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Care of a Horsetail Plant

By Sarah Terry ; Updated September 21, 2017

The horsetail plant (Equisetum spp.), also called Scouring Rush or Horsetail Rush, is a water-loving hardy perennial that can resemble bamboo. Horsetail plants are composed of groups of jointed, hollow ¼- to ½-inch-wide stems. They produce cone-like spore bodies but no true leaves, their bright- to dark-green stalks growing up to 4 feet tall. Three kinds of horsetail plants exist: Equisetum hyemale, E. arvense and E. scorpoides. Horsetail plants grow best in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 through 10, tolerating minimum winter temperatures of about 5 degrees F.

Plant your horsetail on the inside edge of a pond, water garden, bog or marshy, wet area that receives full to partial sunlight. Horsetail plants prefer a soil and water pH of 4.5 to 6.5.

Pot your horsetail plant in a 2-gallon container with drainage holes in the bottom and filled with moist all-purpose potting soil. Dig a hole into the edge of the pond, water garden or bog that is the same diameter and depth as the pot.

Place the container into the hole and ensure that water from the surrounding soil can permeate the pot’s drainage holes.

Check the potting soil to ensure that it stays soaking wet. If the water level recedes, water the horsetail plant daily to ensure that the potting soil remains wet.

Prune away old canes or stems from the horsetail plant. The older canes will become dry and turn brown, so you’ll need to remove them to maintain the plant’s appearance and healthy growth.

 

Things You Will Need

  • 2-gallon container
  • All-purpose potting soil
  • Pruning shears

Tips

  • If you're planting horsetails that haven't been growing submerged in water, you'll need to gradually increase the water to acclimate the plants to the wetter environment.
  • You can propagate horsetail plants simply by dividing them into clumps and replanting the divisions.

Warning

  • Avoid planting your horsetails directly into the ground, because these plants can be extremely invasive and difficult to control. Instead, you can keep them potted and sink the pots into the ground.

About the Author

 

Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.