Horsetail, Scouring Rush, etc.
Equisetum hyemale L. is the correct and accepted scientific name of this species of Horsetail. It was first described by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
I was given my start of Horsetail by Augustine Taylor of Leland, Mississippi in May of 2010. She had this HUGE Agave americana ssp. protoamericana in her front yard that flowered that summer. A good friend of mine, Kyle Hall, and I stopped in to see it and noticed she also had a lot of Equisetum growing next to the Agave, in the yard and in the ditch. She told me I could have all I wanted… SO, I dug up 9 small plants and brought them home. I first had them in their own pots, but later decided to put them all in one. Knowing how invasive they could be, I left them in the pot. I also knew someday I would move from the mansion and I would want to take them with me. They say a photo is worth a thousand words and I took quite a few of my Equisetum hyemale.
Even though the Equisetum hyemale pretty much grows anywhere all over the world as a perennial, I brought the pot inside for the winter. When people would come for a visit and see the horsetail in the sunroom, they looked at it then at me like I was a little off my rocker. I had a lot of plants which didn’t help. Besides that, I was new to gardening in the south and I had five sunrooms in the mansion.
Once the horsetail was back outside it started sending up new shoots again.
The pot nearly filled up during the summer of 2012 but I just left them alone. I had to tie them up because they started falling over.
<<<<NOW IN MISSOURI>>>>
I sold the mansion to a group who turned it into a really nice bed and breakfast. Dad asked me to move back to the family farm in mid-Missouri so in February 2013 I left Mississippi and headed to Missouri. Mom wasn’t well and dad had also been sick. Dad was 82 at the time and mom was 81. I told him I had a lot of plants and he just said, “yeah”. He is very hard of hearing and I am sure he didn’t realize what was about to happen. I gave up around 200 plants but brought most of my cactus and succulents, Alocasia, and several others with me. Including my Equisetum hyemale…
A good friend of mine, Thomas Hitchcock, helped me move and used his vehicle to pull the trailer. The trip took 8-9 hours and most of the plants were in the trailer and the temp was around 30 degrees all the way. From about Springfield all the way to Windsor was snowing and the closer we got to the farm, the deeper the snow was. When we arrived, Thomas and I first unloaded the plants and took them to the basement. I had no idea what I was going to do with them yet.
The Equisetum stayed in the basement the remainder of the winter. Many of the plants in the pot didn’t make it and I cut the rest all the way back so they could regrow.
Origin: North America and Eurasia
Zones: 4-9 (° F
Size: 24-48” PLUS
Light: Full sun to part shade
Soil: Just about any soil
Water: Average, drought tolerant
Propagation: Don’t worry it will figure it out.
Uses: Depends on you. They even make good houseplants
Concerns: Ummm… Can become very invasive
The Equisetum really started growing…
The plants I had cut back started branching out.
I am kind of running out of words…
By the end of the summer, the pot was nearly full AGAIN.
One thing is for sure, the Equisetum hyemale doesn’t like it in the basement over winter. I decided since I would probably be spending many years here at the farm it may be a good idea to go ahead and put the Horsetail in the ground. Believe me, I knew what could happen and I was very reluctant. But, I did it. I was surprised they didn’t go nuts but they barely spread at all nor did they get very tall.
The winter wasn’t that bad so they made it through their first winter in the ground with no problem. At the time, I didn’t know just how hardy these plants were.
A few new shoots started popping up…
The horsetail was looking very good by June.
Not only do the Equisetum hyemale spread by rhizomes, they also grow these “pods” which burst open and send out spores.
Now it is spreading more…
The winter was fairly mild again and it is already sending up new shoots in April… A LOT!
I ran out of words to say for now so you can just look at the photos… Remember, photos are worth a thousand words.
I should have measured it to see how tall it was here. I would estimate about 5 feet.
HOLY CRAP!!! Now it is really going good!
We have had several fairly mild winters in a row, but this one has been very cold. The Horsetail is all laying down. In cold areas, the Equisetum hyemale is SUPPOSEDLY deciduous, so this winter I was wondering if it may completely die back.
With possibly the coldest part of the winter behind us, the Equisetum hyemale did not die back. How could it be considered deciduous?
By May 31, the Equisetum was sending up new growth… EVERYWHERE it could within 10′ from where it was originally planted.
I will be very honest with you. You have to really like Horsetail and you MUST understand what can happen under the right conditions. To say this is an invasive species is kind of an understatement. As far as I’m concerned, I really like it so I don’t mind it growing freely. I can always make the bed bigger or just mow them off when they come up in the grass.
OK… Ummm… Looking back makes me wonder if I should have kept this plant in pots. 🙂 Well, you can’t look back because the Equisetum hyemale certainly doesn’t. It has been coming up in the right of the bed for a couple of years but now it is coming up in front. So, I have Horsetail as far as 10-15′ from the chicken house. Well, that’s OK. I just mow them off.
It’s a good thing I didn’t plant it in a flower bed by the house.
I hope you enjoyed this page so far and maybe laughing. I know I am. I will probably fill in some interesting information between the photos in time, but for now, you can check out the links below. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. If you are close by and would like some Equisetum hyemale, just let me know in the comments. Be sure to click on “like” below if you have visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