How to Dry Cattails


Dried cattails make an attractive addition to floral arrangements. The tall spikes with their velvety sausage-like cylinders add height to arrangements. Cattails grow in marshy areas and can reach 10 feet in height. The brown heads develop from May to July, before bursting in the fall to release thousands of seeds. Animals eat the seeds and use the fluff for nesting material. To preserve cattails, dry them and protect them from shedding their fluff.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shears
  • Vase or bucket
  • Newspaper
  • Hairspray
  • Cut cattails in late summer before they begin to lose their fluff. Use a pair of sharp garden shears to clip the woody stem. Don't cut the stems too short. You can always shorten them later.

  • Strip off any green leaves from the stem. Set the stems upright in a vase or bucket.

  • Spread newspaper on the floor around the area where you'll be working. This will help protect the floor.

  • Spray the cattail heads with hairspray. Apply a thin, even coat. The hairspray helps to seal the cattail and prevent it from coming apart as it dries further.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep cattails out of direct sunlight to prevent fading.
  • Display them out of traffic areas. Brushing against the cattails can damage them, breaking the stems or shattering the heads.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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