How to Grow a Cotton Plant


The cotton plant (Gossypium hirsutum) is a tropical shrub known for its use in textile production. It is an attractive plant with shiny green leaves and large white or yellow flowers. The blooms are followed by seed pods, known as bolls, from which the white tufts commonly associated with the cotton plant later emerge. This plant does best in full sun and well-drained soil. It is hardy in USDA zones 8 to 11 and is grown as an annual or a houseplant in cooler regions.

Step 1

Fill a growing container three-fourths of the way with one part sand and one part loam. Plant three or four seeds and cover them with 1 inch of soil. Water until the soil is very moist, but not soggy.

Step 2

Move the container to a sunny location with temperatures that range from 68 to 72 degrees F. Keep the soil moist at all times, but be careful not to overwater. The seeds will sprout in two to three weeks.

Step 3

Allow the soil to become completely dry to the touch before watering once the seedlings have sprouted. Add enough water to moisten the soil well, but not enough to make it feel wet.

Step 4

Examine the seedlings after they have emerged and pull up all but the healthiest of the plants.

Step 5

Fertilize the plants weekly with liquid fertilizer once they have developed four sets of leaves.

Things You'll Need

  • Growing container
  • Sand
  • Loam
  • Liquid fertilizer


  • Purdue University: Gossypium Hirsutum
  • Plant of the Week: Gossypium Hirsutum---Upland Cotton
  • Plant Cultures: Cotton---Grow It
Keywords: grow cotton plant, plant cotton, cotton plant care, growing cotton, plant cotton seed

About this Author

Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman, and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.