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
5 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


Scouringrush horsetail
Equisetum hyemale

More Propagation Questions

Propagation and transplanting of Vernonia lindheimeri
April 10, 2007 - I have located a wooly ironweed plant and have taken some seeds to start. This is the only ironweed I have seen. Any suggestions on how to start the seed? Also, if development of the property appea...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Possumhaw Holly from berries in Marble Falls, TX
January 31, 2010 - Any suggestions for getting a Possumhaw Holly to grow from the red berries?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Asclepias tuberosa
June 18, 2012 - Re: Asclepias tuberosa, "butterfly weed" bush -- I have a bed in a mix of Shoal Creek well-drained caliche, soil, and some enrichment of mulch that gets almost full sun and low water. After 4 yrs a...
view the full question and answer

Final size of a Texas mountain laurel
August 11, 2014 - I have purchased a Texas Mountain Laurel. The plant tag says it will grow 25 to 35 feet. LBWF plant data base says 10 to 15 feet. Which data should I go with? It's either plant close but not close to...
view the full question and answer

Blooming but not berrying American bittersweet from Pendleton IN
May 29, 2013 - I have had a bittersweet plant for years, it blooms but not berries. How do I tell if it is male or female so I can buy the opposite? It is currently blooming.
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center