The leaves are smooth and green except at the base where they are a dark reddish brown and scaly. They do not look like a typical fern frond. They grow in clumps because of the walking effect and they do not produce flowers. Walking fern can tolerate wet soil on an occasional basis. They prefer shady and humid areas where they are protected from wind. They are fairly hardy and can tolerate a variety of soil types. They grow well in the eastern part of the US and as far west as Oklahoma and Kansas. It is not unusual for the ferns to be hidden under the snow in the winter waiting for the melt in the spring.
Walking fern is a very attractive plant for wooded rock gardens. They prefer to be near streams and grow on moss-covered rocks and overhangs. They will also grow on sandstone and sometimes on tree trunks. They are often planted for ground cover and because the leaves are evergreen they can be enjoyed all year. Fern enthusiasts will find the walking fern is a beautiful addition to a natural garden with plenty of moss and preferably a tree large enough for shade and protection from the wind.