Rabbit’s foot fern (Davallia solida var. fejeensis) is a favorite of mine and one of the easiest tropical houseplant ferns to grow. Native to Fiji, the genus name, Davallia, was derived in honor of the Swiss botanist Edmond Davall. This beautiful fern has lacy, graceful fonds along with furry rhizomes that grow over the top of the soil and will drape over the sides of a container. Be sure to plant in a container or hanging basket where the fuzzy rhizomes can be seen.
In its native habitat, a rabbit’s foot fern is epiphytic, which means it will grow in tree nooks and rock crannies without soil. It gets moisture and nutrients from the atmosphere, rainfall, and plant debris.
When grown as a houseplant, this fern requires similar conditions as other tropical ferns but tends to be less temperamental. It does need additional humidity along with proper moisture. If the atmosphere in your home tends to be dry, mist the fern several times a week or run a humidifier to increase the humidity. The frond tips will turn brown if the humidity level is too low. The ideal growing temperature should be between 65 ° to 75 °F. Never place your plant where a heat or air conditioning vent blows directly on it.
The soil should be kept moist but not soggy wet. Allow the soil to dry out about ½ inch on the soil’s surface between waterings. Always drain the container’s saucer or cache pot about 15 minutes after watering to prevent the plant from sitting in water, as this can lead to root rot. For more information on properly watering houseplants, see HGIC 1459, Indoor Plants-Watering.
This beautiful fern prefers bright, indirect light, so make sure you do not place your plant in a hot, sunny window. Direct sunshine will cause the fonds to scorch and turn the rhizomes brown. Fertilize with a half-strength water-soluble fertilizer every three weeks from the spring through the fall. Discontinue fertilization during the winter, as all houseplants are not actively growing.
If you have pets that tend to chew or nibble on your houseplants, a rabbit’s foot fern is an excellent choice to add to your houseplant collection, as it is not toxic to dogs or cats.