Is this plant cool or creepy? A furry foot of rabbits foot fern creeps out of its pot (AP photos)
Is this plant cool or creepy?
Lexile

There's a fat, furry, tan foot. It's creeping over the edge of the pot in the hanging basket over my desk. No cause for alarm. It just shows that my plant is growing happily.

That foot is a hairy, creeping stem. It's part of a rabbit's foot fern. Taking the basket down, I see that the plant has other feet. They are making their way to the edge of the pot. New leafy fronds spring forth from the topsides of these feet.

Besides its interesting feet, rabbit's foot is, among ferns, relatively easy to grow.

Ferns became popular houseplants during Victorian times. That's because of their lushness and tolerance for relatively dim conditions. In those days, homes were cooler and moister. Just to the liking of ferns.

Rabbit's foot ferns can tolerate drier and warmer conditions than most other ferns. Their natural habitat is in southeast Asian jungles. These ferns nestle between rocks or in the crotches of trees. They like that more than growing in soil.

Rabbit's foot is not the only fern with feet. Common names of some of its relatives include deer's foot fern, squirrel's foot fern and Polynesian foot fern. Rabbit's foot, though, is the most commonly offered of the lot. It's also thought to be the best. That's because it is evergreen and has the largest feet. Squirrel's foot fern, incidentally, has red "fur."

I attribute the health of my fern to the good drainage of the potting mix in which it grows. That, and the cool, bright room that it calls home. Any potting mix can be made similarly suitable for this plant with some extra perlite or gravel. And the pot must, of course, have drainage holes.

The plant's growth is striking. Mine started out in a small pot at a western window. That was a couple of autumns ago. A slightly larger pot and the brightness of spring then spurred 2-foot-long fronds. They threatened to gobble up that corner of the room. Or at least push the plant off the windowsill. The plant has since moved again. Now it's in a large hanging basket. It can freely spread its lush, 2-to-3-foot-long, rippling fronds in all directions.

You might wonder what I'll do when all the rabbit's feet have bailed out of the pot. That's when I'll make new plants. I'll cut off some pieces of feet with roots attached. Then I will press them, without burying them, into fresh pots of soil.

Rabbit's foot ferns, like rabbits, multiply quickly.

Critical thinking challenge: Name two things that rabbit's foot ferns have in common with rabbits.

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COMMENTS (6)
  • aliciac-Hyl
    2/18/2015 - 09:37 a.m.

    I don't want a rabbit foot fern. And to answer the title question I think the rabbit foot fern is creepy cool. I mean I think its, well both I think its cool than creepy.

    • GageT-Phe
      2/25/2015 - 08:48 a.m.

      this passage is creepy cause a plant has a foot and its cool that a plant has a foot

  • VanessaC-3
    2/20/2015 - 03:29 p.m.

    As shown on the picture above the plant does not even look like a plant. Even though, it states that it would be a creepy plant or a cool plant from its type of species from where it came from. That it makes it very creepy that it would look like something else that I cant even describe as it being a thing of some kind of plant or some kind of specie of an animal. By that it is a very odd question to ask that I would choose neither to say but maybe it being very creepy, odd, and unknown.

  • alanc-Cut
    3/31/2015 - 11:03 a.m.

    can that can kill a little animal it is creepy to look at.

  • annabel1226-yyca
    5/04/2015 - 08:52 p.m.

    I think that plant is creepy. So are they really rabbits feet. Are they dangerous are they gross?I have a lot of questions for this plant. Are they new species for the plant family.

    Critical thinking challenge: Name two things that rabbit's foot ferns have in common with rabbits.
    Answer: Fur and they need water to drink also air to breathe.

  • Tiffany0307-yyca
    5/28/2015 - 07:24 p.m.

    That plant looks kind of weird and creepy because it looks like the plant has fur. The name and something about the plant has to do something with rabbit feet or something, because the article said that and explained a little bit of that. Is it actually true that the plant does have to do something with rabbits or their feet?! If it is, then that is a scary plant, and nobody would really like to take care of it, unless there is someone willing to.

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