How Do You Care For A Ficus Pumila?
How do you care for a Ficus Pumila?
Ficus Pumila, the “creeping fig”, is a perfectly hardy indoor plant that regularly survives temperatures of down to 5°C. Hardy, slow growing and with few demands, this species is ideal for basements or for growing indoors.
It can tolerate fluctuations in temperature, though leaves may wither a little when temperatures fluctuate.
Maintain a moist but never saturated soil. If the soil is allowed to dry out frequently, the leaves of a ficus Pumila degrade.
During the winter, use less water. Fertilize monthly using a basic houseplant food diluted to half the recommended dosage throughout the spring, summer, and fall. The following are the factors to consider when caring Ficus Pumila;
Ficus pumila is a tropical plant, so it is important to place the plant where it will receive indirect sunlight or partial shade. Ideally, sunlight should come from the east as this will simulate morning and afternoon shifts in sunlight.
When placed in direct sunlight, ficus pumila is likely to wilt as it is unable to tolerate direct sunlight for long periods of time.
Ficus pumila is one of the best house plants for low maintenance and care. Ficus pumila requires very little water generally, only enough to keep the soil moist without causing waterlogging.
However, if you feel comfortable, give it some water every week. It is best to test the soil first to determine how often your plant needs to be watered.
Ficus pumila grows best in organic peat-based soil with sufficient drainage. The soil should be kept always slightly moist not saturated. Ficus pumila is known to prefer soils that have a pH between 5.5 and 7, but it can grow with soil pH as low as 5.5.
If your soil is too acidic or alkaline, you may need to adjust the pH level of your soil accordingly; there are specialized fertilizers specifically for planting in more alkaline and acidic soils.
Soil temperature of Ficus pumila is slightly variable. The optimal soil temperature for this plant is around 18 degrees Celsius (65 degrees Fahrenheit), but the optimum soil temperature can be higher or lower than this depending on the location of your windows.
If you live in a colder area, it will be important to keep your house warmer and your windows open, but if you live in an area with hot summers, try to keep the house cooler to prevent over-heating.
Humidity is important for ficus pumila. Because Ficus pumila does not have an efficient system of transpiration, it is necessary to control the humidity within the environment to maintain water content within the plant.
This can be accomplished by misting and keeping the plant away from heaters or radiators. Spraying a light mist once per week will also ensure that humidity 60% sufficient within the environment of your ficus pumila.
Fertilize once a month in spring and summer using a balanced fertilizer with an NPK of 5-5-5 or 10-10-10. If your plant is looking dull, you may need to balance the ratio of fertilizer. Fertilize the soil with a liquid houseplant fertilizer every 2 to 3 months depending on your schedule.
Ficus pumila are propagated in spring by cuttings. Two inch cuttings can be taken in late spring and summer months using a pair of clean nippers. The cutting should be placed in soil that has been watered until it begins to drain, so it doesn’t wither before it roots.
This Ficus Pumila houseplant loves to be kept in a small container. Repot every three years, either shifting to a larger pot or keeping it in the same pot with new potting mix.
To avoid root rot, use a pot with drainage holes. Also, avoid planting the ficus pumila in a pot that is too large, as it will also become root-bound and will eventually topple over.
Pests and Diseases
Most houseplant pests do not attack Ficus Pumila, however you may want to check aphids or mealy bugs which are prone to infesting all houseplants. If you tap the plant for any reason, it is likely that you will remove any insects that have a natural home there.
Is Ficus pumila toxic to humans?
Ficus Pumila is toxic to humans as it is poisonous in any way. It is however, potentially dangerous and should be handled with care. The milky sap can cause phytophotodermatitis, or a serious skin inflammation (similar to poison ivy).
As it grows the Ficus Pumila produces milky white secretions on the leaves and flowers. If this comes into contact with human skin, it is possible for a reaction to occur where the skin will become red and swollen (similar to contact dermatitis).
