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 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 of rabbit's foot fern. Taking the basket down off its hook, I see that the plant has other feet 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 because of their lushness and tolerance for relatively dim conditions. In those days, however, homes were cooler and moister, and thus more to the liking of ferns.

Rabbit's foot ferns can tolerate drier and warmer conditions than most other ferns. In their natural habitat, in southeast Asian jungles, these ferns nestle between rocks or in the crotches of trees, rather 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, and thought best 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 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 exuberant growth is striking. Mine started out in a small pot at a western window a couple of autumns ago, and remained demure through its first winter. A slightly larger pot and the brightness of spring then spurred 2-foot-long fronds that threatened to gobble up that corner of the room, or at least push the plant off the windowsill. The plant has since moved again, this time to a large hanging basket where it can freely spread its lush, 2-to-3-foot-long, rippling fronds in all directions.

With such luxuriant growth, you might wonder what I'll do when all the rabbit's feet this plant can muster have bailed out of the pot. That's when I'll make new plants by merely cutting off some pieces of feet with roots attached and pressing 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 (26)
  • HarperChristopher-DiB
    2/13/2015 - 09:25 a.m.

    This plant is creepy and weird It just looks like something that is going to eat you in the face and kill you but it can be harmless

  • MahmoudBeverly-DiB
    2/13/2015 - 12:17 p.m.

    Ferns became popular houseplants during old times because of their lushness and tolerance for relatively dim conditions. In those days, however, homes were cooler and moister, and thus more to the liking of ferns.A 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, and thought best because it is evergreen and has the largest feet. Squirrel's foot fern, incidentally, has red fur.

  • nicholas.jones07
    2/13/2015 - 12:37 p.m.

    I think that the rabbit foot fern is a interesting plat. Any plant that has feet should be studied, but this plant is much more interesting. I would like to get a rabbit foot fern and I also want a squirrel foot fern.

  • jarredc-Koc
    2/15/2015 - 03:31 p.m.

    There are many extraordinary species of plants on our world. These plants are a very special and sought after quality of plant. That they have still survived the fashion of today and accent the various homes of the world is very impressive. These plants may continue to thrive under the care of people who enjoy ferns. They may be one of the few plants that will live to see the next millennium.

  • 9RyanS
    2/15/2015 - 05:14 p.m.

    Date: February 13, 2015
    Date accessed:February 15, 2015
    Response type: Sharing and explaining your thinking
    Article title: Is this plant cool or creepy?

    This is a hairy foot, creeping stem of a rabbits foot fern. I think this is cool because I have never seen anything like it. It is unique in that it hangs and it is hairy foot of a rabbits foot fern. This thing is also cool because it is easy to grow and you can grow it in dim lighting. It is not creepy because it is harmless and it cant hurt you, it is like any other plant but its hairy and grows very cool and looks very awesome, I want one!

  • ShaniaWentz-Ste
    2/15/2015 - 07:05 p.m.

    In my opinion, this plant isn't cool or creepy. It's unique! I'll admit, at first, it looks really gross and hairy. However, no other plant looks like this, which makes it stand out and look gorgeous!

  • jennaw-Koc
    2/16/2015 - 01:36 a.m.

    I think that this plant is creepy. I would not appreciate it if I had found that mock rabbits foot on my plant. Although I did think that this it is interesting that like rabbits, the rabbits foot plant multiplies quickly. I also thought about what he would do once the plant grows out of the pot holder. Lol

  • TaylorHartman-Ste
    2/16/2015 - 01:00 p.m.

    I think that it is pretty weird that this is a type of plant, because I've never heard of it. However, I feel that it is very creepy and I would never want to have this type of plant.

  • raevynj-Koc
    2/16/2015 - 09:29 p.m.

    A furry plant how cool! I think it's cool that there is a plant with hair. Although it's a cool thought the plant does look pretty creepy. It's like a miniature little furry monster!

  • coreyong-Koc
    2/16/2015 - 11:10 p.m.

    A Mexican party isn't complete without a piata, and Melesio Vicente Flores and Cecilia Albarran Gonzalez have spent the last 25 years making high-end versions of the papier-mch figures, which will later be stuffed with candies and broken open with a stick or club.

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