Growing cotton plants have been done by many people in this world especially in India and China. Actually these plant are now globally known on its good products which are very useful in our day to day lives. It is not as difficult as it sounds, with the proper care and attention they can grow successfully in any part of the country.
With this guide you’ll learn how to grow cotton plants in your own home with minimal expenses.
Quick Facts About Cotton Plants
- Scientific name: Gossypium herbaceum
- Type of plant: perennial plant herb
- Native to: Northern States of Americas, Africa, Egypt and India
- Light requirement: Full sunlight is required for maximum photosynthesis
- Water requirement: 6-7 megalitres per hectare
- Preferred humidity: warm and humid climate.
- Preferred temperatures: 70 to 100°F ; warm weather
- Type of native soil: Black
- pH level: 6.0 to 6.5
- Fertilizer: N-P-K 20-10-10 per hectare
- Family: Malvaceae or the mallow family
- Growing season: summer
What exactly is a cotton plant?
Cotton plants are one of the most widely grown crops in the world. They are self pollinating found in almost every country and are grown for their fiber, seeds and oil. Cotton is a member of the family Malvaceae and is part of the genus Gossypium. The word cotton comes from an Arabic word that means “white downy substance.”
Cotton plants are perennial grasses that grow in tropical and subtropical climates. The plants are grown from seeds that are sown into prepared soil beds during the winter months. When the seedlings emerge, they are thinned out so that only one or two plants remain per square yard. The plants grow rapidly and begin producing white flowers in about three weeks. The flowers contain both male and female parts and must be pollinated by insects before they can produce fruit pods containing seeds that can be planted again.
Cotton is one of the most versatile fibers because it can be dyed any color, has a high strength-to-weight ratio, absorbs moisture easily and dries quickly after being washed.
Cultivation and History
The cultivation has a long history dating back thousands of years. Archaeologists have discovered cotton seeds at ancient sites in Peru and Egypt dating back to 3600 BCE (Before Common Era). These early inhabitants used the seeds for food and oil production. In 1500 CE (Common Era), Portuguese traders introduced cultivation to Africa where it thrived in warm climates with plenty of sunlight and good rainfall conditions. By 1604 CE, Venice began importing African-grown textiles into Europe for use as clothing material for wealthy Europeans.
Cotton spread all over America through trade, with the Americas being the sole exporter during most of its history. Europeans brought some to Africa and Asia, but it was not until 1793 that Eli Whitney invented his famous gin machine that made mass production possible for domestic use.
Cotton Plant Varieties
Cotton plants are available in a variety of types. It is a versatile fiber that can be used for clothing, linens, upholstery and other household textiles. The herb can grow cotton in many different climates and soil conditions.
Upland (Gossypium hirsutum)
Upland or American long staple varieties are grown on over 90% of all cropped area in India. They have very long fibres with lengths up to 1½ feet and are suitable for high quality yarns, fabrics and garments. Cotton seed varieties are mainly used for oil extraction purposes, while upland varieties are used for textile purposes. This used to be the standard for commercial growers. The main upland varieties grown in India include American Upland, Pusa Upland and Supima Upland.
Pima (Gossypium barbadense L.)
Pima plants grow up to seven feet tall with large leaves and pink flowers. These herbs have been developed over time so that they have fewer seeds than traditional cottons and produce more lint per acre than other cottons as well as having longer staple length than most cottons except Sea Island white (another long-staple variety).
Sea Island (Gossypium barbadense)
Sea Island is a type that is commonly grown in the Sea Islands, which are off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. It is a long fiber with a softer feel than other types. The herb can be grown in many places around the world but it is most commonly found in the southeastern United States.
Egyptian (Gossypium barbadense)
This is another type of long fiber brown cotton that has been around for centuries. It was originally grown in Egypt but now it can be found throughout Africa and other parts of Asia as well. This also is known for its strength and durability as well as its softness when used to make clothing or bedding materials. It is also used as an industrial material because of its ability to resist wear and tear while still maintaining flexibility over time.
African (Gossypium herbaceum)
This variety is the most widely grown strain in Africa prior to civil war. It is native to West Africa and has been cultivated there for centuries. It is a short-staple variety, meaning that it has short fibers that are easier to spin into thread than long-staple varieties. These heirloom cottons are resistant to pests and diseases and grows well in most environments.
How to Grow Cotton Plant: A Complete Guide
Growing cotton plants is an activity that is only profitable if done properly. A slight deviation from the correct procedure can make all the difference between good crops and bad ones. To make money growing cotton, you will need to have the right knowledge.
Cotton plants are very adaptable to light and temperature conditions. Grow cotton in full sun or partial shade, although the herbs will be smaller with less fiber. The most important aspect of light is that it must be bright and direct, as this encourages photosynthesis.
Grow cotton in both sandy loam soil and clay compost. They do not need much fertilizer or water and they will not tolerate over watering, so it is important to keep your white cotton plant well-irrigated but not overly wet. Your herb should be watered regularly in good soil temperatures, but never let them sit in standing water or get too dry before you water again.
