- Author: Erin Mahaney
Looking for a hardy and unusual houseplant? One of my favorites is the Rabbit’s Foot Fern. Named for the fuzzy, creeping rhizomes, which look somewhat like a rabbit’s foot, the fern either intrigues or repulses people who haven’t seen one before. The fern grows—slowly for me!—to approximately 1-3 feet tall by 1-4 feet wide with triangular-shaped, bright green, lacey fronds rising from the rhizomes.
There are a number of “footed” ferns that go by various common names such as “Rabbit’s Foot,” “Hare’s Foot,” “Squirrel’s Foot,” “White Rabbit’s Foot” and “Bear’s Foot.” They include Davallia fejeensis, Polypodium aureum, Davallia bullata, and Humata tyermannii. Frankly, I’m not entirely sure which “footed” fern I have—I’m fairly sure it’s one of the Davallia species—but my mother called it a Rabbit’s Foot Fern so that is good enough for me.
The fern does well in bright shade and can withstand some neglect, such as infrequent watering (to which I can personally attest). I grow mine as a houseplant, but it can also be grown in a container outside year round. My mother grows her ferns outdoors and she won first prize at her local county fair for one! These ferns can be difficult to find in local stores, but if you know someone who has one, they are easy to propagate by dividing an established plant or by taking cuttings from the rhizomes of plant.