Rabbit’s Foot Ferns – A Good Name For Many Ferns

To many people, every fern is long, slender, furry runners over the pot’s side is a “rabbit’s foot” fern. Their grandmother had one; she called it that, and that is what it is, as far as they are concerned.

To a certain extent, they are right, but Mr. Schneider, in his book “Choice Ferns,” distinguishes between “hare’s foot,” “bear’s foot,” and “squirrel’s foot.” As hares are called rabbits in this country, however, “rabbit’s foot” is probably as good a name as any.

Rabbit Foot FernsPin

I have been fairly successful in growing some of these, so a few pictures and notes may not be amiss. These ferns grow easily. Mine thrive in an enclosed porch or conservatory connected with the house. 

The door between is always open, and the temperature is only a little cooler than that of the house, except at night when it is probably 10° to 12° degrees Fahrenheit cooler. They get practically no sunshine during winter.

In summer, I hang them under rather dense trees, where they receive only filtered light.

Growing Potted Ferns

The ferns are potted in sandy loam with about one-hail leaf mold and watered two or three times a week.

The rhizomes grow along the top of the soil and should never be covered. I grow all mine as hanging plants. 

They can hardly be grown in any other way after they get to be any size. Most of mine are 6 or 7 years old and have been reported only once when they became firmly established from cuttings.

Two or three times a year, particularly in winter, I feed them with some fertilizer – it doesn’t seem to make much difference. They usually respond with new fronds in a short time.

Davallia Tyermanii

One of those you will want to try is Davallia tyermanii which is more often called bear’s foot rather than rabbit’s foot. Davallia divaricata is also interesting and beautiful.

The young fronds are bright red, turning green with age. Perhaps the most finely cut and graceful of all is the handsome D. fejeensis.

Easy To Propagate Davallia Ferns

A piece of the “foot”—the rhizome—cut from the plant will usually root if pinned down to sphagnum moss and kept warm.

Another way is to pin them to a pot of soil and cut them from the parent plant when they have rooted.

Wide other intriguing varieties are described in Schneider’s book. I have not been able to find a source of supply. Possibly a reader may know.

44659 by Ross W. Baker