Cotton grows best when it is planted after all danger of frost has passed and when the ground is warm enough for digging. You can grow cotton directly into the ground if you live in an area where there is little chance of frost, but otherwise it is best to start your seeds indoors in larger pot about six weeks before the last expected frost date for your area. Sowing time varies depending on where you live and what type of method you use (direct seeding or transplanting), but most will germinate within five days if they are kept warm enough.
Cotton does not like too much water. Its seeds a lot of water for the first few days after sowing, but after that they do not need much more than an occasional watering unless you are experiencing a drought situation. If you have a rain barrel or other source of water available, you can use this instead of having to go out and water your garden every day or two.
A cotton plant prefer temperatures between 65 F (18 C) to 85 F (29 C). The ideal temperature range for germinating seedling is between 75 F (24 C) and 80 F (27 C).
Pruning cotton plants is done in two stages: early summer and late summer. The first pruning should be done when the herb is about 8 inches tall, right after it begins flowering, but before the bolls begin forming. You should also do some pruning after harvesting your crop, but before growing season sets in.
Pruning can be done using hand shears or an electric hedge trimmer.
A cotton plant seeds should be kept in a cool, dry place. You can store them in the same area as your other potted herb, or you can store them in a separate location. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding or high humidity, you may want to put up some extra protection for your plant.
If you plan on storing your mature plant outside, consider using a tarp or plastic sheeting to protect them from sun and rain damage. You can also use mulch around the base of the plant to help keep moisture in and prevent weeds from growing up around the plant’s roots.
If you plan on storing your herb indoors, it’s best to do so in a cool room with plenty of air circulation. Avoid storing them near heat sources like furnaces or fireplaces because this could cause the plant parts to shrivel up or dry out before they are ready for sowing again next season.
How to Plant Your Cotton seeds
There are several steps to grow this perennial herb. Some steps are required, while others are optional.
Step 1: Choose Your Cotton Variety
The first step to grow cotton is choosing your variety. Most types will grow in the United States, but you should choose one that matches your climate and soil conditions. If you are planting in a greenhouse or other controlled environment, you can also choose specific varieties based on their size, color, and fiber quality.
Step 2: Prepare the Soil and Planting Site
Before you grow cotton plants, it’s important to prepare your soil temperatures properly. This includes tilling the soil surface and adding fertilizer if needed. You can plant your seeds directly into the ground compost in rows after preparing it or start with seedlings from another source such as a green house or garden center. Once planted, water your herb regularly from the pot until it grows large enough to support itself without additional watering or irrigation systems like drip irrigation.
Step 3: Apply Pest Control Products
Before sowing any herb, it’s important to apply any necessary pest control products on the soil pot where they will grow. For example, if you have an insect problem in your garden, treat the companion plants (tomatoes) with an insecticide before sowing anything else so that your new cotton plants don’t get eaten before they have time to grow up and produce cotton bolls!
Step 4: Plant the Seedlings
The next step in planting cotton plants is to bury the seedlings. This is best done in early spring or late summer when the soil has warmed up enough to work with ease. If you plant your seedlings too early, they may rot before they have a chance to germinate.
Step 5: Soak the Seeds
After you have planted your seed, soak them overnight before planting them in your garden space or raised bed. This helps them germinate and mature faster and helps prevent damping off disease from affecting your young herbs before they have a chance to grow roots and leaves.
Step 6: Place the pot in a sunny location indoors, or outdoors.
You can also plant your cotton outside in the long growing season once the ground has warmed up sufficiently.
Tips for Growing Cotton Plants
Cotton plants are relatively easy to maintain once they’ve been established, but there are some secrets you should know before growing them at home.
- Start them from seed indoors. This plant need warmth, so start seed indoors about eight weeks before the last frost date. Place the seedlings 1/2 inch deep in starting mix and keep them at 75 degrees Fahrenheit until they germinate. Then move them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed, but keep them in partial shade until they’re large enough to handle full sun.
- Add Gypsum to the soil. This herb like well-drained soil that’s rich in nutrients. Adding gypsum will help improve drainage in sandy soils while also adding calcium and sulfur — two essential nutrients that your herb needs for healthy growth. Gypsum should be added every two years after planting to ensure proper nutrition levels are maintained throughout the plant’s life cycle.
- Sow the seeds in full sun. Cotton plants grow best in full sunlight. They need at least eight hours of direct sunlight every day to produce high yields of quality fiber.
- Pick the greenest and largest cotton boll for planting next year’s crop. In order to get the best results from your crop, choose an organically-certified seed that was grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. This will help prevent pests and diseases from ruining your harvest!
- Use mulch to keep weeds at bay. Mulching is a great way to keep weed from growing around your cotton plant. The mulch will also help maintain moisture levels in dry soil during the summer months when rainfall may be limited.
How to Harvest Cotton
Harvesting cotton is a manual process that involves cutting the plant, removing the seed and cleaning the lint off the seed. It can be harvested by hand or by machine so you can yield out large quantities.
