Alphabetical Plant Listing

Equisetum fluviatile (Water Horsetail)

Water Horsetail, Smooth Horsetail, Swamp Horsetail, Equisetum fluviatile var. limosum, Equisetum limosum


Equisetum fluviatile (Water Horsetail) is a spreading perennial boasting thick, smooth, hollow, bamboo-like stems. Cylindrical, jointed, the dark green stems display shallow furrows and rounded ridges. Rising up from the plant rhizomes, they are adorned with large black rings accented by thin pink bands. Many stems also have whorls of short ascending and spreading branches, up to 2 in. long (5 cm), with the longest branches on the lower middle of the stem. This non-flowering, seedless plant reproduces by spores (like the ferns), which are contained in pine cone-like fruiting heads, less than 1 in. long (2.5 cm), at the tips of the vegetative stems. The strongly upright stems of this species look great in the water garden and provide a lovely background for other pond plants. Good plant for covering a wet low spot where nothing else will grow. A survivor of Carboniferous Age, Equisetum is probably the most ancient living genus of vascular plants. Water Horsetail has the largest central hollow of the horsetails, with 80% of the stem diameter typically being hollow.

  • Grows up to 2-3 ft. tall (60-90 cm). This plant will spread aggressively by creeping rhizomes to form colonies if not restrained.
  • Performs best in full sun or part shade in moist to wet soils. While it thrives in consistently moist garden soil, it can also be planted in standing water to 3 ft. deep (90 cm).
  • May be grown at the edge of a pond or water garden, in boggy areas, in shallow water.
  • Virtually disease-free, pest-free. Deer resistant.
  • Remove any dead or damaged stems to improve appearance.
  • Propagate by division in spring.
  • Native to North America, central to northern Europe, and central to northern Asia.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 11
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Aquatic Plants, Ornamental Grasses, Perennials
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Alaska, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Rocky Mountains, Montana, Wyoming, Southeast, Virginia, West Virginia
Tolerance Deer, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ponds and Streams, Rain Gardens, Water Gardens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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Victoria Tucholka, Shutterstock, Johndal, Flickr

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 11
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Aquatic Plants, Ornamental Grasses, Perennials
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Water Needs High
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Alaska, Midwest, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Rocky Mountains, Montana, Wyoming, Southeast, Virginia, West Virginia
Tolerance Deer, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Bog Gardens, Ponds and Streams, Rain Gardens, Water Gardens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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