Cotton Growing Guide

Gossypium hirsutum


Crop Rotation Group



Rich soil enriched with plenty of compost.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Cannot tolerate frost.


Mix a balanced organic fertilizer into the soil before planting cotton. In midsummer when flowering begins, topdress with more fertilizer or drench with a liquid plant food.


Single Plants: 1' 11" (60cm) each way (minimum)
Rows: 1' 5" (45cm) with 3' 3" (1.00m) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Sow directly when the soil is warm. In cooler climates start seed indoors and transplant out after the last frost, being careful not to disturb the roots. Water very well before planting.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Cotton thrives on heat, but does not respond well to overwatering. In cool climates, grow individual cotton plants in large, dark-colored containers to increase root warmth.


Harvest after bolls split open, during a period of dry weather. Cut cotton on long stems and dry in bunches, like herbs.


Night-flying beetles often chew holes in cotton leaves, but this problem is mostly cosmetic.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Cotton