How to grow and care for Rabbit's Foot Fern Indoors

Houseplant, Rabbit's Foot Fern

Botanical name: Davallia fejeensis
Family: Davalliaceae

Rabbit's Foot Fern is grown for its furry, brown and yellow rhizomes which look like a rabbit's foot and hence the name. The rhizomes absorb moisture and nutients at they crawl. The fronds are finely divided, light to dark green in color and look like carrot tops. The leaflets are attached to wiry stems which grow from the rhizomes. It grows to a height of about 2 ft and about 2 ft wide. Rabbit'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. Rabbit's Foot Fern are native to the Fiji Islands in Oceania where they grow on trees or in between rocks. Rabbit's Foot Fern is related to Davallia canariensis (Hare's Foot Fern), Davallia bullata (Squirrel's Foot Fern) and Davallia trichomanoides (Black Rabbit's Foot Fern).

How to Grow Rabbit's Foot Fern


Bright indirect light is the best for Rabbit's Foot Fern. Keep it away from direct sunlight as it may scorch the fronds. Turn the pot regularly to ensure even growth. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.


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


Average warmth between 15-240C is ideal for Rabbit's Foot Fern. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.


Rabbit'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. Employ these techniques to raise humidity for this fern.


Feed Rabbit'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. Find out more on how to feed houseplants.


Remove dead and damaged fronds. As the plant ages, the older fronds turn brown. Cut them off at the base to maintain the plant looking neat and tidy.


Repot Rabbit'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 avoid waterlogging. Use loose, free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. The plant can also be divided into several sections and potted individually. Do not bury the rhizomes under the soil as it can lead to rotting.

How to Propagate Rabbit's Foot Fern

Rabbit's Foot Fern can be propagated by division at the beginning of the growing season. Carefully remove the fern from its pot and divide it into several sections. Ensure each section has adequate roots. Pot up these sections into individual pots. Place the pots in a warm shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out until the plants are well established. Do not bury the rhizomes under the soil as it can lead to rotting.

Common problems in growing Rabbit's Foot Fern

  • Yellowing fronds, brown tips, no new growth
  • The cause of yellowing fronds, brown tips and no new growth in Rabbit's Foot Fern is dry air. Employ these techniques to raise humidity and regularly mist the rhizomes to keep them moist.

  • Yellowing leaves
  • Soggy soil is the reason for yellowing leaves in Rabbit's Foot Fern. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining.

  • Wilting leaves
  • Wilting leaves in Rabbit'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.

  • Excessive leaf drop
  • Leaflets drop in Rabbit'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.

  • Isolated brown and yellow leaves
  • Browning and yellowing in isolated areas of Rabbit'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.

  • Brown shells scattered on fronds
  • Brown shells scattered on fronds in Rabbit's Foot Fern is an indication of a infestation by Scales. Isolate the affected plant to avoid spread to other houseplants.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Rabbit's Foot Fern are Scales and Mealy Bugs. Isolate the affected plant to avoid spread to other houseplants.


Rabbit's Foot Ferns are non-toxic to humans and pets. The plants are safe to grow indoors.

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