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Ficus Pumila

Tips for Growing a Ficus Pumila


While there are many beautiful evergreen types, one that is more like a vine is called the Ficus Pumila.  Interestingly, this particular plant is related to the fig tree but the two species look very different.  This evergreen is also aggressive, known for climbing as tall as three stories.  In fact, in places where this evergreen grows, it is common to see many older buildings covered.

As the Ficus Pumila climbs, it attaches to the surface with a natural adhesive.  The stems are beautifully covered with leaves about an inch long and shaped like a heart, which are the younger leaves  Because the leaves are so dense, they look almost like a green mat spreading out over the targeted surface.  As the young leaves age, horizontal brands grow, which produces adult leaves that run in two rows and have a leathery look and feel.  The older leaves are also larger, about three inches and are dark.

The Ficus Pumila produces figs, which develop on the mature stems.  These figs are light green and most measure three inches long by two and one-half inches wide.  Typically, the Ficus Pumila is grown in eastern China, Vietnam, and the southern islands of Japan.  Because this evergreen species loves warm climates, it does very well in these regions.

One of the benefits of growing Ficus Pumila is that it is forgiving about soil.  Keep in mind, when grown in drier, less nutritional soil, the plant actually tends to be less aggressive, which makes it much easier to handle.  You can even find the Ficus Pumila growing along the ocean behind buildings or sand dunes.  No matter the location or soil, remember this plant can grow well in full sunlight or shade.  Then for water, it is important to water the evergreen when first planted only when dry but as the plant ages, it needs no watering at all, being able to handle even the driest of conditions.

Typically, the Ficus Pumila grows best in zones 8-11 within the United States but if you live in a region with frost, this might not be the plant choice in that it can only handle extremely cold temperatures for a short amount of time.  Because the Ficus Pumila is aggressive, you will need to cut it back so it does not take over.  Once you cut a portion of the plant off, we recommend you use rooting hormone powder and make sure the plant never has branches that touch the ground in that new roots will form, spreading even more plants.

Even if you needed ground covering for a hill where grass will not grow, you could use the Ficus Pumila.  The great thing about Ficus Pumila is that if you need something to add character to a boring concrete wall or you want something to create privacy, this would be an excellent solution.  Interestingly, if you were to travel to Orlando in Florida, you would notice many of the freeway supports made of concrete are covered with this plant to enhance appearance and cut down on noise.

In addition, when you walk around Disney World or Epcot Center, you will notice beautiful topiaries cut into shapes of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Pluto, and Donald Duck.  The plant used is the Ficus Pumila.  To help the shapes stay in place, this type of plant is allowed to grow onto wire frames.



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