Ficus pumila (Creeping Fig)

Creeping Fig / Creeping Fig Vine

Ficus pumila

The creeping fig is a true terrarium staple thanks to it’s miniature size, easy care and prolific growth habits. Native to China and Japan, Ficus pumila is a versatile species that’s capable of climbing just about any surface it can find. It thrives in hot and humid terrarium environments, so you can expect this aggressive grower to rapidly cover the undergrowth and make its way up a container.

With bright green heart shaped leaves, Ficus pumila is a gorgeous little vine that’ll brighten up any naturalistic environment. It’s actually considered an invasive species in some parts of the world, but in a terrarium it’s easily maintained. Which makes it an excellent fit for both tiny terrariums and large ones where you can let it run wild.

At a Glance

Where to Buy Creeping Fig

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Terrarium Plant Guide

Creeping Fig Care & Growth

Lighting

Ficus pumila is a versatile plant that can cope with a variety of household lighting conditions. Whilst it can be considered a low light plant, it’ll grow best under bright indirect light where it tends to grow in a more compact nature.

Watering

As a tropical species the creeping fig vine likes a consistently moist environment. I’ve even seen it grow happily in terrarium environments where its exposed to running water.

Substrate

Ficus pumila should readily grow in most terrarium substrates. Opting for a mix with good water retention will help to keep this tropical species happy, and so additives like sphagnum moss and coco coir can really help.

Temperature & Humidity

For such a miniature vine, this plant is surprisingly tough and can handle a wide range of temperature and humidity conditions – which is what makes this such a prolific species in the wild.

That being said, it’ll really take off in hot and humid terrarium conditions that match its native tropical environment.

Growth

This versatile vining species is a prolific grower and once settled in a terrarium you can expect it to quickly form an extensive ground cover before climbing anything and everything it reaches.

Depending on the size of your terrarium, you may need to periodically trim this plant down but it’s easy to manage.

Propagation

The easiest way to propagate the creeping fig is to take stem cuttings when you’re trimming the plant back. These can be potted directly back into the substrate for a super easy propagation process.

Varieties & Similar Plants

Out of the many hundreds of Ficus species, there are a few common varieties of Ficus pumila that are excellent for terrariums.

Ficus pumila ‘Minima’ is an even smaller variety, Ficus pumila ‘Quercifolia’ (oak leaf creeping fig) has gorgeous oak leaf shaped foliage, Ficus pumila ‘Variegata’ adds a creamy white variegation to the leaf tips and, and finally Ficus pumila ‘Curly’ has delicate leaves that curl over a central lime green vein.

Common Problems

Ficus pumila is a bulletproof option for terrariums. It’ll happily grow in most conditions, and really the only issue that I’ve heard is that it can grow a bit too well.

I’ve heard the occasional anecdote where people have found the creeping fig to grow so much faster than other plants that it ends up choking them (and sometimes itself) out. A periodic trimming should easily prevent this from happening though.