Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail) is a spreading, evergreen perennial with tall, slender, hollow, bamboo-like stems that make a good vertical accent plant. You can also use it to provide privacy or cover up unsightly areas.
The dark green stems have rough longitudinal ridges and are cylindrical, jointed, and normally unbranched. At each joint, they rise up from the plant rhizomes and are ornamented with a ring of black and ash gray sheath at each node.
During the winter, they are especially attractive and add a lot of interest to a garden.
This non-flowering, seedless plant reproduces via spores, which are enclosed in pine cone-like fruiting heads, 1 in. long, at the ends of the stems (similar to ferns). Its tall, erect stems fit perfectly in a water garden and serve as a nice backdrop for other pond plants. In moist low regions where nothing else will grow, this plant will cover the area well.
Equisetum survives from the Carboniferous period in Europe and North America, making it one of the oldest living vascular plants.
Height and width can be from 2-4 feet and 1-6 feet. If left uncontrolled, this plant will spread rapidly through branched, creeping rhizomes to establish enormous colonies. You can prevent this by planting it in a container.
In fertile, moist to damp soils, it thrives in full sun or part shade. It grows best in constantly moist garden soil, but it can also be planted water up to 4 inches deep.
This plant can be used in a variety of ways. It can be cultivated beside a pond or water garden, in swampy places, or in shallow water. Also works well in containers.
It requires little maintenance, is disease- and pest-free, and gives year-round interest. Equisetum grows quickly and can make even the newest newbie of a gardener feel accomplished.
To improve the appearance, remove any dead or damaged stems. In the spring, propagate by division.
Because its rhizomes extend wide and deep, and any small portion of rhizome left behind might sprout a new plant, Equisetum hyemale can be difficult to dig out once established. Plant in pots at the water’s edge to keep growth contained in water gardens.
Eurasia, Canada, and the United States are all home to this species.