How To Grow & Care For the Rabbit’s Foot Fern

The Rabbit’s Foot Fern is a captivating houseplant known for its soft, furry rhizomes that look like a rabbit’s foot, hence the name. Scientifically known as Davallia fejeensis, this fern is native to the Fiji Islands. Its rhizomes often creep over the side of the pot, adding a unique aesthetic appeal to the surroundings. Unlike some other ferns, the Rabbit’s Foot Fern is recognized for being relatively easy to care for, making it a popular choice among both novice and experienced gardeners.

The plant’s fronds, which grow from the rhizomes, have a delicate and feathery appearance, and they can grow quite long if given the right conditions. The furry rhizomes are not only attractive but also serve a purpose: they help the plant absorb moisture and nutrients. This means that the Rabbit’s Foot Fern can tolerate some neglect, particularly when it comes to watering.

Though generally considered a robust and adaptable fern, the Rabbit’s Foot Fern does have specific needs. Like other ferns, it thrives in certain lighting conditions and requires specific soil and humidity levels. Understanding these requirements will ensure that the plant stays healthy and continues to produce its signature “rabbit’s feet.”

Common NamesRabbit’s Foot Fern
Botanical NameDavallia fejeensis
Plant TypeFern
Mature Size1-2 feet in height
Sun ExposurePartial Shade
Soil TypeWell-draining, rich soil
Hardiness Zones10-12
Native AreaFiji Islands

Rabbit’s Foot Fern Care

Caring for the Rabbit’s Foot Fern is relatively simple, but attention must be paid to certain key factors. The plant thrives in indirect light and prefers a humid environment. While it’s forgiving of some neglect, particularly with watering, it does need the right soil type and regular feeding during the growing season.

Like many ferns, the Rabbit’s Foot Fern loves humidity, so it’s often found thriving in bathrooms or kitchens where humidity levels are higher. Providing the correct environment can lead to a lush and attractive plant that serves as an appealing addition to any room.

Light Requirement for Rabbit’s Foot Fern

Rabbit’s Foot Fern thrives in indirect or filtered light. Bright, direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, while too little light can cause the fronds to become weak and leggy. Placing it near a north or east-facing window is often ideal.

Soil Requirements for Rabbit’s Foot Fern

Well-draining soil rich in organic matter is best for Rabbit’s Foot Fern. A peat-based potting mix with added sand or perlite can provide the right balance of drainage and nutrients.

Water Requirements for Rabbit’s Foot Fern

The soil should be kept moderately moist, but not soggy. Overwatering can cause root rot, while underwatering can lead to dry and crispy fronds. Watering should be reduced in winter when the plant’s growth slows down.

Temperature and Humidity

Rabbit’s Foot Fern prefers a humid environment and temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C). Misting the plant or using a humidity tray can help maintain the humidity levels.


A balanced liquid fertilizer can be applied monthly during the growing season. It should be diluted to half strength to prevent over-fertilizing, which can cause the fronds to become weak and floppy.

Pruning Rabbit’s Foot Fern

Pruning is generally not required, but dead or yellowing fronds should be removed at the base to keep the plant looking fresh and to encourage new growth.

Propagating Rabbit’s Foot Fern

Propagation is done through division of the rhizomes. The plant can be gently taken out of the pot, and the rhizomes can be separated with a sharp knife. Each division should have at least one healthy frond.

How To Grow Rabbit’s Foot Fern From Seed

Growing Rabbit’s Foot Fern from seed is rare and typically not done by home gardeners, as it’s a complex process. Propagation is generally done through division.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Spider Mites

These tiny insects can be treated with insecticidal soap or neem oil.


Manual removal or the use of horticultural oil can control scale insects.

Common Problems With Rabbit’s Foot Fern

Yellowing Fronds

Yellowing fronds may indicate overwatering or poor drainage. Adjusting watering habits and soil type can remedy this.

Crispy Tips

This is often a sign of low humidity. Increasing humidity can solve this problem.

Weak Growth

Weak growth may result from inadequate light. Moving the plant to a brighter location might solve the issue.

Pro Tips

  1. Keep the furry rhizomes above the soil surface; they absorb moisture from the air.
  2. Don’t overwater; let the top inch of soil dry out between watering.
  3. Provide a humid environment through misting or placing a humidity tray nearby.
  4. Avoid repotting too often as the plant likes to be root-bound.
  5. Use a balanced, diluted fertilizer during the growing season for lush growth.