- Remove all leaves and trash from around each grew cotton. Wear gloves and this must be done carefully so as not to damage any fruit that has already formed on each herb.
- Cut off any remaining foliage at ground level using a sharp knife or pruning shears. All flowers must be removed from around each herb so they will not pollinate themselves before they are ready for harvest.
- Split open/break open or remove the individual bolls from the herb. This is done by pulling on the stalk until it separates from the plant. The boll (looks like a fluffy ball), or pod, must be pulled off carefully so as not to damage it.
- Transport lint from fields using trucks or wagons to cotton gin facilities where it will be processed into bales for shipment around the world.
Pests, Diseases, and Treatment
The plant has a small shallow root system, so it needs support and protection from wind, which can dry out the roots. The grown turmeric is susceptible to several herb pests and diseases that can cause damage or death if not controlled.
Boll weevils are the most serious pest of fluffy cotton. They are about 1/4 inch long and have a dull, grayish-brown body, with a darker head, and two black spots on each wing cover. Eggs are laid singly in the bolls and hatch in 4 to 5 days. Larvae feed on immature seed, but do not damage them. Pupae remain inside the boll until they emerge as adults when eggs are laid. There is one generation per year at low elevations, but several generations at higher elevations.
Treatment: To prevent boll weevil, use insecticides before bolls break open; wait until after bloom and spray when larvae are present only in newly opened bolls.
Basal Stem Rot
Basal stem rot is caused by the fungus Glomerella cingulata. The symptoms include yellow leaves with brown spots on them. The leaves will eventually fall off the herb and the plant may die.
Treatment: To prevent basal stem rot, try planting your crop in raised beds with good drainage and use non-insecticidal soil fumigants such as Metam sodium (Vapam) or 1,3-Dichloropropene (Telone). If you already have symptoms of basal stem rot on your green herbs, remove them immediately and dispose of them properly so they do not spread any disease spores onto other herbs.
A cotton plant is susceptible to fusarium wilt, a fungal disease. Symptoms of the disease include wilting and stunting, which can lead to death if not treated. Fusarium wilt is most common during cool weather when the soil is wet and there is an abundance of nitrogen in the soil. The fungus enters the herb through the roots and spreads throughout the plant’s vascular system before killing it.
Treatment: Rotate crops such as corn or soybeans for three years before replanting again. This will prevent over-fertilization of your soil with nitrogen that could stimulate fungal growth in future years. If you can’t stop the spread anymore, you can check with your local extension office for full assistance.
Best Uses of Cotton Plants
Starting this herb is easy and have many uses. Here are its benefits and some reasons why you might want to grow this perennial herb:
Cotton plants have been used as medicine since ancient times. The fibers were used to make bandages and compresses because they absorb fluids well and don’t stick to wounds like other materials might do. Today, cotton balls are still used as an alternative to gauze or other medical wraps because they won’t stick to wounds and cause problems when removed later on down the line.
Its seed has been used as food since ancient times in India and Africa because they contain large amounts of oil that is rich in protein, carbohydrates and fats. The seed was ground up into flour or boiled in water until they formed a thick paste which was then eaten with other foods like rice or wheat flour pancakes or breads etc.
Cotton is the most widely used natural fiber in clothing because it’s comfortable against the skin and inexpensive to produce. It is often blended with other materials, such as synthetic fibers like polyester or wool, to create a variety of fabrics for different uses.
The plant that we know is actually a shrub. The bark from these yellow herbs is processed into paper. Paper made from cotton is both strong and absorbent, making it perfect for use as napkins, toilet paper, and facial tissue.
How long does it take for cotton to mature?
Cotton plant matures in about 120 days from planting time. They need 90 days or so for the bolls to form on the plants before they can be picked and processed into fiber or thread. The first bolls generally begin forming after 2 months after planting time, so it’s best to plant early so that most of the harvest will come in before long growing season sets in.
Where can I buy cotton seeds?
You can find seeds at your local garden center or online. If you want to save money and avoid shipping costs, shop for them at a local market or grocery store. You can also save money by buying whole bolls at the end of the season and planting them.
Can I eat cotton seeds?
Yes, its seeds are edible and have been used as food for centuries. However, they are not very tasty and can be hard on the digestive system due to their high fiber content.
Why are cotton plants tall?
Cottons are tall because they have long stalks with lots of leaves that need a lot of energy to grow and produce seeds. The leaves make up most of the plant’s weight and surface area, so it makes sense for them to be tall so that there is enough surface area for photosynthesis (the process by which plants convert carbon dioxide into sugars). This is why many other types of plants also have long stalks and leaves – corn, wheat, rice etc.
In summary, a cotton plant makes a great addition to any garden or home. The fiber is soft and melds into a variety of fabrics for clothing, bedding and curtains. It is also a very useful material for many other household items. Growing cotton plants can be both exciting and rewarding once you know the ins-and-outs of basic growing techniques.