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Rabbits Foot Fern

The Davallia fejeensis belongs to a genus of 40 plants that are epiphytic in nature, which means they grow on trees or within rock crevices taking moisture and nutrients from other sources "not soil" such as air, rain, trees and other debris.

Over the years we have learnt to grow these within our western homes by imitating the plants natural habitat. We've learned how to grow a group of ferns for some time now and the Rabbit's foot is one that will grow well, "if the correct conditions are provided". Moisture and the right amount of light is the rule of thumb here.

How it looks: The fejeensis is easily recognisable as a fern because of it's fronds (grow upright) that display gauzy or lace like leaflets. The small leaves are attached to kind of wiry stalks that grow from the visible rhizomes. These furry and yellowish brown rhizomes creep over the pot; they are main feature of this species.

It's important to keep in mind what pot the plant should be planted in so it can display it's rhizomes (within a hanging basket is common and a shallow pot).

Care level: Although the Rabbit's foot fern does seem to be a bit more resilient than many other ferns and less temperamental, I would treat it as a fern in terms of humidity. This means providing enough humidity that your likely to need to increase yourself and keep the soil moist.


Origin: Fiji. Names: Rabbit's Foot Fern (common). Davallia Fejeensis (botanical/scientific). Max Growth (approx): Height 1 - 2ft. Poisonous for pets: Non toxic for cats, dogs and horses.
Picture of fern

Picture of rhizomes

Rabbit's Foot Fern Care

Temperature: Temperatures from 60-75ºF (15-24ºC) is advised. No lower than 55ºF (13ºC). Light: Provide indirect bright light - avoiding direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves and turn the rhizomes brown, especially with low humidity levels. A small amount of sun (not midday sun) will not cause too much harm and can encourage plant health, but it's a bit risky with this fern. Watering: During spring and summer try and keep the soil moist at all times, without leaving the soil soaked. This species only has small roots so it's taking most of it's water and nutrients from the top soil and stroring them within it's rhizomes. Soil: A well draining potting soil that is peat based will suffice. Re-Potting: Re-pot within spring to a slightly larger pot in width - if the rhizomes and roots need more room. This is a good time to cut away rhizomes to propagate new plants. Don't plant the rhizomes in the soil! Fertilizer: From the beginning of spring until the end of fall use a diluted liquid feed once every 2 - 3 weeks. Humidity: I would increase the humidity in a room to keep the plant looking healthy. Misting will help but your likely to need to place the plant on a humidity tray or use a humidifier when the air is dry. Propagation: o propagate divide 2 inch sections of a rhizome and include at least one stem with a frond. You will have to pin the rhizome within moist potting soil using strong wire or toothpicks. Once you see new growth, new plants are growing.

Common Problems

  • Fronds yellowing and tips brown: Check to see if the air is too dry and the temperature is not too hot then increase humidity levels.

  • Pale fronds and plant lacking growth: The likely cause here is the need for fertilizer within the soil. Pale fronds can also relate to the plant being exposed to too much sunlight or even not enough.

  • Limp fronds: The most likely cause is over watering. Also check the temperature is not too cold.

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