Dividing Equisetum hyemale

We’ve been slowly bringing back blog posts from back in the day and this one has been weirdly popular on the internet even when the pictures disappeared a couple years ago. It’s kind of a lame plant if you don’t keep it contained and well watered. It was super popular with landscape architects here in SF about nine years ago when we first posted about it. Here are a few pics of our horsetail back in Outer Sunset along with instructions on how to divide them from 2010. You pretty much just hack them apart with a decent knife. They’re hard to kill. 

Time to exercise our propagation skills.  One of the easiest propagation methods is division, and Horsetail (Equisetum hyemale) is a great candidate to get divided.  We rescued this Horsetail a couple months ago.  It was abandoned on the curb, waiting for the trashman to pick it up.  Glad we got to it first.

Getting it out of the pot was challenging.  We tipped it upside down, but it did not flop out like we hoped.  We ended up using a couple bamboo sticks and poke them through the drainage holes on the bottom…essentially pushing it out.

Using our (not so good anymore) chef’s knife, we found a good spot to start cutting.

The rootball was dense, and we did not worry ab0ut cutting through major roots.  Horsetail roots are vigorous and will recover quickly.

If you look closely, you can see the last time it was re-potted.  It is that lighter colored square shape dirt in the center of the division.  It also looks like the previous owner used a sandy mix at the bottom.  I can only guess it was for extra drainage, or they did not have enough soil to fill the pot.

Megan stepped in and finished off quartering up this plant.  Each one of these sections would grow well on its own.

The reason we decided to split this into 4 chunks was due to the old putting a circular peg into a square hole.  The original pot was round, the new pots are square.  Good time to mention that you should not plant your Equisetum hyemale directly into the ground.  As Danger Garden has observed, this baby will spread fast, and in many places is as invasive as running bamboo. 

We picked up some good potting soil and filled it up.

After we finished potting up the Horsetail, we gave it a deep watering.  As a lot of plants in the Equisetaceae family…it loves water and can be used in a shallow pond. The stalks can be dried and then used as a cleaning scrubber or even sandpaper.  Probably where another common name is derived, Scouring Rush.

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