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how to germinate cotton seeds

How to germinate cotton seeds

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.

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,

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:

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.

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.

How to grow Cotton plants, growing cotton from seeds

Growing Your Own Cotton Plants

The cotton plant is by nature a perennial, but is grown as an annual because commercial crops must be turned under each year shortly after harvest to prevent diseases and to help combat the boll weevil. The flower on the plant (1) is very beautiful and is in the hibiscus family. Thus the cotton plant is a nice summer green plant that will flower in late summer and then the cotton “square” (2) appears and finally the boll(3) which takes about a month to develop and bursts open with a white cloud of cotton fiber.

Growing Requirements

Cotton needs to have a long growing season of 120 – 180 days of frost free weather. The soil should be above sixty degrees Fahrenheit
to germinate. Cotton plants like a lot of sunshine and sufficient moisture to wet the roots thoroughly and then allowed to dry. They like occasional fertilizer or to be planted in fairly rich sandy soil. The seeds take from 4 to 15 days to germinate. The beautiful green plant will grow to 3 to 4 feet tall in about 35 -45 day before the first blossoms appear. The flowers will open by midmorning and will drop off in 2 to 3 days. Blossoming will continue 20 to 30 days.

Turning into a boll, the seeds and fiber form within the boll and after about 20 to 35 day it will burst open into a fluffy white cotton ball.

Would you like to see the progress of this amazing plant in your own home? Plant seeds indoors in 3″ peat pots. Keep in a warm, sunny place, turning the pot a little each day. Best to start your plants indoors about 4 weeks prior to putting them outside. Transplant directly into the ground or a large outdoor pot when all danger of frost is over. To transplant, tear off the bottom of the peat pot. Water the plant well for the first few days. Keep in a sunny spot and away from a lot of wind. Make sure the ground is warmed above 60 degrees and put in well tilled loose sandy loamed soil. “

I like to plant cotton into a large pot so I can move it indoors during the winter and put the plant out again next spring. It will last several years if it does not get frost bitten.

Growing Your Own Cotton Plants The cotton plant is by nature a perennial, but is grown as an annual because commercial crops must be turned under each year shortly after harvest to prevent