Why Is My Creeping Fig Dying? – Why & What To Do

If you’ve recently planted a creeping fig in your garden, and it’s now not looking so great, you’re probably wondering what’s wrong. There are many possible causes of a dying creeping fig, but don’t worry; troubleshooting and fixing the problem is a lot easier than you may initially think. 

Below, I’ve outlined the common issues that could be causing your creeping fig to suffer. Rest assured, with the right management and care, you’ll be able to bring your creeping fig back to life and enjoy its beauty once again! 

So, why is my creeping fig dying? Your creeping fig could be dying due to inadequate light and water, nutrient deficiencies, poor drainage, or as a result of a pest infestation (with aphids, scales, mealy bugs, and thrips being the most common culprits).

Fortunately, more often than not, it has the potential to be salvaged. 

Read on to find out everything you need to know! 

Why Is My Creeping Fig Dying?

Insufficient Sunlight 

Every plant has a specific environment in which it thrives best. For creeping figs, the best possible environment is one of warmth, humidity, and bright sunlight, albeit indirect.

Hence, one of the primary reasons that could explain the demise of your creeping fig is a lack of sunlight.

As plants grow, they also need increased amounts of light to produce sufficient levels of chlorophyll, an important nutrient that enables them to create their own food.

If your creeping fig is not receiving the light that it needs, it simply won’t be able to create the energy that it needs to stay well and, ultimately, survive. 

Poor Draining 

As with most plants, creeping figs only fare well when they reside in well-draining soil.

Unfortunately, it’s much too easy to overwater your plants. When this happens, the soil becomes waterlogged, and the prolonged exposure to moisture causes your plant’s roots to rot, which ultimately causes the plant to die well before its time.

So, if your creeping fig leaves have started to brown and even fall off, it’s likely that it’s received far too much water.

On the plus side, now that you know, you can go ahead and take action to rectify the issue! 


Just as overwatering your creeping fig is problematic, underwatering it is too.

A creeping fig needs to be watered once a week or so.

If it is exposed to drought conditions for a prolonged time, it will become far too dry, as exhibited by its newly shriveled leaves.

As with sunlight, water is an essential component that creeping figs, alongside the vast majority of plants, require from an energy perspective. 

Pest Infestation

If your creeping fig is wilting and becoming discolored, it could be infested with pests, such as aphids, scales, mealy bugs, and thrips.

These types of mites usually attack a plant’s sap and cause the plant to weaken and eventually die.

Whilst a few of them won’t cause much harm, a fully-fledged invasion certainly will.

The fact that these insects tend to reproduce at an extremely rapid rate is your cue to intervene as soon as you notice them rather than putting it off and risking your plant suffering from any more damage.  

How Do You Revive A Creeping Fig?

Pest Removal 

If your creeping figs symptoms point to a pest invasion, your first call of action is to remove them immediately.

There are a number of ways that you could go about this, and which you choose depends on the culprit that you have on your hands. 

For instance, if your plant is infested with aphids or mites, you could simply knock them off it using a powerful water stream via your hosepipe.

Other insects, such as slugs, could be combated with the use of slug pellets or, even better, the much more environmentally friendly neem oil.

Once you’ve removed the pests, you’ll want to keep a continual check on their potential reemergence, so be sure to regularly inspect your plant and, ideally, put preventative measures, such as pre-emergent pesticides and scent deterrents, in place too! 

Provide Adequate Light 

Your creeping fig needs light to survive, so if it’s not getting enough, now is the time to relocate it.

During this process, it’s important to be extremely careful so as to not damage the plant, particularly its roots, which are on the more delicate side. 

If you feel you need an additional sanity check, you could make use of a light meter to measure the amount of light that your creeping fig is receiving, de facto.

This way, you’ll be able to verify your suspected diagnosis before you go through all of the efforts of its relocation. 

Water Check!

If your plant is dry and lacking water, of course, it needs more water to get it back to good health.

Fortunately, once you begin watering it, it will probably be less than 24 hours before you start to see the positive changes.

On the other hand, if your creeping fig has been receiving too much water, simply reduce the frequency at which you’re watering it.

The key is to water only when the soil is dry, and if your plant is so waterlogged that it’s unable to drain properly, you’ll need to drain it manually by removing any excess soil, and on a more long-term basis, by making the regular addition of the likes of compost and manures. 

Establish A Routine 

Finally, establishing a solid routine to care for your creeping fig will only benefit it.

This means watering it at an exact frequency each week, periodic pruning and fertilizing, and conducting regular pest inspections too.

Other Suggestions To Keep Your Creeping Fig Healthy

Fertilizing Best Practices

It’s important that you don’t over or under-fertilise your creeping fig. The best time to apply fertilizer is during the Spring and Summer months, i.e., its prime growing season.

At this time, it will be able to absorb it well and make the most of the nutritional boost, as opposed to during the cooler months when the plant is in a semi-dormant state.


I also recommend that you aerate your creeping fig soil from time to time. In doing so, you’ll create holes throughout the soil, which will, in turn, allow nutrients, water, and air to travel through it with ease to the plant’s roots, where they can have the intended positive impact.

This is useful in ordinary conditions but becomes especially helpful if your soil is waterlogged or overly dry.

Thus, there’s no question that if it’s not already, aeration should be a part of your creeping fig care routine rather than only looked to in times of crisis.  


Finally, when it comes to pruning, again, there is an optimal time of year to do so – the growing season.

By getting rid of more mature and even dying leaves, you’ll encourage newer, healthier growth and keep your creeping fig looking and feeling its best around the clock, even during the winter months.

It’s worth noting that whilst pruning is important during the full lifespan of your plant, it becomes fundamental when your plant is older and woodier than it used to be.