En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Source for Frostweed plants or seeds from Portland TX
June 23, 2013 - I am looking for somewhere I can buy Frostweed plants or seeds. I live in Portland, TX, but frequent San Antonio and the Hill Country. Can you help me with this?
view the full question and answer

Assuring berries on Viburnum dentatum
October 27, 2008 - I just purchased 2 blue muffin viburnum bushes-I live in Kansas-How many years will it be before they get berries? They are full size(3-4 ft) Do I need to trim them down for winter or just mulch the...
view the full question and answer

Planting time for late October bloom of Cowpen Daisy from Marble Falls, TX
September 18, 2010 - How fast does Cowpen Daisy grow from seed to flower? Do we still have time to plant seed and get flowers by the end of October in order to attract late migrating Monarch Butterflies through the Austi...
view the full question and answer

Starting yucca from seed from Austin
December 24, 2012 - I would like to start a soft leaf yucca recurvifolia from seed. Is that possible? Also, I've looked for seed on dried flower stalks, and I'm not sure that what I'm finding is the seed, and I ...
view the full question and answer

When to plant bluebonnet seed
October 16, 2007 - When do I put out Bluebonnet seed? Do I soak them first? Thank You.
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