Rabbit’s foot fern, Davallia fejeensis (Polypodium aureum), gets its name from the fuzzy rhizomes that creep over the edge of pots. They are also known as hare’s foot fern, and will make great hanging baskets, as will other ferns such as asparagus fern.
Conditions for Growing Rabbit’s Foot Fern
This fern grows from 8-12” high and may reach a width of 1-3’ wide. It grows in a mounding form with a fine texture. Rabbit foot’s fern makes its best growth when it is in bright, filtered light. It performs well in home temperatures from about 55 degrees at night to as high as 85 degrees during the day. It needs high humidity too.
Care of Rabbit’s Foot Fern
This is an epiphytic fern that grows on the sides of trees when it is in the wild, so try to keep it moderately moist. Use an Epiphyte mix when adding soil. It has a resting period from October to February when it needs little water. Feed with a foliage plant food at half the recommended dose from April through September. ‘Tip burn’ results from being fed too much.
The fern’s “rabbit’s foot” rhizomes will quickly grow over the edges of their pots, so be careful to not cover rhizomes with potting soil. You should just let them creep where they want. The rhizomes are succulent and can break, so instead of repotting the entire plant, push new potting mix between the rhizomes when the old potting mix begins to break down.
Pruning- Rabbit’s foot fern seldom needs any type of pruning but may need yellowed fronds removed occasionally.
Propagation of Rabbit’s Foot Fern
Propagation is done by rhizome division. Simply cut pieces of a rhizome and pin them to moist soil. This fern can also be propagated by spores.
Pest and Diseases
Rabbits foot fern may have spider mites as a pest problem at some point, especially if the humidity is too low. Control them by showering off the plant regularly and keep the humidity high. You may also notice browning fronds when the humidity is too low.
Rabbit's Fern as a Terrarium Plant
Rabbit's foot fern makes a great plant for a terrarium since it requires high humidity. Try not to get it overly moist for a prolonged period as this may bring on browning and disease. Try to open the lid periodically to keep moisture from building up too high.
Related Species to Rabbit’s Foot Fern
Deer’s foot fern (D. Canariensis) has narrow, triangular fronds. Polynesian foot fern (D. Solida) has more leathery types of fronds. Squirrel’s foot-fern (D. Trichomanoides) has diamond-shaped fronds.
Yardandgardenrescue.com also has articles on other types of ferns such as, cinnamon fern and asparagus fern as well as other plants suitable for hanging baskets, shady areas, or for terrariums and houseplants.
You might want to try your hand at growing Rabbit's foot fern: