There are essentially two varieties of horsetail in the garden: field horsetail and Japanese horsetail. If the first tends to invade the garden spontaneously, the second is grown as an ornamental plant. Very easy to grow, here are the tips for planting and caring for horsetail.


  • Field horsetail or Japanese horsetail?
  • Planting Japanese horsetail
  • Virtues in the garden

Field horsetail or Japanese horsetail?

Horsetail is easily recognizable thanks to the tuft it forms with its thin cylindrical and rigid green stems. Its nodes form black rings.

  • Field horsetail ( Equisetum arvense ), which is also found under the names of common horsetail, Horsetail, Rat’s Tail or Fox’s Tail, is a plant species of the same family as ferns . It measures 20 to 50 cm high. Field horsetail is a perennial that commonly grows in moist places in nature and in gardens. It can quickly become invasive.
    The good news is that it is very useful once macerated. Indeed, horsetail manure is a biological fungicide appreciated by gardeners to fight against diseases of fruit trees and vegetables in the vegetable garden.
field horsetail
Credits: Vaivirga/iStock
  • Japanese horsetail ( Equisetum japonicum ), or winter horsetail, is valued as an ornamental plant for its clean, graphic appearance . Indeed, the Japanese horsetail is distinguished by its filiform silhouette which particularly satisfies lovers of contemporary decoration. This hardy bears negative temperatures down to -20°C . It is one of the trendy plants in decoration that can be found on sale in garden centres.
japanese horsetail
Credit: peangdao/iStock

Planting Japanese horsetail

Japanese horsetail is planted throughout the year in the mildest regions. Because of its great need for water, however, it is best to plant it in the spring or early fall . So choose a location close enough to a water point or in the wettest area of ​​the garden.
Since this species is  semi-aquatic , it can be planted directly with its feet in the water, without being totally submerged. Like the papyrus , it particularly likes an aquatic garden , around a pond or near a pond. Pot culture is also possible with frequent watering.

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Like bamboo, winter horsetail grows fast . Indeed, the Foxtail is a perennial made up of creeping rhizomes that anchor themselves very deeply in the ground. Thanks to its network of roots, it develops independently and can quickly monopolize space. Like bamboo, it produces new vertical stems every year. It is therefore advisable to limit its development from planting using an anti-rhizome barrier, for example. It is also possible to plant it in a metal or terracotta pot directly buried in the ground.

Credits: Anthony Sejourne/iStock
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