from the ground up the trunk and branches of a tree, and had literally choked part of the tree before we got to it. Rather than work for a month to try and get all the individual vines from the top down, we decided to cut every main artery at the bottom of the tree and see what happens. Sure enough, all the vines above died, which makes it look like half the tree is brown, when in reality the tree's leaves are green, and the ivy's leaves are brown. Now it's just a matter of waiting and hopefully seeing the individual vines slowly fall off.

We also did our best to clear ALL the roots out of our back flowerbeds. We pulled about enough to fill 10 garbage bags, and our yard is not that big.

I'll try to keep you updated on my success.

Corpus Christi, TX

Negative ShelfLife On Jul 2, 2006, ShelfLife from Clearwater, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I HATE this plant. Previous owners of my current home planted it... I don't know how long ago, but it has "runners" with a 3"-4" diameter.

And roots under the house. When allowed to grow freely (for just ONE season), it severely damaged wood siding and a brick chimney.

And it will not die. I have seen runners send out shoots AFTER the runners have been cut off from their roots. I find small shoots of it 20-30 feet away from where the main infestation is and I dig and dig and it always comes back. It laughs at both Roundup and Othro Brush B-Gon.

I will NEVER plant this anywhere, anywhere, anywhere.

Positive weatherguesser On Oct 16, 2005, weatherguesser from Salinas, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

The folks who lived in our house before us constructed a brick pedastal to hold a potted plant and planted creeping fig at the base. It has grown up to make a very nice cover for the pedastal. We've lived here for about 6 months, and so far I've had no negative experiences with this plant -- it's easy to control and not nearly as invasive as some of the other vines in my yard.

Positive trois On Aug 6, 2005, trois from Santa Fe, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

A great plant if you have room and need something covered. It will cover anything. I use it to cover some PVC pipes that are unsightly.

Positive artcons On Jul 21, 2005, artcons from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have had this plant for better than ten years. I clipped a cutting from the wall of a mall entrance in Boca Raton after having seen this plant used in various topiary displays at Disneyworld. For several years I had it growing on an alligator wire frame filled with sphagnum moss hanging on an stucco wall on the East border of my yard. After a few years the moss disintegrated, and the plant began to root to, and climb on the wall. I cut it down and put it in the Sable palm where it has done very well for a long time. In the palm it's easy to keep it under control.
It is a great plant for making topiary, or for use on a trellis, but it can get out of control if not watched on a regular basis.
It will work it's way into cracks of stucco and wood, so it should not be used against a house.
A no brainer for care, except for the cutting back to keep it under control.

Positive nick89 On Sep 5, 2004, nick89 from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

A nice fast grower. Up towards the northern limits of their hardiness they aren't so invasive. I grow them as a climber in the shade of my garage. In their second year they have doubled in height and keep on growing!

Positive ocpws On Aug 27, 2004, ocpws from Riverside, CA wrote:

I love this plant for its close growth to the wall and its spread.

A couple of inconsistencies I would like to correct though... Above it is said to be poisonous, but in China and neighboring Asian countries, the figs are used as an ingredient in a drink called "Grass Jelly." I would confirm this before attempting to ingest it though... You can eat the puffer fish, but if any parts of the stomach are ingested, it can be deadly... Must be an asian thing, or an acient Chinese secret...

Also, it does have one pest that I am aware of: snails like to eat the tender tips of the new growth...

Negative GreenG On Apr 1, 2004, GreenG wrote:

I have the misfortune to have this plant growing the back yard of the house I just bought. The plant is mature, producing the large leaves and fruit. The large leaves grow on stems that extend out from the main vine stem, making the vine bush-like.

It is a fast grower and has taken over a nice shade tree, which it is choking out. I have tried to cut the stems near their base with a saw, but that had no effect on the rest of the vine high up in the tree. Does anyone have any idea why? Is it parasitic?

I may have to have the entire tree cut down as it appears to be weakening.

Avoid this plant!

Negative htop On Feb 23, 2004, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Tx.

I have been trying to kill this plant for years due to the damage it has done to the brick and wood on my house. I had to cut the base of the vines with a chainsaw because they were so large. I dug and dug and dug last year and thought that I had all of the roots. But as the photo I posted today shows, it has emerged once again. :0( . I have tried all types of plant killers, but it always comes back. It spread all over my house from a 4 inch pot transplant. Be careful where you plant it and be sure you want it there. I have to cut it to the ground every year and it is difficult to remove when it has attached itself to brick. I have not been able to remove all of the suckers that attach the vines to surfaces.

Update 12/2/04 Thought I had killed it last February, but it's back again! Ugh ,,,

Update: 5/17/06 Thought I dug up all the roots last year ... it's baaaack.

Positive skjoldhus On Nov 9, 2003, skjoldhus wrote:

I have been growing Creeping Fig for years as an indoor plant. It has several excellent qualities. I use it in terrariums with live animals in the terrarium enclosures. It is a robust grower; given adequate light and water it swiftly makes a ground cover and a climbing vine. I keep snakes and all my tanks are set up as naturally as possible.

Over the years creeping fig has distinguished itself as a durable plant that is unaffected by the traffic of snakes, and in point of fact actually "adapts" to higher traffic of more active species by growing a longer stem on ground-born vines, allowing snakes to move under the leaves without disturbing them.

This plant is easy to trim back, although like many plants cutting it back creates a fuller, bushier plant with larger leaves. It is beautiful and very hardy. I have found the variegated variety is less hardy and robust. I have had limited success in trying to propagate cuttings or even separate larger plants. The roots are delicate when it comes to splitting up an existing plant.

But overall, in spite of any minor difficulties, it is an excellent house/terrarium plant. I have also seen it used as a wall cover here in my neighborhood here in south Florida (U.S.) As a terrarium plant on a scale of 1-10 I give it a 9, only because it is so swift growing that trimming it back can be a bit of work; otherwise it would be a 10.

Negative Lance_of_HB On Aug 16, 2003, Lance_of_HB from Huntington Beach, CA wrote:

I'm sorry I let it grow from one side wall of my house, across the back wall and to the other side. In addition to spreading by suckers (which stain or take the paint off any painted surface), it turns woody and goes through the crevices in any wall. The woody vine-branches can get over 1/2 inch thick requiring a lopper to cut back. It exudes a sticky sap which likes to muck up my pruning shears.

The leaves do make a great addition to my mulch pile. When I asked my local nurseryman when to prune he grinned and said "Butcher it anytime!" This is a classic case of an invasive plant that does its job too well.

Positive Monocromatico On Jun 3, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

You can have an entire house covered with this plant.

Positive smiln32 On Aug 11, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Also called "Creeping Fig Vine, it makes a wonderful groundcover.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Gilbert, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Scottsdale, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Auburn, California
Carlsbad, California
Fullerton, California
Huntington Beach, California
Manteca, California
Pismo Beach, California
Riverside, California
Salinas, California
San Diego, California
Torrance, California
Turlock, California
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Casselberry, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Miami, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Thonotosassa, Florida
Rincon, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Statesboro, Georgia
Alexandria, Louisiana
Denham Springs, Louisiana
Hammond, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Henderson, Nevada
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Wake Forest, North Carolina
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Beaufort, South Carolina
Bluffton, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Inman, South Carolina
Lexington, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas
Houston, Texas (3 reports)
Port Arthur, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas

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