The Elegant Side of Creeping Fig

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Growing on the steps of this beautiful home in Wilmington, NC, taken on a recent vaction, I found this Creeping Fig. The more I looked, the more I saw that several homes were adorned with this beautiful vine. It was elegantly fastened on steps, brick fences and foundations, and a trellis here and there. It was the most pleasant addition to the garden I’ve ever witnessed.

Above was perhaps the most abundant display  of Creeping Fig on my outing that day. I am in awe of the fig adding so much to the landscaping but yet cost so little. It surely made an impact. You could consider it formal or casual but either way, it is lovely.

wire-vine-on-fence

Aimlessly strolling along and not paying attention to street signs, I became lost. It was peaceful  meandering through the neighborhoods of Wilmington, NC. Their gardens are carefully tended and there is something to delight a gardening enthusiast  around every corner. I took a thousand pictures or more  on that trip. The climate is mild and more varieties will grow there than where I am just 4 hours inland.

wire-vine-fence-2

The white picket fence above is certainly not formal but it becomes that way when the Creeping Fig is added. The name fig has a rather formal ring to it don’t you think. It’s not a particularly heavy looking vine but it is strong. Creeping Fig is often the vine of choice in the South. Its attractive lacy like growing habit is ideal for the plantation type homes and antebellum personality of the Dixie states.

spilling-over-the-fence

There may be some evergreen clematis that found its way into this fig that has draped itself over the fence in a protective sort of way. What do you think when you see a fence being swallowed by a vine? I struggle with cutting it so more of the fence shows or just letting it be as though the fence appreciates it being there. I believe I would leave it and keep it tamed.

Below at the foundation of this federal period style home is Creeping Fig just starting to make itself known. How could you not fall in love with Creeping Fig when it is presently so quietly and kindly growing its way into your heart. I feel like I’ve been romanced by a nice man wearing the lightest of cologne and carrying the small of my back in his steady gentle grip. Maybe you aren’t as affected by it as I. Maybe my thing for the Creeping Fig vine comes from my love of NC and the south. But goodness, I just don’t see how anyone could pass it up. Are you hooked now and want some of your own. Please say yes or I shall faint under the burden.

Creeping Fig grows rather tall in it’s first season with a mature height being 60 feet. When it reaches the top of what is supporting it, the growth will begin horizontally makeing it bushier. One cutting would be enough to cover the side of a building in just a few short years. It climbs by means of ariel roots.

Creeping Fig is not just a vine for fences, steps, and buildings as it can be used for topiaries and hanging baskets. It can also be used for ground cover.

Below is a wreath made of the fast growing Wire Vine. I use this picture as an example of what Creeping Fig would look like done on a wreath or topiary.

wire-vine-wreath

The stems will be soft and herbaceous at first but then grow woody as the plant matures. At full maturity, larger leaves will form and a thickening of the existing growth will take place. Most people keep it trimmed exposing the smaller more desirable leaves. This plant could be considered labor intensive. That doesn’t bother me as I think the good outweighs the work involved.

I will keep mine in pots and bring them inside Copper Top Cottage during the winter. It’s perfect for that formal yet still country style I’m looking for.

Wilmington, NC is on the list of— The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2008. You can see more of Wilmington on my sidebar under Wilmington and Impressive Entryways

**See Anna’s Garden Makeover and how she makes her garden bloom! Bloom Mix

Creeping Fig

Hardy in zones—8-11

The scientific name–Ficus pumila

Full sun to partial shade

Care –trim often to keep it well maintained.

Multiply but cuttings or layering.

Do  you have a place for Creeping Fig in your garden? I do.

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5 comments on “The Elegant Side of Creeping Fig

  1. HI. In Florida and just bought some creeping fig this AM after I saw it on a neighbor’s garden wall. Now after looking at some sites I am a bit scared. I was planning it on a white vinyl fence. On second thought would it be easier to maintain in a pot near a porch column – with hopes it would climb the column… Is it the roots to be concerned with damaging structures or the leafs.. Thanks! Marianne
    Thank you for reading my blog and so nice to see you. The leaves do not cause the damage. It does attach with aerial roots and some twining. I doubt a vinyl fence would be harmed at all. It will be pretty. It will spread but a good pruning should keep it in check. I suppose if not trimmed it could get too heavy for the fence.

    Creeping fig weighs less than ivy and is a bit less damaging. It does attach by aerial roots which burrow in to the grout. It will also do some twining as well.

    Once established, it grows quickly. Watering the brick at night will help it to establish better to the brick. But any growing vine that attaches on to the siding is going to damage a bit if not kept in check just because it gets heavy and does use some moisture from the brick or mortar. That can make the material crumble. But I’ve seen it used on hundreds of old building forever and it is charming.

    It doesn’t damage mortar as badly as ivy. Creeping Fig is called an everlasting vine meaning it can grow forever and cover most anything. It is better to grow it on brick than wood. It will decay the wood pretty rapidly as it uses nutrients in the wood as food.

    Here is an article for you from The Backyard Gardener on care and other tips. The article gives you a fertilizing schedule and other growing tips. http://www.backyardgardener.com/plantname/pda_f870.html

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Good luck and be sure to show me pictures.

  2. I love creeping fig but I’ve never grown it. I do have 2 pots that a friend from south Alabama gave me. I was afraid that if I planted it back in the fall, it would die. I was thinking that it was very tender. I’m going to put it out this spring.
    Me too, let’s go for it! We can always chop it back, store it in a warm sunny place, and then do it over next year. I’m thinking of several different ways of using it. Wreaths, towers or obelisk, topiary fashion, and I’m sure lots more. The houses in Wilmington had it everywhere. It was the prettiest thing I’ve seen and gave so much character to the old homes.

  3. I love Wilmington’s historic district, too.

    I struggle with whether or not to let my house become vine covered since it’s cedar shake siding. Vines can go up underneath the shakes. I do have a fence that I’m working on covering here and there. I have a Lady Banksia on two stone corners and a Carolina jasmine on another. I have 3 clematis (so far) on the fence.

    In the fragrance garden, I have Confederate Jasmine (not really a jasmine) and an akebia on the arbor gate.

    On an obelisk in the waterfall garden, we have a crossvine.

    Cameron
    Cameron….you are too much. I just love it that our gardens are nearly the same zone. It’s a bit warmer your way but not much. So far this winter, we are the same. As you know, my gardens are less than a year old for the new house. I’m still amending. But all the vines you listed above are good old NC favorites and I’ll have them too.

    I won’t be planting any vines on the house but I sure will on the shed. The front of my shed will have a pergola and patio. To keep the patio cool, I’m planting an evergreen clematis to cover the top. I bet it only takes two seasons as fast as that plant grows.

  4. This reminded me of the Patrick Blanc Vertical Gardens site.
    I’ll check it out and see if I see it that way too. I love it when people can relate one place to another through the beauty of gardening. We can all pot something up and use the same plants but each will have a style uniquely their own.

  5. Great post Anna. What is the green striped plant just below the fig on the last picture ? Great to see some sunny pictures – its about -4C here and getting colder.
    I think it’s variegated ginger? That picture is from two years ago when I was working at the small family owned nursery. They had a nice variety of houseplants.

    Sending warm hugs your way! and hot chocolate! Do you normally have temps that cold?

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