Of the Typhaceae family, common cattail or bulrush or Cooper’s reed, is native to Europe and can grow at very low altitude. Being very resistant to cold and enjoying contact with water, this plant has an average growth rate and reaches a height of 6.5 feet (2 m) by maturity. It is characterized by its bearing of male and female flowers, both of which have a with very long lifespan. Reed cattail grows in many temperate areas of the northern hemisphere.

Also known as Typha latifolia, its scientific name, common cattail is a perennial with long, broad green leaves. Its beautiful flowers are cylindrical spikes that are nicely used as ornament in flower bouquets. In addition to its decorative character, this plant is also prized for its edible parts. Indeed, its roots used in the manufacturing process of flour and its delicious young shoots are cooked or eaten raw in salads. Meanwhile, its flowers are also perfectly suitable for human consumption.

Planting common cattail

In the spring, we proceed to the propagation of common cattail, either by dividing the rhizomes or by sowing. Young seedlings, obtained a few weeks later, easily lend themselves to planting if some minimum requirements are met. Planting common cattail can be done in all seasons but spring is the perfect time period to get the best possible results. Simply make sure that the soil is sufficiently damp, that the earth is rich, and that it is partially or fully exposed to sunlight. The seedlings will be planted by digging a hole at least 4 inches (10 cm) deep. After planting, pack the soil thoroughly around the seedlings. Common cattails like to be planted in baskets in a large basin near a pond. It is recommended to push the root (rhizome) deep into the ground, at a depth of about 12 inches (30 cm), because it is the source of this plant’s vivacity.

Maintenance of common cattail

The common cattail’s flowers appear between June and August. During this period, you can gently collect them so that they are used for decorative purposes. In the spring, the common cattail needs to be pruned by removing dried flowers and overflowing foliage because this type of plant has long and large ribbon-shaped leaves that form a sort of sheath at the base of the stem. It is thus necessary to cut the invasive parts to protect other crops.

Gardening tips for growing common cattail

Very resistant to attacks and diseases, common cattails suffer from the harmful effects of some insects and fungi. To fight against these enemies, the use of insecticides bearing the label “approved for garden use” is necessary. If you intend to drain some unusually wet area, it is advisable to plant large quantities of common cattail. When you are forced to plant on a swampy ground, it is better to do so in baskets, at a depth of less than 12 inches (30 cm), in order to ensure harmonious growth. Planted in a lagoon area, mature common cattails are very useful to purify waste water. Very rich in hydrocarbon and salt, this plant is used to treat heavily polluted environments effectively. Bearing beautiful female flowers cylindrical that often show a silky bud down, common cattail is also a beautiful ornamental plant that can be incorporated either in backyards, on patios or in gardens.

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Published in Aquatic plants by Alexander on 26 Jul 2011