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Preserving Cattails

Category Floral
A row of cattails growing in a lake.
Without some type of preservation measures cut cattails will eventually release their seeds sending fluff everywhere. This is a guide about preserving cattails.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
September 16, 2009

Does anyone know how to preserve cattails so they last longer? Thank you.

By pinkrose345 from Otis, OR

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 4, 20132 found this helpful
Best Answer

Preserving cattails for longterm use is not complicated as others have posted. However, whether or not they fall out depends on when you pick them: in the gardening zone I live in (East Tennessee) they must be picked before the end of July or they will ripen and the seeds will burst out. I prefer the thin green ones and they must be picked by early summer. If sprayed with lacquer they will last indefinitely.

Hair spray is good enough and less expensive, since they get dusty (and probably have dust mites and germs inside) and for allergies sake should be thrown out eventually.

Warning: some wetlands in parks and other areas are protected areas and you cannot pick them there - it's illegal. Anyway, it's safer to pick them next to a road right of way because there are fewer snakes, etc.

Reply Was this helpful? 2
September 24, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

Pick them before they reach the bursting stage. Then put them to one side until they dry and then spray with a hair lacquer or clear shellac.

I also use the hairspray on the plumy grasses to keep them from blowing away. They hold up fairly well, except you cannot dust them.

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August 7, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have used a flat laquer for years to preserve the cattails and the leaves. That way they can be dusted. Hair spray works well to keep the cattails intact however, they cannot be dusted.

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September 17, 20090 found this helpful

Hang them upside down for 1-3 weeks to dry.Then use a lacquer hairspray. Enjoy

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July 7, 20160 found this helpful

I have already sprayed freshly cut cattails with cheap hairspray, but would like to spray them with lacquer. Would that be okay

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

September 16, 20090 found this helpful

You mention preserving or drying wild plants. I am interested in how to preserve cattails to keep them from "bursting". I believe years ago I was told that spraying them with hairspray would keep them intact. Do you know it that is true or have any other suggestions?

JoAnn from SD


How to Preserve Cattails

I have been cutting cattails in the fall and have preserved them by using hair spray which must be done right away and have never had them open. I have had them in my home for years. (02/02/2005)

By Mary

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
July 17, 20160 found this helpful

what kind of hair spray and do you spray after they dry?

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December 2, 20160 found this helpful

I've heard after picking put stems in antifreeze this stops them from bursting

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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