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How to Grow Creeping Fig (Ficus Repens) Indoors Like an Expert

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Do you love the beauty of creeping fig but aren’t sure how to care for it? Keep reading and you’ll learn how to grow creeping fig (Ficus Repens or Ficus Pumila) indoors like an expert. I’m sharing how I’ve kept my ficus repens looking lush and full for years so that you can enjoy the same outcome in your own home!

How to Grow Creeping Fig (Ficus Repens) Indoors Like an Expert

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Creeping Fig v. Climbing Fig? Ficus Repens v. Ficus Pumila? What’s The Name of that Plant?

Let’s start here, with the question I get from all of my Instagram and YouTube subscribers. What’s the name of that plant?

Ficus repens on a kitchen countertop.

It’s always a question I’m happy to answer because, along with my fiddle leaf fig, this is one of my top prized indoor plants. However, it happens to have quite a few names! So let me break it down for you.

Is Ficus Repens the same as Ficus Pumila?

I always refer to my plant as a creeping fig. It is also commonly called a Climbing Fig, especially when referencing the plant in an outdoor environment.

However, the scientific name of my variety of creeping fig is a ficus pumila. Often, you’ll also find creeping fig called ficus repens. However, the two are completely interchangeable. I’m sure there’s a reason there are two names for the same plant, but really, does it matter? 😉

Both are considered creeping figs, but there are several varieties of creeping fig that show a slight variation in the leaf color, shape or texture.

Some variations have variegated leaves, some have slightly curly leaves, some are more textured while others vary in the color of leaf.

You’ll often see “climbing fig” as the name of this plant when discussing if a creeping fig can survive outdoors. It is able to grow vigorously in warmer zones and often overcomes walls quickly with its vines.

For today’s purposes, I’ll be sharing how to grow ficus repens, or ficus pumila, as an indoor plant.

Creeping Fig Care Indoors

When I’m asked about my indoor plants, people always want to know:

  • Is creeping fig a good indoor plant?
  • Is creeping fig a beginner friendly plant?
  • How do I care for creeping fig houseplants?

The answers are: yes, yes and keep reading.

Modern farmhouse kitchen with indoor plants.

Let’s break this down into the most important things to consider for indoor plant care.

  1. Light: medium/bright
  2. Watering: keep soil lightly moist
  3. Soil: potting soil or peat-based soil with good drainage
  4. Pot type: any, with drainage holes
  5. Pruning: once mature, prune as needed
  6. Fertilization: time release granular indoor plant fertilizer in the spring

How much light does a ficus repens need?

This plant likes medium to bright light. As far as indoor plants go, it likes your brightest indirect light. Place your creeping fig in your brightest window and see how it does. If the leaves begin to look pale, then it may be getting too much light and you can simply move it to a less bright window.

My plant started in my office and I quickly found that it needed more light.

See that baby plant on the left on my desk? That’s the same plant as three years later on the shelf in my kitchen! And truth be told, the 2022 plant has been vigorously pruned every three months for two years.

Baby ficus repens in an office.
2019
Mature Creeping Fig Plant.
2022

I’ve found that my creeping fig does best in our kitchen window, which is a southwest facing window. We have a lot of overcast days here in Michigan, so if you live in a sunnier area, you may find that southwest windows provide too much light.

Simply watch for indicators, like pale leaves, and then adjust as needed.

How often should you water a creeping fig?

Next, let’s talk about watering. Ficus repens does best with a consistent watering schedule that does not allow the soil to dry out too severely.

If the soil gets too dry, the leaves will begin to shrivel and fall off. This is a great sign that you need to water!

I find that it works best to fully saturate the plant in the sink and let all the excess water drain out. I do this every 2-3 weeks with additional top watering as the top 1-2 inches of soil dries out in between the soakings.

Creeping fig also prefers a humid environment, so avoid placing it in drafty areas and mist as needed.

How fast does ficus repens grow when indoors?

People who are used to seeing creeping fig outdoors often wonder, “Can creeping fig grow in pots?”

Yes! For those of us in colder climates where creeping fig wouldn’t survive outdoors, growing it indoors in a pot is an excellent option.

Ficus repens can grow very quickly with proper care. Let’s take a look at how my plant progressed over the years.

Kitchen corner shelf with plants.
2019
Creeping fig on a kitchen shelf.
2020

Kitchen island with flower arrangement.
2021
Kitchen wall with cutting boards and a ficus repens.
2021

And keep reading to see how it looks in 2022! It gains fullness as you prune, which I will discuss next.

How do you prune creeping fig?

Pruning creeping fig is not necessary, but I do recommend it! When you are growing creeping fig indoors it can quickly become unruly if you don’t train the vines or prune it.

Plus, the trick to getting a beautiful, full, and lush plant is to prune!

In the images above, you’ll notice that most of them show a fairly thin plant with longer vines. When you prune, or pinch back, the vines, it encourages new growth from the soil. Then, your plant looks like this!

Ficus repens on a kitchen shelf.

Wait to prune your creeping fig until it is more mature. Then, you can simply pinch back or snip the vines as needed or when they are getting too long.

I usually prune my plant once every three months.

How do you propagate ficus repens?

Now, when you prune your plant, don’t toss the cuttings! You can make lots of little baby creeping figs by propagating the vines.

Simply cut about 4-6 inches off a vine, strip the bottom 1-2 inches of leaves, and place in water. Do this to as many vines as you want.

Woman in a kitchen with plants.
Baby Ficus Repens

Change the water regularly and wait for new roots to form. Once the roots are established and at least 2 inches long, place in soil and treat as a new plant.

You can pot multiple rooted stems together to give the appearance of one fuller plant until it starts growing more vigorously.

When should I repot Creeping Figs?

Creeping figs actually prefer to be slightly pot-bound.

When you first get your plant, keep it in its plastic grow pot. You can place that pot inside a more decorative pot if desired.

It is only necessary to repot creeping figs every 2-3 years. Move up only one size pot at a time, ensuring that your new pot has drainage holes.

Never pot a creeping fig in a pot that doesn’t have drainage holes. This would result in soggy roots and would eventually kill the plant.

Where can I buy Creeping Fig?

Now that you know how to care for a ficus repens (ficus pumila), I bet you’re going to want to get yourself one!

Kitchen island with plants.

Visit your local nursery to see the plants in person and choose the variety you like best.

Etsy is also an excellent source if you are looking for a specific variety or size.

Shop Creeping Fig on Etsy


Or, you can shop them online below!

Want to Learn More about Indoor Plant Care?

I hope you’ve found this article helpful! While this article was specific to ficus repens, I have tons of other plant care resources on the blog!

Make sure and check out the below articles next.

I’d love for you to subscribe to my newsletter and grab your indoor plant care guide freebie as well!

Thanks for stopping by the blog today. Drop a comment on your favorite type of creeping fig! Maybe I’ll just have to add it to my home.

~Sarah

How to Grow Creeping Fig (Ficus Repens) Indoors Like an Expert

8 Comments

  1. Hello from a brand-new subscriber (also from SW Michigan.) I found out about your blog and DYI work from Andrea at Pine & Prospect. I am looking forward to seeing more of your DYI work as well as your lovely home.

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