How To Grow And Care For A Rabbit Foot Fern

A rabbit foot fern is a houseplant, which features furry rhizomes. Due to these furry rhizomes growing on the soil’s top, this plant is called a rabbit foot fern as these rhizomes resemble the foot of a rabbit. These rhizomes grow over the pot’s side and thus, add a dimension to your plant. Both decorative and functional, rhizomes absorb nutrients and moisture while crawling across the damp soil.


So, when you grow rabbits foot fern houseplants in hanging baskets, they show off furry rhizomes the best. These rhizomes grow quite long and take on a spider-like look over time. Also, it is recommended to never bury these rhizomes under the soil as this boosts rot.

What is a Rabbit Foot Fern?

rabbit foot fern

Davalliafejeensis is a member of a genus consisting of 40 plants. All of these plants are epiphytic in nature. Meaning that they grow within rock crevices or on trees. Plus, they take nutrients and moisture from other sources like trees, rain, air, and debris but not soil.

Over the years, people have learnt growing these plants within their western homes by replicating the plant’s natural habitat. Also, how to grow a fern group for some time too. A rabbit’s foot fern is the one that thrives really well if provided the correct growing conditions. Here, the right amount of light and moisture is the thumb rule!

When it comes to its appearance, fejeensis is recognizable simply as a fern due to its fronds that show off gauzy and lace-like leaflets. Here, smaller leaves are linked to a sort of wiry stalks, which grow from the rhizomes. These yellowish-brown and furry rhizomes creep over the container, which is the main feature of this plant species.

It is quite significant to note that what container the houseplant needs to be potted in. This is so as to display its rhizomes. Usually, people use shallow pots and hanging baskets to grow a rabbit’s fern. Talking about rabbit foot fern care, it does look a bit resilient as compared to other ferns. Plus, this houseplant is less temperamental.

This plant is treated as a fern because of the required humidity levels. You have to provide enough humidity so as to keep the soil moist.

How to Take Care of a Rabbit’s Foot Fern

rabbit foot fern

Temperature: It should be between 60 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, it should not fall lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Your plant may require more watering when the temperature goes above 75 degrees Fahrenheit and less watering when it drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Light:Avoid direct sunlight and offer indirect bright light. It is important as direct light can scorch the plant’s leaves and turn rhizomes brown, particularly with lower humidity levels. However, a small amount of sunlight would not cause any harm and even, encourages plant health. But, it could be risky with this houseplant.

Watering: During summer and spring, you should keep the soil damp all the time, without leaving it soaked. As this species just has smaller roots, it takes most of its nutrients and water from the top soil and then, stores the same within the rhizomes. Regular misting assists in keeping the surface rhizomes from drying out.

Soil: To grow this houseplant, you need well-drained, peat-based potting soil. The ideal soil for a rabbit’s foot fern comprises 1-part perlite or soil, 1-part loam, and 2-part peat moss.

Fragrance and Flowering: As a rabbit’s foot fern is a fern, it doesn’t yield any flowers.

Re-potting: Within spring, you have to re-pot your plant to a larger pot if the roots and rhizomes require more room. This is a perfect time for cutting away rhizomes for propagating new plants. Do not plant these rhizomes in soil.

Fertilizer: From the spring’s beginning until the fall’s end, you need to use a liquid diluted feed every two-three weeks. However, you should not fertilize new plants for about 4-6 months or until they begin growing actively. While fertilizing, it is recommended to employ half the suggested amount on the bottle as excess fertilizer could cause scorching of the plant’s leaves.

Humidity: To make your houseplant look healthy, you have to increase humidity levels in a room. You can even go for misting. However, you have to place your rabbit’s foot fern on a humidity tray or employ a humidifier if the air becomes too dry.

Propagation: For propagation, you have to divide rhizomes into 2-inch sections. Also, include one stem along with a frond. You need to pin these rhizomes within damp potting soil with toothpicks or strong wires. After you notice new growth, new plants will emerge.

Maintenance and Grooming: Rabbit foot ferns do not require much maintenance. However, you have to be quite careful about watering for maintaining the correct moisture level in the soil. For ensuring proper new development, the plant needs to be repotted once the rhizomes and roots develop and begin overcrowding the pot.

Watch this video to know more about how to grow on cuttings from your rabbit foot fern.

Common Problems Related to a Rabbit Foot Fern

  • Brown tips and fronds yellowing: Examine to check whether the temperature is not hot and the air is dry. Then, enhance humidity levels.
  • Less development and pale fronds: The reason behind the problem could be the requirement of fertilizer within the soil. Also, pale fronds could be related to the houseplant being exposed to excessive sunlight or not enough light.
  • Limp fronds: Over watering could be the main reason for this issue. Plus, check if the temperature isn’t too cold.

Apart from these problems, the fern’s foliage can attract mites, thrips, and fungus gnats. So, it is suggested to inspect your plant regularly for such pests. Do not employ pesticides, not even the ones designed for houseplants on a rabbit’s foot fern. This is because they are not safe for them. It is better to dip a cotton swab in alcohol or just use a wet towel for brushing off these pests.

Uses of A Rabbit Foot Fern

While this fern species is a highly expensive ornamental plant grown in terraces, pergolas, gardens, and patios, its rhizomes are employed for medicinal uses in their innate origin. These plants are considered very useful to treat a range of health conditions like kidney pain, high blood pressure, stomach pain, arthritis, diarrhea, blood disorders, and even certain kinds of cancer. In Amazonia, the Watoto people use their rhizome buds for treating cough.


So, this is all about growing and caring for a rabbit foot fern. Now, you can grow this fern after reading different aspects related to it. If you know someone who wants to grow this fern species, share this article with them. If you still have some queries or comments to make, post the same in the comment section below!

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