Walking fern

Asplenium rhizophyllum

Family: Aspleniaceae
Genus: Asplenium (ass-PLEE-nee-um) (Info)
Species: rhizophyllum (ry-zo-FIL-um) (Info)
Synonym:Camptosorus rhizophyllus



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade

Full Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:



Grown for foliage




Other details:

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Plant is viviparous

From spores

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

New Market, Alabama

Marshall, Arkansas

Bartow, Florida

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Piedmont, Missouri

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Mendenhall, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Viola, Tennessee

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 9, 2013, bonsaiguydw from Mendenhall, PA wrote:

I grew this for several years in a part shade stone wall in which I had deeply inserted a little limestone/marble. It grew and "walked" quite well. Really fun to grow and watch it root! I did paper clip the tips of the leaves to its neighboring dirt slot to assist its rooting. Love this plant. Hope to find it again.


On Mar 31, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Native Ontario, Canada, the central, eastern, and southern part of the United States, inclusing Kansas and Oklahoma (excluding Florida and Louisiana), as well as Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico.

This plant is considered an endangered/threatened species in the states of Michigan, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. It is also listed as exploitably vulnerable in the State of New York.


On Mar 28, 2005, nick89 from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

A very strange and unusual fern. I was at first puzzled by it when I found a wild clump near a limestone spring.
It propagates itself by plantlets at the tips of the fronds. These eventually come in contact with the soil and root, so in a way they "walk" (if you can call it that).


On Oct 3, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

This fern grows in low mats on limestone ledges and boulders, often over a layer of moss. It requires constant humidity and therefore it only survives in natural settings that are in close proximity to rivers and streams or other water sources that constantly humidify the air. Sadly, it has been overcollected in many instances by ignorant persons who think they can grow it at home. It will survive in a terrarium, with extremely careful watering. It spreads by new baby plantlets that arise at the leaf tips, rooting where they touch down. It is always a delight to see large boulders completely covered with this fern, but one needs to appreciate it in it's own specialized habitat.