All of you who are familiar with horsetail and its uses in the garden will quickly realize that the horsetail that is discussed here today has nothing to do with the one that is grown to make plant extracts and infusions both for us and for the garden. Today we are going to another plant that has nothing to do with the one already known. This is a tropical plant that can be grown indoors.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HORSETAIL OR ELEPHANT FOOT PLANT
The horsetail that is normally known for the orchard are those belonging to the genus Equisetum that have nothing to do with the one we expose today in this post. Perhaps it is better known by elephant foot, nolina elephant foot or in English Ponytail, hence the translation of horse tail. It belongs to the Agavaceae family, although there is some other discrepancy regarding its botanical family.
Its origin is located in Central America , mainly Mexico and the south of the United States.
NECK BULGE, ITS MAIN FEATURE
Without a doubt, this is the most surprising and defining morphological characteristic of this species. It is not the only one but there are not so many either. Neck bulge is not at all a fad of nature. It has its function and is the reserve of nutrients and water. It is a species adapted to hot and dry climates with long periods of drought. Since its germination, the trunk does not grow bulky from the beginning. It is widening with the passage of time.
A SLOW GROWING PLANT
This is another characteristic to take into account for its development indoors. Its slow, not very slow growth , makes this species an ideal plant to buy with the desired size, since it takes years to reach its maximum size indoors.
Around 20 years to reach its maximum size indoors. About 1.5-2 m. In its natural habitat it can reach up to the not inconsiderable 10 meters.
ONE OF THE LARGEST SPECIMENS IN THE WORLD IS IN ELCHE
Even though its origin is on the other side of the pond, in Spain we have a truly impressive specimen. He is currently in the outer part of the Rector’s Office of the Miguel Hernández de Elche University, where he was transplanted approximately 4 years ago.
At that time it was about 7 meters tall and weighed 11.5 tons. Its longevity is estimated at 350 years. As you can see, the weight-to-height ratio is absolutely outrageous due to its exaggerated neck bulge.
Specimen located at the Miguel Hernández University of Elche
ELEPHANT FOOT GROW GUIDE AT HOME
With what we have read, it was clear. Warm temp . That of a home is very suitable. It moves in ranges of 18 ºC-28 ºC. It is rare for a home to drop below 18ºC at some point in the year except for rooms to the north and poorly isolated. Below 18 ºC it can withstand it but not very well and with possible damage.
8ºC is considered its minimum critical temperature. Large specimens could tolerate something less but already with external adaptation and greater size.
Inside the house the exposure must be high . It needs hours of sun. During the winter you will receive less in these latitudes but if you have received a good amount during the other seasons, you can adapt to this period of less light.
IRRIGATION AND SUBSCRIBER
The watering should be understaffed . During the winter, very very sporadically. Once a month or less. In summer it will require a little more contribution that will not exceed more than 2 times a month and if it will be very copious in each watering. The subscriber is optional and is not strictly necessary.
If desired, fertilizer can be added with watering for a month or two at most during spring.
It requires a very draining substrate , very similar to that of cacti and similar species. Drainage is the key. Mix equal parts of peat and coarse river sand with some contribution of perlite or vermiculite that helps retain moisture without flooding the substrate.
GENERAL CARE AND POSSIBLE PROBLEMS
The long leaves tend to accumulate dust as happens with kentias or palms. It is advisable from time to time to wipe a damp cloth that, in addition to cleaning the leaves, will provide some environmental humidity that it needs. The sprays are also appreciated for having a somewhat more humid environment, especially in dry indoor climates.
If the leaves turn brown at the tips it may be due to lack or excess of water . It is the most difficult point to control. As a rule, keep in mind that it is always better to sin from a defect than an excess. Going over watering can be accompanied by rotting in the neck and roots.
It can also be due to excessive direct sun. If so, sift some light.