The climbing fig, also known as ficus pumila, is a small, evergreen climbing shrub originating in south central Asia. It has a climbing or prostrate habit, and tends to easily attach itself to any support, by means of aerial roots; the stems are very thin and branched, and give rise to a very compact shrub, up to 70-80 cm long; the leaves are small, oval, bright green, and there are many cultivars, with small or variegated white leaves. In nature, the plant produces small flowers, followed by fruits, which can hardly be seen in the specimens grown in our country. These small plants are often grown in hanging baskets, and are generally pruned every year to maintain a more contained and more compact vegetation.
The ficus pumila to grow at its best it must be placed in a very bright place, with winter temperatures close to 15-18 ° C; in summer it can be placed outside, in a shady or partially shaded place, not exposed to sunlight during the hottest hours of the day. As for watering, irrigate regularly, throughout the year, but avoid leaving the soil too wet; in winter and in summer months it is good to sporadically spray the foliage with demineralized water. Every 10-15 days, provide fertilizer for green plants, mixed with the water used for watering. The climbing fig also needs a very rich soil of organic, soft and well drained matter; these plants have a fairly developed root system, so they should be placed in fairly large containers, or repotted about every two years.
Reproduction of ficus pumila it happens by seed; as the seed is not readily available, generally these plants propagate by cuttings. This is a particularly economical and effective technique used to obtain new plants identical to the mother plant. The taken portions of stem root quite quickly and should be immediately repotted in a single container. The cuttings must be taken in the spring period and their length must correspond approximately to 10-13 cm. Subsequently, they can be planted in containers with a width of 20-25 cm containing sand and peat in equal quantities. It is important to use clean and well sharpened working tools to prevent the fabrics from fraying.
Climbing fig - Ficus pumila: Pests and diseases
As for pests and diseases, we can say that the climbing fig is a plant quite resistant to diseases, but is subject to the attack of cochineal, mites, thrips and aphids. The latter are also called plant lice because of their speed of reproduction and, if not eliminated at the beginning, they can form real decidedly numerous colonies. All these parasites that feed on the sap of the plants, cause numerous deformations to the leaf apparatus of our climbing fig damaging the whole plant. To combat the problem there are specific aficido products available at the main garden centers.