Broadleaf cattail, also known as common cattail, is a perennial plant normally found in marshes or along canals and other waterways. The leaves are evergreen, and the stalks grow as high as 12 feet, although the average height is seven feet. The entire plant is edible or useful for stuffing mats, making baskets and bedding, among other things. The Broadleaf cattail is easy to grow as long as the plant has plenty of moisture. It can be invasive if not kept in check.
Plant seedlings that will be near a pond or water feature in your landscape in an organic container that will disintegrate into the soil after time. Fill in around the seedling with compost so that it is at the same level it was in the container you purchased it in. If you bought a bare root plant, place in the container so the crown of the plant is level or just below of the compost.
To plant a seedling in a container that will not be going into a pond or water feature, mix one part peat moss to one part compost and fill a container that has no drain holes. Place the plant in the container so the crown of the plant is at or just below the soil.
Place the organic containers containing the cattail in a shallow pan of water. Place in full sun to partial afternoon shade for a week while the roots take hold.
For decorative containers, find a location in your landscape that has full sun to partial shade. This location must also be convenient to water because if the soil dries out, the cattail will die.
Place organic containers on the outer edge of your pond or water feature by burying the container in the soil in shallow water or soil that continually stays wet. The top edge of the container should be level with the soil it is be buried in.
Water decorative containers until the soil is soggy. Water every other day unless it rains. The soil must remain soggy all the time for the plant to survive.
Add a handful of fresh compost to the decorative container after the cattail bloom dies off by mixing it into the soil. Repeat with a handful of compost in the spring.
Cut the roots from new cattails as they come up, as they will multiply rather quickly. They grow from a rhizome that is located three or four inches below the surface of the soil. If you want an entire side of your pond to have cattails, just let them go for a couple of years and then start cutting off the rhizome. Container-held cattails can also scatter seeds, but they will only grow where the soil stays wet.