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How to Grow Cotton Plant

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Perennials, Gosspium Herbaceum

Ready to have some gardening fun!? Grow Cotton plants.

The Cotton Plant will be quite the conversation piece, growing in your flower garden, or in a container on your patio or deck.

Cotton plants are perennials, but almost always grown as annuals.  Growing as an annual, and rotating the crop each year, helps to minimize disease problems. They require a long growing season.

It has pretty yellow flowers appearing about 45 (or so) days after planting. As the flower withers and dies, a seed pod forms, called "bolls". When he bolls mature, they break open, exposing real, fluffy cotton.

Try growing cotton plants indoor, or on your patio or deck. You will need a large container or pot, at least 12 inches in diameter.  

Plant Height: up to 5 feet.


Plant Propagation:

Cotton plants are grown from seeds. Seeds can be directly seeded into your garden, or seeded indoors for transplanting later. Soil temperatures should be warm, prior to planting.

An early, indoor start is required for growing in colder northern regions. Sow seeds 4 - 6 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Cover lightly with 1/4" of fine garden or seed starting soil.

Keep soil temperatures at least 65-70 degrees for sprouting,

For indoor starts, try a seedling germination mat.

Transplant seedlings, only after the temperatures reach at least 65 degrees. Seedlings are sensitive to cold and frost.

Space plants 12" 15" apart.

Days to Germination: 7-14


How to Grow Cotton Plants:

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Grow Cotton plants in full sun, in a rich soil that holds moisture, yet drains well.

These plants are heavy feeders. Mix plenty of compost and manure into your garden prior to planting. Add fertilizer high in potassium, on a regular basis.

Keep the soil moist, not wet, during the growing season. Water deeply.

Harvest cotton from the bolls when they break open.

For indoors, patios and decks:

  • Transplant seedlings into a 12" diameter or larger, pot or container.

  • Place containers in a sunny location.

  • Water regularly.

  • Apply regular weekly applications of a liquid fertilizer for optimum growth.  

Cotton Bolls Mature: 120 - 180 days


Insect and Disease:

Insect can be a problem, especially boll weevils. Apply insecticides, as needed.

Plant disease can occur, especially in wet weather. Plant disease can over winter in the soil. Make certain to rotate crops.

Use a general purpose fungicide in humid weather, and when problems appear.


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