Have A Rabbit’s Foot Fern For Goodluck

by Barbara-

Ferns know me as the Fern killer. Sad, but true. I haven’t given up though. I still keep a few ferns around such as the Staghorn fern, a Boston fern and the Rabbit’s foot fern. 

IMG_2568Davallia fejeensis (rabbit’s foot fern) is a native of Fiji. It is an epiphytic fern whereby they grow on trees and rock crevices obtaining nutrients from rain, air, trees and debris. This fern gets its common name from its fuzzy-haired covered rhizomes that resemble a rabbit’s foot – a so-called good luck charm. The rhizomes are definitely ‘petable’ and so if you have no pets and not too keen on Goldfishes 🙂 consider the Rabbit foot fern. These furry rhizomes creep on top of rocks, barks on the case if the house plant on soil, where they absorb moisture and nutrients. The plant’s foliage also arise from these rhizomes and witnessing the foliage emerge from them is quite spectacular.

IMG_2587This plant has a typical fern appearance of lacy-like fronds which are attached to thin stems. It is easier to take care of than other ferns in my opinion. I probably think this because I’ve had it for months and it is still alive and flourishing.
LIGHT: This plant prefers moderate to bright indirect light. It will do well in an east-facing or north-facing window. I keep it on a shelf, a few feet away from a southwest facing window and so far, there have been no scorching of leaves.

WATER: Keep the soil moist and do not let it completely dry out during the growing period. In winter, give the plant just enough water to keep it from drying out completely. I usually water by giving the plant a shower, from top to bottom, there by wetting the fronds and rhizomes as well. Since this is an epiphytic plant, I would think the most important part to focus watering would be the rhizomes rather than the roots

IMG_2582HUMIDITY: One thing that makes this an easy-to-care-for fern is the fact that it can tolerate low humidity than most ferns and can therefore thrive in most indoor situations. It is advised to mist the leaves and rhizomes periodically to raise humidity. I do this about once to twice a week. The rhizomes would get wet anyway when watering.

GROWING MEDIUM:  Any potting mix will do.


POTTING AND RE-POTTING: It is advised to re-pot when the plant has outgrown its planter or when the rhizomes have filled the top of the planter such that water cannot really get through. I read that when this happens the fronds turn brown and die. This therefore means the roots are just as important as the rhizomes when watering ?! Looking at my plant, it would be quite difficult to repot as it would mean some of the rhizomes hanging on the side of the pot now would end up being buried in the soil when transferred to a bigger pot. And that is a no no as the rhizomes will rot. Dividing the rhizomes during reporting might be the way to go  if you have any tips on re-potting, share them below.

PROPAGATION: Do this in the growing season, during spring and summer, by dividing the rhizomes with roots attached. Place the rhizomes on the surface of the soil and hold it in place by using wire, hair pins, toothpicks etc. Do not bury the rhizomes.


Do you have a rabbit foot fern? Share below.



Hi, I’m Barbara and I’m a little obsessed with house plants. I share my house plant adventures in the hopes of inspiring you to continue to enjoy the greens in your home. And if you have no plants (yet!) I hope this blog inspires you to add some green to your home. So go on! Try it! I think you might quite like it. And who knows? You may end up being … obsessed too.


  1. Linda L.Mundy

    I’ve had a rabbit-fern for 7 years,my x-husband bought for me. I’ve researched for it several times. I need to know why the “feet” are all brown(the ones in the pot)and it’s not growing.
    The foliage is bare and when I water it,about once a week,I put it under the faucet and give it a good watering.
    I don’t want to loose it so I think I’ll repot it even though I’m afraid I’ll loose a lot of it I’m also thinking about letting it dry out real good. It’s inside now because our weather is turning.

    09 . Oct . 2020
  2. Patricia

    My daughter has a rabbits foot fern that I gave her. It is growing beautifully. Every time she waters it, it gives off the most horrible odor. Is that normal? I have tried to find any reference to this, with no luck. I thought it might be the soil. But she used the same potting soil on her other plants and they don’t smell bad when watered. Could you please solve this mystery?

    19 . Feb . 2020
    • Barbara

      Hi Patricia, I have no idea. Mine doesn’t do that. A foul odour might mean a fungus or unwanted bacteria is growing in the soil and will soon affect the plant. I suggest she removes it from the pot and inspect the soil and the plants’ roots. I suggest she rinse of the soil from the roots as much as possible and repot it in a fresh soil. If its going back in the same pot, then wash the pot thoroughly with soap and water, bleach or vinegar mixed. Allow put to dry before repotting. All the best! Let me know how it goes.

      08 . Jan . 2021
  3. Adorablest

    I don’t have a Rabbit’s Foot Fern, but I’ve seen them and sometimes when they are really grown and hairy out of the pot, I think they look like spiders 🙂 But that is probably just because of living in Australia and it comes with the territory, expecting a spider to be hiding in a pot! I don’t have a lot of luck with ferns either … that tassel fern I had … best not to speak ill of the dead 🙁 Love them, but finding the right conditions INSIDE can be tricky, but outside they’ll grow like weeds!

    29 . Dec . 2015
    • Barbara

      So sorry to hear about your tassel fern. I have a Boston fern right now and although it is thriving, leaves keep falling everyday:( Only a matter of time. I agree with you. The rhizomes look more like tarantula legs than rabbits’ foot when they grow very long.

      29 . Dec . 2015

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