Humata (Davallia) heterophylla: How to Grow the Vining Fern

Humata heterophylla is a beautiful fern with broad leaf-like fronds and a deep emerald color.

Native to SE Asia, it’s a vine-like fern that can happily grow as a terrestrial plant or along branches as an epiphyte.

The leaves are sturdy and have a wonderful ridged texture. I love the fact that you could place this adaptable fern anywhere in a terrarium, and it will thrive!

Humata heterophylla

Where to Buy Humata heterophylla

See the links below to purchase from reputable terrarium plant shops and marketplaces (may include affiliate links). 

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Humata heterophylla Care & Growth

Plant TypeFern, epiphyte, vine
LightingMedium – high indirect light
Temperature65-80°F (18-26°C)
WateringRegular, even moisture
HumidityHigh humidity (60-90%)
GrowthLeaves 1-4 inches


Humata heterophylla grows best under filtered, diffused light. It’s a delicate fern, so try to avoid harsh light and dry conditions.


This fern prefers constant moisture to thrive. If it’s planted terrestrially (i.e. in the substrate) it will do fine in a suitable tropical environment, but if it’s growing epiphytically (on wood or rock) it may need more regular watering.


Though quite a sensitive plant, Humata heterophylla will readily grow in (or on) a range of materials and substrates. It prefers constant moisture for growth, so a tropical substrate that can retain moisture will work best.

Temperature & Humidity

Just like its native lands of SE Asia, Humata heterophylla thrives when it’s grown in warm and humid environments. These conditions are especially important if growing the fern as an epiphyte to ensure it’s getting enough moisture.


Humata heterophylla is a creeping fern that can grow long and narrow. It’s not a particularly fast grower, but in time, it can form a beautiful network across the base and up the sides of a terrarium.


As with most ferns, Humata heterophylla should readily propagate through cuttings. Make sure each cutting has a rhizome with at least 4 leaves attached for best results.

Varieties & Similar Plants

Of the Humata genus of ferns, it’s Humata tyermannii (White Rabbit’s Foot Fern) that is most commonly found in stores and terrariums. It’s famous for its white, fuzzy rhizomes that resemble a rabbit’s foot.

To be honest, Humata heterophylla doesn’t get the attention it deserves yet (which can make it hard to find), but there are many other amazing closed terrarium plants that have a similar vining nature.

Common Problems

You’ll see if your Humata heterophylla is lacking in water by the presence of dry, brown leaves. Misting at the first opportunity will help alleviate the problem. Also, as a vine-like plant with roots located all over the shop, it can be difficult to actually plant properly.