How to grow and care for Hare's Foot Fern (Davallia canariensis) Indoors

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Houseplant, Hare's Foot Fern

Botanical name: Davallia canariensis
Family: Davalliaceae

Hare's Foot Fern is grown for its thick, scaly rhizomes which grow over the edge of the pot and resemble a hare's foot hence giving the fern its common name. The rhizomes absorb moisture and nutients as they crawl. The fronds are broad, finely divided and look like carrot tops. It grows to a height of about 1.5 ft and about 2 ft wide. Hare's Foot Fern is ideal for a hanging basket where the rhizomes can hang freely for maximum display. The rhizomes should not be buried under the soil as it encourages rotting.

Hare's Foot Fern is found from west Mediterranean to the Atlantic Islands where it grows in a sunny atmosphere and amongst rocks. The species name canariensis suggests that this fern has its origins in the Canary Islands. Hare's Foot Fern is related to the larger but less hardy Davallia fejeensis (Rabbit's Foot Fern), Davallia bullata (Squirrel's Foot Fern) and Davallia trichomanoides (Black Rabbit's Foot Fern).

How to Grow Hare's Foot Fern (Davallia canariensis)

Light Hare's for Foot Fern

Bright, indirect light is the best for your Hare's Foot Fern. Keep it away from direct sunlight as it may scorch the fronds. Turn the pot regularly to ensure even growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to water Hare's Foot Fern

For optimum growth of your Hare's Foot Fern, keep the soil slightly moist. Reduce watering during cold months. Maintain the rhizomes moist by daily misting.


Temperature for Hare's Foot Fern

Average warmth between 21-250C is ideal for your Hare's Foot Fern. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Hare's Foot Fern

Hare's Foot Fern thrives under high humidity. The fern is suitable for humid areas like the bathroom or can be grown in a terrarium where humidity is high. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Hare's Foot Fern

Feed your Hare's Foot Fern with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is reduced. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to prune Hare's Foot Fern

Remove dead and damaged fronds from your Hare's Foot Fern. As the fern ages, the older fronds turn brown. Cut them off at the base to maintain your fern looking neat and tidy.

Repotting Hare's Foot Fern

Repot your Hare's Foot Fern every 2-3 years at the beginning of the growing season. Use a pot that is 1 size larger and one that has drainage hole(s) to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Use loose, free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter for your Hare's Foot Fern. The fern can also be divided into several sections and potted individually. Do not bury the rhizomes under the soil as it can lead to rotting of your Hare's Foot Fern.

How to Propagate Hare's Foot Fern (Davallia canariensis)

Hare's Foot Fern can be propagated by plant division at the beginning of the growing season.

How to propagate Hare's Foot Fern by plant division

Carefully remove the fern from its pot and divide it into several sections. Ensure each section has adequate roots.

Pot up these sections of Hare's Foot Fern into individual pots. Place the pots in a warm shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out until the new ferns are well established. Do not bury the rhizomes under the soil as it can lead to rotting.

Common problems in growing Hare's Foot Fern (Davallia canariensis)

  • Why are the fronds of my Hare's Foot Fern yellowing, have brown leaf tips and there is no growth?
  • The cause of yellowing fronds, brown tips and no new growth in your Hare's Foot Fern is dry air. Raise humidity for your Hare's Foot Fern by more frequent misting of the rhizomes to keep them moist.

  • Why are the leaves of my Hare's Foot Fern yellowing?
  • Soggy soil is the reason for yellowing leaves in your Hare's Foot Fern. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining.

  • Why are the leaves of my Hare's Foot Fern wilting?
  • Wilting leaves in your Hare's Foot Fern is an indication of overcrowding in the current pot. Repot the fern into a larger pot or divide it up for more plants.

  • Why is there excessive leaf drop in my Hare's Foot Fern?
  • Leaflets drop in your Hare's Foot Fern is indicative of too dry soil. Maintain the soil slightly moist and do not leave to dry out completely for an extended period of time.

  • Why does my Hare's Foot Fern have some brown and yellow leaves?
  • Browning and yellowing in isolated areas of your Hare's Foot Fern are a result of excessive salts in the soil either from watering or fertilizers.

    Flush out the salts by repeatedly running a steady stream of water thorough the soil and avoid overfertilizing in the future.

  • Why are there brown shells scattered on fronds of my Hare's Foot Fern?
  • Brown shells scattered on fronds of your Hare's Foot Fern is an indication of a infestation by Scales. Isolate the affected plant to avoid spread to other houseplants and treat appropriately.

  • Which plant pests attack Hare's Foot Fern?
  • Common plant pests in Hare's Foot Fern are Scales and Mealy Bugs. Isolate the affected plant to avoid spread to other houseplants and treat appropriately.

Is Hare's Foot Fern toxic?

Hare's Foot Ferns (Davallia canariensis) are non-toxic to humans and pets. The plants are safe to grow indoors.

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