Botanical Name — Davallia fejeensis
Common Name — rabbit’s foot fern
Plant Family — Davalliaceae
Davallia fejeensis are epiphytic ferns native to the tropics of Fiji, Micronesia, and Colombia. These plants are known and aptly named, for their thick, fuzzy rhizomes that hang over the edges of planters. Rhizomes can grow up to two feet in length and will produce shoots along its length, making these plants great for hanging baskets where they can branch freely.
- Davallia fejeensis grow best in light shade, or medium to bright filtered sunlight.
- Place in a spot that gets indirect morning or afternoon sun. A north or east-facing window would be ideal.
- Rabbit’s foot ferns will thrive in high humidity environments. Ambient moisture is essential to keeping these feathery fronds lush and green in color. A bathroom or kitchen where there is plenty of humidity is a great spot.
- A temperature of about 70°F is ideal, avoid anything below 60°F.
- Consistent temperature is key. These ferns are not very tolerant of temperature fluctuations or cold, drafty air.
- Keep soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Water when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch. For a 6 inch sized pot, this should be about every 2 to 3 days. In very warm conditions it could be as often as every day or every other day.
- The rhizomes should not be allowed to dry out. Mist them daily to keep them moist.
- In their native environment, rabbit’s foot ferns are spoiled by a rich, moist, well-drained soil, and fertilized by decaying organic matter. Coco coir and compost are excellent amendments to ensure that soil provides adequate moisture and is high in organic nutrients.
- Rabbit’s foot ferns have shallow root systems. Do not plant them too deeply, and keep rhizomes at the soil surface to avoid rot.
- Davallia fejeensis are ferns and therefore reproduce by spores, not flowers.
- Fertilization is generally not necessary, but if you choose to fertilize feed your fern once every two weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer diluted at half the recommended strength. Ferns love fish emulsion.
- The most reliable way to propagate these plants is by division. Using a clean, sharp knife, separate rhizomes, ensuring that each section has leaves and roots attached.
- Lay the rhizome in a moist, well-aerated soil mixture. Keep the mixture lightly moist and provide plenty of humidity to encourage growth.
- Because these plants like moisture and high humidity, gray mold and other types of fungal infections are a concern. Prune away any unhealthy fronds and treat them with a fungicide for plants. If mold is found in the soil prune away any affected roots and repot the plant in a clean pot using fresh soil.
- Aphids, mealybugs, and scale are attracted to these plants. To treat, wipe leaves with rubbing alcohol or diluted neem oil.
- If infestation is especially bad, washing the foliage with a gentle soap is known to be effective. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)
- Repot when the plant is rootbound, and only during the spring and summer. These will do best in a plastic or glazed clay pot. Clay alone would wick away moisture and leave the soil prone to dryness.
- Even in the most ideal conditions, lower fronds will brown and eventually die. Pruning these away will allow the plant to dedicate energy to producing new growth.
- These plants are non-toxic to both pets and humans.
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