The elegant side of creeping fig


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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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