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Photo of an ice caps creeping fig

I bought this ice caps creeping fig in September, and it's just not doing very well. The leaves are very dry and brown looking, and I haven't seen any new leaves since shortly after we got it; I'm not even sure if it's still alive.

I've been using a soil moisture metre to water it when it drys out, but ensuring it doesn't get water logged. I've tried placing it where it would get direct (through frosted glass) morning sunlight, and then moved it to where it only gets indirect indoor light.

This is actually the second creeping fig which has died here. Both the plant label and websites such as Gardenista have said that creeping figs are meant to be pretty hardy, growing in any light and apparently even doing fine in "drought conditions".

Any ideas what could have gone wrong, and if there's anything I can do to bring life back to this little plant?

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As you've used the tag 'indoor' I'm assuming you're growing this as a houseplant? First, is there a drainage hole in that pot? Or is the plant in a pot with a drainage hole inside the outer pot? If it's in a container with no drainage hole, that needs to be corrected, so transfer to a different pot that has drainage.

Watering and light requirements are somewhat different when this plant is grown indoors than when it's outside; indoors,it needs watering when the surface of the potting soil is just slightly dry to the touch, when it should be thoroughly watered with excess water being allowed to drain way freely from the base of the pot. It prefers not to be in direct sunlight, so a position with bright daylight is better, though it will tolerate fairly low light conditions.

It looks like yours has suffered drought; I can't be sure it's still alive, but it's worth trying to coax it back into growth, so change its pot if it's in one without a hole, give a really good soak, then allow it drain down by standing it in a sink or something. Although it's the wrong time of year to cut these back, if more of the topgrowth starts to shrivel and die, cut it back, removing all the dead growth. Ongoing, 30 minutes after you've watered, empty out any outer tray or pot so the plant is not left standing in water. https://www.houseplantsexpert.com/growing-a-creeping-fig-indoors.html

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  • There's a wide drainage hole in the pot. I normally just give it a modest amount of water, would it be better to thoroughly soak it and let it drain away? Oh, and I'm in the southern hemisphere, so would it be an okay time of year to try to cut it back to promote new growth? That page said Spring, so I guess it would be better to prune it ASAP before it gets even hotter. – curiousdannii Dec 6 '19 at 10:15
  • You might turn it out of its pot to check how dry the root ball is - is it damp all through, or dry in parts. But yes, it's always better to water thoroughly, so thoroughly soak and let it drain away, especially right now. And yes, if its spring where you are, cut it right back and hope for the best. If it starts to regrow, follow the recommended fertilisation routine in that link too - but only once it starts growing. And forget about the moisture meter;feeling the top with your finger is better, as well as lifting the pot to see how heavy it is,you will get to know by the weight when its dry – Bamboo Dec 6 '19 at 10:48

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