Cattails (Typha latifolia) abound in natural wetlands, but the wildlife-friendly reeds grow gracefully in home landscapes, as well. Use them in bog and water gardens in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10. Cattails tolerate up to 2 feet of standing water but grow in any consistently moist soil. Propagate cattails by dividing the underground tubers or by seed collected in late summer after it has dried completely on the stalk. This is an easy garden project to do with children and a great opportunity to teach them about the importance of wetlands. It's a quick project for busy moms -- sowing the seeds takes no more than 20 minutes.
Fill seed flats with potting soil. Almost any pot can be used, but a standard seed flat that is about 2 inches deep is sufficient for germinating cattails.
Fill plastic trays with 1 inch of water. Use any sort of plastic tray or other flat-bottomed, open container that is big enough to fit the seed flat or pot that you have chosen. Place the seed flats in the trays and wait for the moisture to wick up through the potting soil until it is completely saturated.
Mix one small pinch of seeds with two cups of dry sand in a bowl. Continue mixing until the seeds are thoroughly distributed in the sand. This serves as a medium to spread the tiny seeds evenly in the seed flat.
Spread the mixture of sand and seeds evenly over the soil surface in the seed flat and press firmly into place. Do not cover the seeds with potting soil, as they require light for germination.
Cover the seed flats with clear plastic covers and keep in a warm, sunny location. Optimum germination rates occur in temperatures between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Top off the water level in the plastic trays whenever it dips below 1/2 inch in depth.
After the seedlings germinate, remove the covers and allow them to grow until they are about 2 inches tall. They can then be transplanted to individual pots and allowed to grow for several months before planting in a permanent location.