It’s fun to grow different plants, particularly plants that people don’t expect to see growing in your yard or home. So when a friend offered me cotton seeds I couldn’t turn them down. I received 12 white cotton seeds and 12 pastel cotton seeds. Now living in my zone 5 climate these plants need to be planted indoors.
photo credit: cliff1066
Once started the cotton plant is not that hard to care for. I started my seeds in four-inch pots with rich fertilized soil. You can also use regular potting soil but add plant fertilizer to enhance the soil.
Place 4 seeds in each four-inch pot. Water the seeds and place in a sunny area. I often will cover new seeds with a plastic cover to keep in the moisture. It acts like a greenhouse and helps the seeds to sprout quicker. When the seeds begin to sprout remove the plastic so that the plants can breath.
Once the seedlings have begun to grow, leave the healthiest looking seedling to grow in each pot. I remove the smaller ones and repot them. My nephews always enjoy these plants or I will take them to a retirement home for them to grow.
When the plants outgrow their original pots transplant them into 12-inch pots. Usually when the plants are developing their second set of full sized leaves they are ready to be transferred. After you transfer the plants, water them well and add some fertilizer to help with transplants shock. I give the plants a few days with less sun to recover then move them back into a sunny area.
Cotton plants thrive with a typical tomato feed that can be found in most garden centers, nurseries or online stores. The tomato feed is high in nutrients, which benefit the cotton plant.
Water the cotton plants regularly, usually once a week. I grow my cotton plants on my patio and bring them in the fall at night when the temperatures start to cool. Cotton is more of a warm weather crop so if your climate is a cool climate they may benefit from being brought in at night.
When the flowers of the cotton plant begin to die off, the ‘bolls’, which hold the cotton seed, begins to form. Cotton plants that are grown outdoors will drop their bolls at the end of the season when the plant is dying. Indoor cotton plants need to have the bolls picked.
I remember my first time I picked cotton at my cousins farm in Georgia. The cotton took a little getting used to in order to pick it properly without scratching yourself and ripping the boll. But it was a fun adventure and a field of cotton is a pretty site.