How to Dry Cattails


There are a variety of applications for dried cattails (Typha spp. ), one of which is in dry flower arrangements. Cattails with wide leaves, known scientifically as Typha latifolia, may be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 10, whereas cattails with narrow leaves, known scientifically as Typha angustifolia, can be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 to 11. If you want to avoid the seeds from cattails spreading throughout your house, it is important to carefully dry and preserve the plant before utilising it for decorating.

Dry Cattails for Decoration

Cattails are known to produce yellow male flowers and green female flowers during their regular blooming period in the summer months of June and July. According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, the right time to harvest cattails is when the flowers at the top of the spikes have turned brown and you may use shears or scissors to remove the flower stalk. Be careful to choose ones that are in excellent shape, and throw away any flowers that are damaged or infected with a disease. Gather the flowers in the afternoon, after the dew has had time to evaporate.

Before drying flowers, it is best practise to strip them of their leaves first, as a general rule. You are free to remove the leaves of the cattail, but if you do so, you will lose the unique curves and dimensions that they add to your arrangements. According to the recommendations of the Cornell University Cooperative Extension, place the cattails in a vase or jar, and then allow them to dry in an area that is warm, has good ventilation, and low humidity.

When cattails are allowed to dry out, the seed pods often split apart and crumble, leaving behind a fluffy, white substance. If you want to stop this from happening, you may protect the flowers by spraying them with hairspray or an aerosol lacquer.

Tips and Considerations

You may also let the leaves of the cattail dry up and use them to construct mats or baskets. Later in the growing season, when the leaves have fully matured, harvest them. According to the advice of Katie Grove Studios, you should remove the leaves from the stem and clip off the brown tips before putting them flat to dry for up to two weeks. If you do not dry the leaves before weaving with them, your finished basket or mat may end up being misshapen or smaller than it was before the leaves dried out.

Growing conditions for cattails range from full sun to partial shade. They thrive in moist soil and may often be found growing in wetland areas, such as marshes and swamps. They are able to survive in water that is up to 30 centimetres deep. If you decide to plant them, you should proceed with care since they are prone to self-seeding and spreading quickly. You may choose to cultivate these flowers in pots if you want to limit their spread. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, you should be informed that the narrow-leaved cattail is regarded as a harmful plant in some regions, particularly in the Midwestern United States.

Cattail Facts and Uses

There are a wide variety of other uses for cattails outside adornment and weaving. They provide as a home for creatures that live in wetland areas as well as a variety of birds, including marsh wrens. Cattails are used as a source of nesting material by yellow-headed blackbirds as well as red-winged blackbirds.

There are several sections of the plant that may be consumed. Rhizomes should be prepared and peeled in the same manner as potatoes. Rhizomes that have been dried may also be ground into flour. You may collect the shoots in the spring, then cook and consume them in the same manner as you would asparagus. You may boil young flowers and consume them in a way that is comparable to eating corn on the cob. The flowers themselves are also delicious. The leaves themselves are inedible, however the flesh that is attached to the underside of the leaf may be consumed.

According to information provided by Cal State San Marcos, indigenous people in the Americas employed the cattail plant for medical reasons. A cattail poultice was applied to the wound to staunch the bleeding and reduce the rate of mucus production and diarrhoea. The wounds that needed covering were bandaged with the fluffy down.

a pair of pruning shears or scissors

Jar or vase

Hairspray or an aerosol lacquer