Davallia trichomanoides, or Squirrel's Foot Fern, is an epiphytic fern native to Malaysia, New Guinea and Indonesia. The plant has an interesting habit with furry 3/8-inch (1 cm) rhizomes covered with whitish to brown scales. Leaves will reach up to 1.5 feet (45 cm) long and 1 foot (30 cm) wide. They are fairly easy to grow and make interesting basket subjects.
Culture: Davallia trichomanoides need partial to full shade and require a well-drained potting mixture. In the greenhouse, we use a potting mixture consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part sand to 1 part horticultural charcoal. During the growing season, we water them freely and fertilize them on a monthly basis with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the recommended strength. During the winter months, we water them just enough to keep the rhizomes from shriveling. They are best displayed under potted so that the rhizome grows freely on the outside of the container, re-potting them only when the potting mix begins to breakdown.
Propagation: Davallia trichomanoides are easily propagated by division or layering. They can be propagated from spores, but this is tricky. I have found that milled staghorn peat moss works best for me. The staghorn peat moss is watered with boiling water (reducing competition from fungal spores) and covered until it cools, then spores are sown. We cover these cultures with glass sheets so we can watch them grow.
Davallia trichomanoides was featured as Plant of the Week August 1-7, 2003.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.