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

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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

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