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Rough Horsetail

Equisetum hyemale 'var. robustum'

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Rough Horsetail (Equisetum hyemale 'var. robustum') at Fernwood Garden Center

Rough Horsetail foliage

Rough Horsetail foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Rough Horsetail (Equisetum hyemale 'var. robustum') at Fernwood Garden Center

Rough Horsetail

Rough Horsetail

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  3 feet

Spread:  4 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  4a

Other Names:  Scouring Rush


A perfect selection for a boggy area of the landscape or at the edge of a pond; this variety has stockier masses of towering bamboo-like spikes that create a bold vertical effect; makes an excellent backdrop for a water feature; very low maintenance

Ornamental Features

Rough Horsetail's attractive sword-like leaves remain green in color with pointy white spines throughout the season. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Rough Horsetail is a dense herbaceous perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spreading

Rough Horsetail is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Border Edging
  • Bog Gardens

Planting & Growing

Rough Horsetail will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 4 feet. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers to grow in moist to wet soil, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selection of a native North American species. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Massing  Edging  Bog 
Foliage Color  Plant Form 
Ornamental Features