Getting married next Aug. I'm in charge of getting two things lined up for the big day; getting all the pheasant feathers I can get this fall and getting cattails for the arrangements.
It took a little searching but I found this info:
"Some plant materials are available only in late summer and fall, such as goldenrod, milkweed pods, dried teasel, water lily seed pods, dried fern fronds, Osage oranges, acorns, sweet gum seed pods, gourds and Indian corn. Cattails can be harvested then, but they last longer indoors if they're collected earlier, before they turn brown.. If you wait until fall to collect them, they're likely to break open and scatter cattail fluff through your house." http://www.baymills.org/newspaper/2004/08-12/081204-news-plantdrying.shtml
"Cattails, however, should be picked when they first turn brown, while flowers are still visible at the top of the spike." http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/BODY_EP004
"After the cattails have dried, which takes up to three weeks in a warm (80 to 85 degree F) environment, spray each seed head (cattail) with a low luster lacquer or hair spray with extra holding power. The lacquer or hair spray will act as a glue and hold the little fuzzies in place. (August/September 2004)" http://www.gardenhotline.com/faq.htm
Doris in VA
I know that it has already been mentioned to cover the cattails with hairspray. Just make sure you cover it HEAVILY!! I have cattails in my house for decorations. After a while (months), it needs resprayed to keep the "fuzzys" from coming out (what a mess!)
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