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

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Monday - November 12, 2012

From: Collierville, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Container Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Planting horsetail indoors from Collierville TN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to plant horsetail indoors. Can it handle the inside? Will it try to go dormant or it that a temperature trigger which means it will not go dormant?

ANSWER:

This is the second time this week we have been asked a question we had not heard before. We get a lot of questions about members of the Equisetum (horsetail) family, but so far they have all involved being used in ponds or wetlands gardens, outdoors. We suggest that you first read our How-To Article on Container Gardening with Native Plants.

There are 3 species of the Equisetum genus native to Tennessee:

Equisetum arvense (Field horsetail) - high water use, sun, part shade or shade

Equisetum hyemale (Canuela) - medium water use, sun, part shade or shade

Equisetum hyemale var. affine (Scouringrush horsetail) - medium water use, sun or part shade

You can follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant, which pretty well tells you all we know about that plant, including sunlight needed, soil moisture, etc. None of them mentioned being grown indoors, but all mentioned that it is best to contain it in a pot with no holes and be watchful that it doesn't creep over the edge. It is very aggressive.

So, we went hunting on the Internet. The first thing we found was this Garden Web Forum on How to Grow Horsetail Indoors.  From e-How.com, here is an article on Horsetail Rush Plants, which does mention growing them in a sunny window or under a bright plant light.

Basically, because we have no personal experience or information on it in our Native Plant Database, you will be experimenting. The plants are all attractive and almost architectural in nature, so we assume it would be worth a try. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Field horsetail
Equisetum arvense

Scouringrush horsetail
Equisetum hyemale

Scouringrush horsetail
Equisetum hyemale var. affine

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