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How to Grow Cattail from Seed!

Updated: Sep 24

The quick and convenient step by step guide to cattail planting!


Cattails are native to marshes or other locations with shallow water and require similar conditions to grow well in the garden. Cattails work well when they are planted on the shorelines of ponds, in slow-moving streams or in container water gardens. Most cattail varieties can be invasive, so don't plant them unless you are willing to control their spread.


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How to Grow Cattail Seeds!


# 1 | Cover your cattail seeds with water. Soak them for 24 hours, stirring the water occasionally. Strain off the water the following day. Pick out the slender, dark brown seeds from the cottony seed matter. Discard the cotton material. Spread the seeds onto a paper towel to dry while preparing pots for them.


#2 | Fill 2-inch-deep starter pots with a moistened mixture of half seed-starting compost and half coarse sand. Sow two or three cattail seeds in each pot. Press your cattail seeds onto the surface of the compost, then cover them with a 1/4-inch-thick layer of compost and sand.


#3 | Arrange the starter pots on a germination mat inside a cold frame. Set the temperature on the germination mat to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the pots with a clear plastic propagation dome to hold the warmth from the germination mat around the seeds.


#4 | Maintain a constant level of moderate moisture in the compost mixture. Water with a spray bottle rather than a watering can to limit disturbance to the seeds. Check the moisture level in the compost at least twice daily to ensure it never fully dries out.


#5 | Your cattail plants will germinate within two weeks.


#6 | Transplant the cattails into a permanent position in early autumn, preferably after the first rainfall. Plant them 3 feet apart in consistently moist soil. Prune back the leaves by half to force the plant's energy toward root production.






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