Dumb question maybe...ficus pumila

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Dumb question maybe...ficus pumila

Postby Stormgirl » Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:13 pm

I have some ficus pumila (creeping fig?) creeping along my ugly front brick fence/wall that I planted a few years ago.

So far I have been disappointed with its performance. :-?

Is it a fast grower? It has grown a fair bit but was hoping that it would ahve completely covered the wall by now...not a large one, only about 6 metres long and about 2 feet high. I have planted three of them along the length.

Also, wondering if (this is the maybe dumb bit) the plant takes its nutrients and water via the root system only, or could it possibly take them also by the aerial roots that cling to the brickwork?? So, if I accidently buried the anchored plant with mulch :oops: will it survive with the aerial roots? Do you think I can feed it via the wall?? (not sure how, but I can always try :lol: )

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Re: Dumb question maybe...ficus pumila

Postby Systema_Naturae » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:44 pm

The slow growth could be to do with the aspect it's planted in. I've seen creeping fig grow very slowly in full shade. It does require semi-shade to full sun to grow quickly.

As for surviving on the aerial roots, I'm afraid it wont. The aerial roots start off as sticky root tissue when forming, but if they don't find a suitable environment (such as soil or a tree fern trunk) they dry out and harden off, effectively 'cementing' the new growth to whatever structure it finds. Wooden fences and walls can't provide the conditions in which the roots form into proper vascular tissue capable of absorbing nutrients.

Burying the bottom of the plant in mulch shouldn't be a problem for F. pumila. It's a tough cookie.
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Re: Dumb question maybe...ficus pumila

Postby Stormgirl » Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:44 pm

Thanks for the reply.

It's actually in full sun, thought it might do better in part shade, but I can't move the fence, obviously. :D

Hmm, not sure, it might just be slow to take off. I have noticed the full sun aspect seems to 'bleach" the leaves of colour....
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Re: Dumb question maybe...ficus pumila

Postby gypsysoul » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:28 pm

:D Hi!
I have this growing along the painted brick work on which our house is sitting. There was a remnant of it barely existing on the south western side of the house when we bought it 4.5yrs ago.

In that time, it has attained a height of approx. 1metre, over approx. a 3metre length .. it would have been higher, but we have progressively removed all sections growing above the brick work, to impeed it's growth onto the 'house proper', which is Cyprus Pine chaphored boards.

With doing this, there was an obvious benefit that the plant actually thickened up where it was left to it's own devices on the brickwork .. forming a cover totally over that brickwork.

It is growing with no added help from us, other than the trimming off the house it's self. It's on a brick wall, as I mentioned, that faces south west .. getting rare sun in Winter, except late afternoons, better sun in Summer in the afternoons, but then that side of the house is then in dappled sun from the shade of very large Pin Oaks in the street. It is fairly coolish there most times of the year & in dappled shade.

The garden tap is right next to where I suspect the roots are located & our roof water still runs out of guttering onto the same section of garden (no storm water systems in this part of town!) so it guess it gets ample water as well .. being a 'fig' I think it's like all figs & likes wet feet?

Where it has gone around the corner of the brickwork & headed north (into more direct sun & dryer conditions, I have noticed that the newer growth got burnt earlier this year in the summer heat. It has been slower to continue more to the south, where it shaded more .. if anything, it would just love to run up the side of house where it is growing to the roof .. if I let it!
Here is a couple of pics I took, sometime back well before it thickened up, just with my old phone camera and I didn't know what it was back then! I don't know if any of this helped, but maybe you could take cuttings & deep plant them in other areas that you want to cover to get a quicker result?
Cheers, Dianne.
As it started ..
Photo1981.jpg (21.49 KiB) Viewed 2140 times
This is as it thickened ..
Photo1982.jpg (55.02 KiB) Viewed 2140 times
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