Don showed how to create a lovely, soft visual effect in the garden with a Clayton’s hedge – the hedge you have when you don’t really have a hedge. An ugly masonry fence along the front of a house was completely covered by a creeping fig (Ficus pumila), giving it the appearance of a hedge.
Common name: Creeping fig
Botanic name: Ficus pumila
A vigorous, climbing fig that attaches itself to surfaces by means of aerial roots. It has crinkly, heart-shaped juvenile leaves on a tracery of fine stems which adhere closely to its support. When the plant matures it starts to produce large, leathery adult foliage on horizontal, woody branches. Mature plants also produce yellowish-green, inedible figs.
All areas of Australia except for Hobart, the mountains and inland zones (creeping fig is an environmental weed in NSW).
attractive juvenile foliage fast growing shade tolerant tough low maintenance
quick cover for ugly, masonry walls good ground cover for large areas good for softening industrial landscapes useful for creating quick ‘topiary’
very aggressive grower once established very high maintenance if grown on buildings – will dislodge roof tiles, damage wooden structures and attempt to cover everything in a curtain of green
Creeping fig is very hardy and drought tolerant once established. Prune to control rampant growth and to remove horizontal branches which stand out from the support and produce unattractive adult foliage.
Creeping fig is readily available at nurseries, but it is very easy to propagate by cuttings or layers (it forms roots wherever a branch touches the ground).