How to start cotton from seed indoors

bella_trix(z6b SE PA)February 18, 2009

Hi All,

I just received my cotton seeds and they are absolutely huge!! Plus, covered with fuzzy, green cotton - very pretty. From what I've read, I will need to start these inside to have any hope of seeing cotton bolls by first frost. Does anyone have any hints? How deep do they need to go? Should I try to get the green fuzz off first?

I'm very excited to grow green cotton! I don't really *need* to, but I can't resist it.



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disneynut1977(5b, Sunset zone 42)

I would also be interested in how. I got cotton seeds as an extra of 1 of my orders.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:20PM
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I grew some here in Dover, DE. not a huge crop but a neat crop to grow. started it mid april


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:25PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Start the seeds indoors like melon seeds [in pots]....about 3 or 4 weeks early. In the north only the bottom branches get fully mature.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:29PM
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You need to check with your county extension office to see if it's legal for you to grow cotton without a permit. Believe it or not, some states require a permit and access for inspectors, even for a private garden planting. The reason is to keep the boll weevil out of areas it has not infested and those areas where it has been irradicated. Maybe your area is too cold for the pest and it's ok, but it's best to check.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:34PM
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don't try to get the fuzz off-- just plant them as-is. They are very easy to grow.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 7:55AM
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albertar(z7 LINY)

Germination will be best if you have some sort of bottom heat and after germination put them either in full sun or under grow lights. I've grown cotton here on Long Island, and people thought I was nuts, LOL but its a pretty plant and flowers pretty will turn into a pod and thats where the seeds are. Wait for the pods to turn brown and your new seeds will be ripe. Good luck!


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 9:10AM
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is it edible?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 3:20PM
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Just cover it in chocolate. lol


    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 4:31PM
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Yeah its edible, but it has kind of a dry aftertaste. You should have a nice size beverage nearby while you snack :o)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 5:31PM
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I have grown cotton in SE PA, but the bolls didn't burst. They just plumped and looked nearly ready when we got frost. I started the seeds indoors, but that was a cool, wet summer here. The flowers were really beautiful. I have never seen a boll weevil, I don't think they can overwinter here, especially this past winter, which was very cold in Jan.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 7:58PM
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bella_trix(z6b SE PA)

Chocolate covered cotton - pffftttt!! I think I'll just look at mine. I'm growing them in the garden as an accent to the vegetables, but I've heard they are very pretty, so I might do containers next year.

Thanks, everyone, for the advice!! I looked up the boll weevil eradication plan and it does not extend this far north (nor to the area where the seed was grown).

glorygrown - How early did you start yours inside? Did they get very large or could I grow them for a while under my lights?

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 10:56PM
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It was a few years ago, but I think I started them around the time I started the tomatoes - say early March. I didn't really know what to expect since my husband brought back seeds from a business trip to Texas where he says cotton grows on the fringe by the road like weeds. The plants are large and have lovely pastel flowers. I agree that they liked bottom heat to start(I put them on top of the shoplights till they germinate and go underneath), and I think I might have scarified them since the outsides are so incredibly hard. Why do you want to grow them? For ensured success, you may want to start them now. I'm in Chester County, and I haven't tried to grow cotton since that one experiment.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 9:40PM
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bella_trix(z6b SE PA)

Thank you, glorygrown. I will try starting them this weekend and scarify them. I'm interested in growing cotton because I just found out about colored varieties of cotton. I thought it was only white! I'm either growing Egyptian Green or Seamist Green. I thought they would be vaguely tinted green, but the cotton still on the seeds is an amazing range of deep greens. I'm also interested in seeing what the plant/flowers look like as an ornamental.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 11:30PM
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Bella, I am supposed to have some brown cotton seeds coming from alabama, would you be interested in trading 2 or 3 seeds, green for brown?

I dont know if I would start them this early, they havent started planting yet for the year in the deep south. I started mine last year around april 15 and had a decent little crop down here in Dover
hit me with an email and ill send a pic of last years crop
keithmcgowan at

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 10:30AM
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beth11(z7 southern MD)

Hi All,

I've got cotton seeds, too. I'm going to direct seed them in my garden. Any suggestions on distance between plants? Should I soak the seeds or just nick them (or just plant them)? Internet info is very sparce. I'm in southern Maryland - but we're not part of the boll weevil eradication program.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 9:58AM
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