Contact with the milky sap of Ficus pumila, like other plant species in the Moraceae family, can produce phytophotodermatitis, a potentially fatal skin irritation.
Although not harmful in and of itself, F. pumila is classified in the FDA Database of Poisonous Plants. Ficus Pumila contains oxalates and calcium oxalate crystals which can cause irritation if ingested, as well as mild skin and eye irritation.
Is Ficus pumila fast-growing?
Ficus pumila (Creeping Fig) is an evergreen self-clinging climber or trailer that grows relentlessly, covering whatever it comes into contact with (walls, trellises, and other structures) with sticky aerial rootlets.
Ficus Pumila grows at a fast rate when in a warm, humid environment. Growing at a faster rate in the summer months, it is recommended to give it less water so as to prevent over-watering. Although Ficus pumila does well when kept in small containers, it grows faster with more space.
Sunlight and humidity are highly influential on the growth rate of the plant. Once the plant begins to grow, it produces many stems, small leaves and flowers. Light should be kept at a medium level for optimum growth rate, but not direct sunlight.
Ficus pumila is used as an ornamental plant. It is mostly used in hanging baskets or planters. Ficus pumila plants can be used for decorative purposes indoors and this species of ficus has a unique appearance.
The twisting of the tree branches can make for a unique design or look depending on how it is trained or pruned.
How often should I water a Ficus pumila plant?
Ficus pumila should be watered at least once a week to prevent damage from drying out. It is very important to understand that Ficus pumila prefers soil that is slightly on the acidic side.
The degree of this pH level will vary, but ideally it should be between 5.5 and 7.0, with 6.0 being the most ideal.
This species of plant is native to Australia, so it prefers temperatures that are warmer than those in the US. It should be noted that Ficus pumila can withstand a wide range of temperatures, and even grow indoors in cooler climates as long as it is kept warm and humid.
As long as the roots are not exposed to cold air, this plant will continue to grow well throughout the year with no damage from cold or frost.
How do you propagate a Ficus pumila?
Ficus pumila is a woody, climbing banyan tree that can grow in almost any environment, so long as it has the proper humidity. It can be propagated via stem cuttings. This process should be done at least once every few years to keep the plant from getting too big and throwing off its natural balance.
Simply clip the stems in early spring to propagate additional plants. Place the stem cuttings in a container filled with regular potting soil. For a good start, we usually recommend soaking cuttings in a rooting hormone.
Put the pot somewhere with high humidity and warm temps. The following are the procedures when propagating Ficus Pumila by stem cutting;
- Prepare your cuttings by removing all but the top few leaves.
- Dip the end of each cutting in a rooting compound and insert it into the soil in a 6-inch pot filled with quality potting soil.
- Place the pot in indirect sunlight such as on a windowsill facing east or west to keep the temperature warm–but not scorching hot–and maintain high humidity.
- Set the plant in a window or other area of high sunlight, with a minimum amount of humidity.
- Keep the cuttings moist but not sopping wet by watering them a bit every day.
- Place your potted cutting in a location that receives bright light (no direct sun) but maintains high humidity. These are approximate times to allow for optimal growth; during this time give your cuttings enough water and keep them evenly moist, but not soggy.
- Once rooted, cuttings can be grown indoors under lights, or moved outdoors with their own support structures.
- Transplant the rooted Ficus Pumila into a larger pot and provide it with good sunlight and water regularly.
- Monitor your plant regularly to ensure that it is receiving enough light and water at all times in order to maintain a healthy environment for the development of its roots and growth of its leaves.
Ficus pumila can be grown in any container, but should be allowed to dry out slightly between watering. It is also important to mist the leaves of a Ficus Pumila in order for it to remain healthy and remain a living plant.
Ficus pumila is an excellent houseplant and can survive with little attention if kept indoors in a container. Ficus Pumila needs some light and some warmth, but it will do well if kept indoors.