The season for a little rush

Considering the time of year and the amount of holiday-related happenings that most people are involved in, you might thing that's what the title of my post means -- that I'm short on time getting this post out, or shopping, or doing something in the garden.


But no, I mean it literally, because today's post is about a little rush: Equisetum scirpoides or "dwarf horsetail".

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I never thought I'd be buying plants in the middle of December, but when I made a trip to my local material supply center for a last load of mulch they had several containers of this plant in the office:


Normally I wouldn't have given it a second look, but since I only recently finished building my pond I've been in "pond plant" mode, planning and researching various types of water and bog plants. Seeing the tiny stems, I had to have it!

Although I already have the normal horsetail (or "scouring rush" as it's also called) Equisetum hyemale, this one is much smaller. Here's the dwarf:



and here's the other:



Both of these are quite cold-hardy so will have no problems surviving outdoors this winter, even in a pot. Both are also quite "vigorous", and under the right conditions will quickly spread and take over a bed. Mine will be growing in pots or otherwise contained so that's not a concern -- in fact, I see it as a benefit as I can take divisions and get more plants!

The root system on this plant is very fibrous:


When I used a knife to cut some small divisions, it was like cutting a sponge:



The soil did not fall off at all, which was a bit strange.

I took three divisions, and will experiment with all of them indoors under my lights this winter. One will grow in waterlogged peat, in a small pot with no drainage:


One will grow in peat with drainage, and the other will grow in normal potting mix with drainage:


I'd like to see if there's any difference in the way these grow. I expect they'll all thrive.

I even expect this little piece left over from trimming the divisions to grow:


(This is the sort of thing that keeps me going as a gardener over the winter. If I didn't have little plants like this growing indoors I don't think I'd last until spring.)

The main plant will be spending the winter outdoors, probably next to the full-sized horsetail. Even though I expect it to be fine in the spring, it's nice to have some backup plants growing indoors.


I can't wait to incorporate this little guy into the pond planting in the spring!

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Gerhard Bock  – (December 15, 2011 at 11:24 AM)  

I've never heard of this species before. I love the look and I can see them in a small container water garden. Great find!

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (December 15, 2011 at 12:23 PM)  

I also think they'll be great in the "foreground" of the pond at the edge of the beach, as they only get 8" tall or so.

Christine @ The Gardening Blog  – (December 15, 2011 at 2:27 PM)  

I'll be interested to see the results of the experiment! I can't wait to see the pond once you start planting next year. I think its going to be a show stopper!

PS: The invite from both Barbie & I are very genuine. If not this winter perhaps you'll consider it in the future?

Andrea  – (December 15, 2011 at 7:53 PM)  

They might not be too gorgeous to see with the naked eyes, but when in photos especially those 2 first shots, they look so beautiful and artistic. I love it.

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