Garden Club of Chester, New Jersey
Out of many ferns I have grown over the years, my favorite is Hare’s Foot (Davallia sp.). It has lacy fronds and fascinating hairy rhizomes (“hare’s feet”) that eventually creep over of the edge of the pot. Despite its delicate appearance, this fern is very easy to grow indoors; it survives remarkably well dry air conditions during the winter months.
The plant happily grows in a regular potting mix, and, unlike many other ferns, the soil should not be kept moist all the times but rather left to dry out between the waterings. I usually water my Hare’s Foot once in two weeks since it sits in a big container that keeps soil moist for a longer time. Finger test the soil in the pot to determine when to water. Obviously, the smaller the container, the more frequent watering it needs. It is recommended to feed Davallia with a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer during the plant’s active growth and seize all feeding in winter, when the plant is dormant.
During warm months, the plant can be left outside on a porch or in the garden in a shade. If it is kept indoors, it prefers southern/eastern/western window exposure.
I propagate Davallia by rhizome cuttings. Using a sterile knife or a razor blade, I sever a healthy rhizome that has at least two mature fronds and is about 2-3 inches long. I gently place it on the surface of a small pot filled with wet regular potting soil and cover the rhizome with a thin layer of moist sphagnum moss. Then, I place the pot inside a big plastic jar which serves as a propagator for moisture loving plants. To secure the rhizome from falling out the pot, you can use clips.
Within a couple of months, you should see small roots growing from the rhizome and tiny fronds starting to develop. I usually wait until at least one frond unfolds completely before removing the plant from the propagator.
|Young Davallia plants||
Plastic jars I use for propagation
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