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Gossypium spp.

Pronunciation: Gos-sip-ee-um
Family: Malvaceae (mallow family)
Common Name: Cotton, upland cotton
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
  • annual
Height to: 6'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Description: The flowers are quite attractive, about 3 in (7. 5 cm) long, starting out yellow and ageing to purplish pink. The fruit is a capsule about 1. 5 in (3. 75 cm) long containing numerous seeds surrounded by a whitish tomenta (lint and fuzz). The capsule opens at maturity exposing the seeds with their tomenta which is the cotton boll.
Toxic:
  • Yes
Propagation: Cotton is grown from seed planted after all danger of frost has past. For ornamental use in areas with shorter summers, start cotton seeds indoors a few weeks before setting seedlings out in spring
Native to: The original wild upland cotton, gossypium hirsutum, is native to central america, mexico and the caribbean basin, including south florida. Other species used locally for fiber are native to africa, asia and tropical south america. Cotton is grown commercially wherever summers are long and hot, and autumns are relatively dry. Important cotton growing regions include the southern united states, egypt, china, india, brazil, peru, and asia minor.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridatacare: cotton is grown commercially in full sun, but you can grow the plant as an ornamental in partial shade. Cotton plants need adequate moisture during growth, but the crop needs a dry period as the bolls mature so that they do not decay before harvest. In areas that receive less than about 30 in (75 cm) of rain during the growing season, the crop is irrigated. The summertime yellow flowers of upland cotton are showy, looking a lot like its close relative, hibiscus. The white fluffy cotton bolls are uniquely attractive, persisting throughout the winter even after the leaves have fallen. There is no reason this plant shouldn't be provided a spot in the ornamental garden. Kids and grownups too will be excited when they see firsthand where cotton comes from! Swipe a few seeds the next time you pass a cotton field in september and start a couple plants for your border or perennial bed next spring. If you don't like the idea of swiping, you can rescue a lost cotton boll from along the highway between the cotton field and the cotton gin. Several seed companies sell cotton seeds for the home gardener. A small grouping of cotton plants in the flower border will provide pretty yellow flowers in summer, and look especially attractive in winter when the cotton bolls rest like snow on the brown, leafless skeletons.
Located in: Annual
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