En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Why is my Horstail falling over in Austin?

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Thursday - October 14, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Why is my Horstail falling over in Austin?
Answered by: Leslie Uppinghouse

QUESTION:

I have a Horsetail plant. It was doing great but now, for the last few months, its not growing straight! Its falling over. Why?

ANSWER:

There are nine varieties of Equisetum or Horsetail plant in our database. Let's use the species Equisetum hyemale as our example.

Equisetum hyemale (Canuela)

In the wild this plant would grow vertical until the height of the plant reached what weight it could hold upright. As these cylinders are hollow, at a certain point they are going to tip over. If protected from the wind, it can become quite tall. So your plant may have reached its maximum height. However the reason it is falling over is two-fold.

Horsetail reproduces a couple of ways. In the ground, through its rhizomes but it would also try and root at the joint or node of each stalk. In order to do this, it has to fold down and touch either water or ground.

In fact when you are trying to propagate new Horsetail, the easiest way to do this, is to break off a sprig of the reed like plant, make sure that the sprig has multiple sections and lay it on top of some water. New shoots would then pop up from each node along that sprig. This is how it naturally spreads in ponds, creeks and springs.

Equisetum is an interesting plant. It is a little like a fern. If you notice the reed is hollow and jointed with tiny leaves forming a sheath at each joint. Each joint holds spores and it is this action of bending and dropping the spores that helps propagate the plant. So our guess is that your plant is just trying to spread out a bit and our suggestion would be to let it do its thing.

 

From the Image Gallery


Canuela
Equisetum hyemale

More Propagation Questions

germinating Gulf coast penstemon and purple coneflower
June 03, 2011 - I'm interested in propagating gulf coast penstemon (penstemon tenuis) from seed. Do I have to mascerate the 'berries' to remove the pulp from the seed, and do I have to stratify the seed to get th...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Tournefortia volubilis
December 07, 2012 - I am a State Park Host at Estero Llano Grande SP in Weslaco, TX and am looking for information on the Tournefortia volubilis, Googly-eyed vine. I would like to know if there is a best method for propa...
view the full question and answer

Should a bloom stalk be cut down in Yuma AZ?
May 07, 2010 - I have a plant in my front yard that looks like an aloe vera. It doesn't have any thorns or needles but does have a tall stalk like stem coming from the middle of it. The "stalk" is now approx. 5'...
view the full question and answer

Growing grapes from seed in California
April 22, 2008 - Can I grow grapes from seed? If so, what is procedure?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a Texas redbud sapling
July 27, 2008 - I've just discovered a Texas red bud sapling (baby tree)that decided to grow next to our fire pit. Although there's no reason for us to sit around the campfire in 100 degree weather, I would like to...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center