The Older I Get, The More I Despair

creeping ficus

Really, that’s a dramatic title for a post about such a forlorn little houseplant as this creeping fig (ficus pumila).

And there was a time when I’d look at this fig, with its yellowing leaves and think, “Yeah right. It’s a ficus. That’s just what they do. You move them and they lose their leaves.”

But lately, the older I get, the less enamored I am of “fussy” house plants. I hunt down these creeping figs periodically because they’re great plants–they’re easy to grow (if you don’t move them in and out), they’re fast growing, they’re great for topiary or for covering a wire or moss form–very versatile. And because they are members of the ficus family, they’re great little air cleaners too–versatile plant in a tiny package.

But this yellowing, leaf dropping thing–ugh! What a mess. I am not amused, as they say. It’s almost enough to make me say, “Off to the compost pile with you!”

I have many nice figs that do not do this no matter what you do to them. The rubber plant, ficus elastica wouldn’t dream of being so finicky. Sure it loses a leaf now and again. But shed 40% of its leaves every time you move the darn thing? I don’t think so!

The mistletoe fig, ficus deltoidea, is another great non-demanding plant. It’s long lived, can also make a great bonsai or topiary, or just makes a lovely houseplant. It’s small ovoid leaves look like waxy green coins and it might even produce non-edible green fruit for you!

When I think of these undemanding plants, I wonder why I tolerate my creeping fig–and yet, I do and probably will, at least for another year. After all, the leaf dropping thing is almost done for this year.

And there’s always the vacuum. Its hose not only makes quick work of the messy leaves–but it will probably catch the start of any insect infestations too. I love double duty tools.

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