Is this plant cool or creepy?
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: 1130L

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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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Assigned 32 times

  • mattf-Koc
    2/17/2015 - 01:13 a.m.

    I've always loved the outdoors and plants in general. Growing up in California there were many fern like plants, and this just simply reminds me of home. On top of that who wouldn't want a plant named rabbits foot. Rabbits are not only cool but they have soft fur which makes this plant a win win.

  • austinrg-DiB
    2/17/2015 - 02:07 p.m.

    they multiply quickly and is evergreen and has the largest feet, that is what both rabbits and the rabbits foot fern have in common
    also this plant nearly scaired me out of my skin

  • AlbanoJonathan-DiB
    2/18/2015 - 10:54 a.m.

    I thought this article would be intresesting. It was a very boring article about a fern plant,that looks like an animals foot.The article talks about the plant and how tall it can grow.

  • am2000peanut
    2/18/2015 - 01:08 p.m.

    The Rabbits and the rabbit foot ferns have the same interesting feet they also are very easy growing animals. These animals are very cute and they are cool

  • Ashleypatt
    2/18/2015 - 01:37 p.m.

    This article wasn't as interesting as I thought because I thought maybe I would learn more about this kinds of funny looking plants. This plant looks like an animals foot or something creepy. It was kinda cool how you learned how this plant has some things in common with a rabbit.

  • ratiaira
    2/18/2015 - 01:47 p.m.

    just because it looks like a rabbits foot it doesn't matter it is just a bunch of ferns that make it look like it is a rabbits foot but its not i think the plant is cool

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    2/19/2015 - 01:08 p.m.

    These plants are definitely creepy, not cool. The fact that they're actually like rabbits and multiply quickly is also gross because I wouldn't even want one let alone many.

  • Haley Patterson
    2/19/2015 - 02:11 p.m.

    I think that this plant is creepy because you really can't make it out. I would't want this plant in my house. At first glance, it doesn't look like a plant.

  • deondrei-Lam
    2/19/2015 - 03:34 p.m.

    This article is about a weird plant called the "Rabbit fern." This plant looks cool. It's hairy and resembles a foot. It looks like it would be on one of the "Bigfoot" sightings on YouTube or the Internet.

  • coltons-Lam
    2/19/2015 - 04:10 p.m.

    This article is about the rabbit fern. They are so big. The article discusses their habitat in the jungle. People like this plant even though it is a fungus.

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