Years ago, I decided to plant a container garden for our flamingo plant stand. The Behnke Houseplant Department had just gotten in some cute little 4″ rabbit’s foot ferns, Davallia fejeensis so with that, a caladium, and something else I can’t recall, I planted it all up in this 12″ round planter. Perfect! Each Fall, my husband, Jon would take it out of the stand, look at it and say, I think it will live a little longer. Then, each Spring, the fern got a little bigger, the caladium pushed its way back up, and he would put it back out in the garden.
Last Winter, our new kitten decided sitting in the pot was the thing to do and pretty much destroyed the plant. However, Jon was not ready to give up on it and took it to the garage. Once again, we put it in the flamingo, but the caladium never came back up. Instead, the fern tripled in size. It got to the point we were not sure how we would overwinter it without making a mess and having all the furry rhizomes (I call them the feet) drop all over the house. Plus, who knows what THAT CAT (former kitten) would do to it. Spring is the best time to re-pot this type of fern. However, it could not wait.
We found a bigger, taller pot that would give the fern room to grow and the little feet room to hang. However, I felt the pot would be too deep for the fern, so Jon placed a pot upside down in the pot. I purchased some fresh ESPOMA Potting Soil from Meadows Farms last weekend, and we got to work. We filled the container with the new soil up to the top of the inserted pot.
We were unsure if we could pull it out of the planter, but it came out with no problem. So while I held the whole thing upside down, Jon pulled the pot off, which took a little work, but he managed without too much damage. The fern was pretty root bound, so he carefully pulled the root apart so it could take off in its fresh new soil.
Once done, we placed the fern in its new home. We then filled in extra soil loosely around the 1″ around the edge of the plant. Then it was time to water it in thoroughly and enjoy. It got to spend a few days outside until last Saturday night when we saw the night temperatures were going down. So, for now, it will stay in the heated garage. Jon will bring it out each day that it is nice with all the other plants Jon likes to overwinter. I am not sure if it will come to our house because of the cat. While I looked up and found it is not a toxic plant, the thought that he will jump up and sit in it does not make me happy. (why did I think I needed to get another cat again?)
Caring for a rabbit’s foot fern you need to provide good light, moisture, and the correct temperature, along with regular fertilization. This fern likes bright but indirect sunlight, such as that found near a window with eastern exposure. During the day, they like temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees F. and slightly cooler temperatures at night. You should hold off on insecticides and any leaf shine stuff as this fern is sensitive to chemicals.