Creeping fig

Rosamond Carr’s cottage in the Virunga hills is covered in creeping fig or Ficus pumila. The plant (along with the nice windows and the stone steps) turned a little square box into something really charming.

The Orangery of Dumbarton Oaks is also draped with a wonderful specimen, which was planted in its northwest corner in the 1860s.

Creeping fig in the Orangery of Dumbarton Oaks. Click the photo to enlarge it.

Built in 1810, the Orangery was undergoing renovation last summer.

Creeping fig will survive outdoors in (U.S.) zones 8 – 11.  It is native to east Asia.

Growing up a tree in our Kigali garden.

The plant is not fussy about its conditions, but does need consistently moist soil.  Very fast growing, its aerial roots will adhere to anything, even metal and glass. All the sources I consulted warned against letting it attach to a wooden structure. With brick or concrete, it should be grown on something designed to support the plant forever, as the little rootlets will be very hard to remove if you later want a bare surface.

The fruit of the ‘Awkeotsong’ variety is used to make aiyu jelly in Taiwan (and ice jelly in Singapore). But several websites warned that all parts of the plant are poisonous. It may be that the processing technique makes the jelly safe to eat.

Since you inquire about creepers and ficus pumila,
They sum up the mood of a dweller in the wilds;
Respectfully visiting you in calf’s muzzle breeks* with a dove-headed walking stick.

– Ruan Dacheng, Chinese poet (1587-1646)

Thanks to Pam at Digging for  hosting Foliage Follow Up today (always the 16th of the month).

* “. . . a kind of shorts, or possibly a kilt, associated with a casual way of life in ancient times.”

About these ads

5 Comments

Filed under African gardens, American gardens, garden design, landscape, plants, Rwandan gardens, Washington, D.C., gardens

5 responses to “Creeping fig

  1. Pretty plant. Once it’s in it’s hard to remove as you noted.

  2. I absolutely love creeping fig on a stone or stucco wall — so romantic, somehow. But I have some creeping up my live oaks and my brick home, which I am less fond of. Ah well. It IS a wonderful cloaking vine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s