How to Plant Cotton Plants


Cotton plants are tropical perennials that produce the cotton bolls used to make a wide range of textiles and cloth. The cotton plant takes up to 180 days to mature and be ready for harvest, but during that time it blooms in stunning, hibiscus-like blossoms during late summer. The cotton plant seeds can germinate in as little as four days. The boll, which contains the seeds and fibers, forms and about one month later it bursts open to reveal a white, fluffy cotton ball.

Step 1

Select a planting site that's in full sunlight and has some protection from winds. For example, you can plant the cotton plants in a bed or border along the south-facing wall of your house. Plant your cotton plants in the spring, after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to at least 60 degrees.

Step 2

Prepare the planting bed by loosening the soil to a depth of about 6 inches. Mix into the soil bed some coarse sand and organic compost. Cotton plants like nutrient-rich and sandy soil.

Step 3

Dig planting holes for your cotton plants that are 18 inches apart in rows that are spaced 2 to 3 feet apart. Plant the cotton plants at the same depth as they're planted in the nursery containers.

Step 4

Water your cotton plants deeply once each week to wet the roots thoroughly. Allow the top 1 to 2 inches of soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't plant the cotton plants outdoors if you live in a climate that doesn't usually have 120 to 180 days of frost-free weather. Ideally, you should have at least four months out of the year when daytime temperatures rarely drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things You'll Need

  • Pitchfork or tiller
  • Coarse sand
  • Organic compost
  • Trowel
  • Garden hose or watering can
  • Peat pots, 3-inch wide (optional)


  • Plant Cultures: Cotton -- Grow It
  • Grow Your Own Cotton Plants

Who Can Help

  • How a Cotton Plant Grows
Keywords: plant cotton, grow cotton plants, garden cotton plants

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.