Q: I’m trying to identify a plant and determine if it would grow in Atlanta. I visited Charleston recently. One feature I saw a lot of was a vine that covered steps and walls. It was trimmed fairly tightly to the surface and it looked tidy and well-controlled. Any ideas? Chris W
A: I was in Beaufort, SC recently and found the same vine on the porch steps there. It’s creeping fig – Ficus pumila.
It isn’t winter hardy in Atlanta in an unprotected spot but I’ve had some growing on a shaded brick wall in my back yard for years. There’s a house in Grant Park with almost a whole clapboard wall covered with the vine.
You can easily find creeping fig at garden centers. It’s sometimes used to cover topiaries. I think it would do best where it doesn’t get full sunshine in winter or summer but had a thick wall of brick or stone to cling to.