Is It Hard To Grow Horsetail Plants?

Last year, I saw a modern condo complex in Santa Monica, CA, which had planters and windowboxes planted with horsetails. The look was quite unusual, and I liked it! I would like to do the same thing…how are horsetails propagated? Are they perrenial? And, how do you GET the plants? My local florist doesn’t carry them.

Not sure what you mean; the only plant I know with a common name like that is the Horsetail Fern (Equisetum spp.), and I’m pretty certain you wouldn’t see that growing in a windowbox in Santa Monica. Any other information?

Horsetail isn’t something you have to work at to grow. It’s usually regarded as a weed. I’ve gathered them to use as a dietary supplement, (they’re good for your skin & hair) but I wouldn’t want them anywhere near my yard.

Are they perennial? Just try to get rid of them. Although they produce spores under the right conditions, the roots are practically indestructable. If you want to grow them, find some growing by the roadside or whatever, and dig up the roots. Cut 'em up put them where you want them. They’ll take over in no time, and they thrive just about anywhere.

Larry, you’re in Vancouver, I’m in Seattle; what we know as horsetails are not, I think, what they’re growing in Santa Monica windowboxes.

I assume you mean this one.

If so, Larry has it right. Getting rid of horsetail is like getting rid of wild blackberries: Dig out the soil several feet deep, screen out any roots and burn them (some suggest scattering the ashes at sea), sow the ground with salt, and pave over it. Repeat as needed.

That said, they are attractive (in a Mesozoic sort of way), and even useful. In addition to being used as a dietary supplement, you can scrub your pots while camping, and some gardeners dry and crumble them to make barriers against slugs.

lissener, I know it’s counter-intuitive, but people really do it. (Although the horsetail pictured there hasn’t put out its ‘leaves’ yet.)

This site sells cuttings of a variety of Horsetails – it seems that they recommend Tropical Horsetail for windowboxes.

You are right though-- they say of common Horsetail “…due to early dormancy more a botanical than horticultural wonder; never happy containerized.”

Plus, you can go out behind the barn and smoke them.

Quote by Larry Mudd

Many years ago I moved into a rental that had not been landscaped and Horsetail had taken over. I decide to clean the whole lot of the pervasive weed, ( should be noted here that I was young, energetic and didn’t have better sense!) an area of about quarter acre. I got about two thirds of the lot pulled before I noticed that my hands and lower arms were covered with a rash. Darned if I wasn’t allergic to the darn stuff!

A window box or container seems the only place to plant horsetail, you sure wouldn’t want to plant in the ground.