Cotton cultivation

Cotton has been used by humans since time immemorial, especially and especially to make blankets and coats to protect themselves from the cold. But also, it is a very interesting plant which is well worth sowing, at least once in your life.

How is cotton growing done?

Cotton has been used by humans since time immemorial, especially and especially to make blankets and coats to protect themselves from the cold. But also, it is a very interesting plant which is well worth sowing, at least once in your life.

The first of all is to get seeds. It is becoming easier to find distributors who sell cotton. That is why your nearest nursery or garden center most likely has, or can get them without problems.

The seedbed (which can be a forest tray, individual pots,… whatever you have more at hand) is prepared in spring, just after the risk of frost has passed. As a substrate you can use a specific one for seedbeds, or a universal one. If you are paid better, but it really is not essential.

We must place it in full sun so that the plants can grow quickly and healthy. If you see that they grow very lanky, with very long and very fine stems, that is an unequivocal sign that they lack light.

To avoid unnecessary risks, once they are 15-20cm tall, they can be planted in large pots, about 45cm in diameter. It may seem a bit exaggerated, but the more substrate the roots have, the more vigorously the plant will grow.

Cotton plants will bloom, if all goes well, in summer. The genus Gossypium has white and yellow flowers, but the shape does not change. Once the flower is pollinated, the capsule begins to form, which once it matures and opens will expose the cotton.

This is a plant that, in addition to having various uses in the textile world, is very ornamental, ideal to have in the garden or in pots.

How to care for a cotton plant?

There are two important keys that will make your cotton plant crops successful, which are the correct condition of the soil where it will be grown and fundamentally taking into account the amount of irrigation it needs.

The cotton plant grows best in soils that show a certain depth and that when irrigated, the water is retained. This has to do with the fact that cotton constantly needs moisture for its proper growth, so clay is often recommended as one of the essential elements for the soil of these crops.

Even when the substrate retains all the water with which you irrigate, it is always better to carry out a constant watering, which provides the right humidity to the soil, without exceeding this and leaving puddles. As you know, there are different ways to water and you can choose any of these, obtaining positive results if the soil is kept moist.


These are the types of irrigation you can choose:

Drip irrigation

This drip irrigation technique is one of the most used in recent times, especially in crops grown in urban areas, and represents one of the best ways to irrigate a cotton crop.

This has to do with the fact that the drip will provide constant humidity, but at the same time controlled. In this way the plant will always have the necessary amount of water, but at the same time it will never form puddles that can harm it.

Furrow irrigation

From the first civilizations and empires to the present day, furrow irrigation is an effective method for the correct irrigation of the cotton plant, but it is also true that you should take some precautions.

In principle, the soil must show a perfect level, so that a quantity of water does not lodge and stagnate in a certain area of ​​the crop, affecting the plants. This technique today can also be expensive.

Sprinkler irrigation

The sprinklers for watering are also a very effective method, since they will even be programmed to water automatically at certain times of the day and the precise and necessary amount for this type of crop. The problem is that a sprinkler system for crops can mean too great an investment, not only in materials, but in labor.


Another of the fundamental factors when it comes to the correct care of cotton plants is to provide them with the nutrients that they need through proper fertilization of their land.

In the same way as with irrigation, the subscriber must be perfectly balanced and present certain minerals that will be essential for its development. One of the most used to fertilize this type of plants is phosphorus.

In general, it is in large commercial cotton plantations that this is used in good proportions, because it gives the plant the necessary strength for a faster and more effective opening of its capsule.

Also, another great nutrient for a cotton plant, as for many other plants, is potassium, which will make these crops grow stronger and healthier and even cause their stems to become taller than if they were not fertilized. It is a plant that requires constant fertilization.

In the event that the adequate fertilizer is not provided, the volume of cotton that will be extracted from each plant will surely be less and the weakening of the plant will be perceived with the naked eye.

When is cotton planted?

It will be in spring the right time to start the cultivation of cotton plants, when temperatures begin to rise and we no longer have records of cold that can affect it in the first part of its growth. We can do this even with the seeds that other crops have left us during the autumn times.

It will be at this time of year when the plant will have an environment conducive to proper development and growth, in a warm and at the same time humid environment that invades your garden in spring times.

In the event that you do not have seeds, you can buy them at any garden store or nursery you can find to start your planting work. You will soak them in water for about a day, and the next day choose those that have sunk in that water. Those that float won’t do you good.

Then we will place the seedbed in a pot, which will be completely filled with earth and then watered, to finish by depositing two or three seeds in each of these seedbeds. This will be covered with a rest of the substrate, and then irrigated again, but this time not with direct water, but rather sprayed.

How long does it take for cotton to grow?

After the initial process of preparing the substrate and seeds for germination, we must wait between a month and a half and two months for us to see the plant for the first time and then we can transfer it to the garden soil or to different pots.

After this, the whole growth process will come, which with the perfect fertilizer will make our cotton plant have grown and be ready for its fiber production in about six months, from the moment you have placed them in seedbeds.

Cotton varieties

Did you know that there is not only one species of cotton that can be planted, but that there are about 40 different types around the world? The cotton plant has different varieties, but it is known that only 4 of these species are those whose fibers can be used commercially.

These are the four varieties that are grown for later sale:

Gossipium arboreum

One of the most used plants for the cultivation and commercialization of cotton in the world comes from Sri Lanka and India, but it is distributed in many other places, among which a large part of the African continent and all of Europe stand out. being one of the most found in the cotton areas of Andalusia.

Gossypium barbadense

This type of cotton plant is native to southern areas, such as South America and even some lands that bathe the Pacific Ocean, but also in its southern part. It is one of the most widely used cottons because it is part of a select group called extra long fiber cottons.

Gossipium herbaceum

Another of the varieties that provides resistant fibers in its cottons and that has its origin in the tropical areas of Africa, although it is also used throughout Spain and Portugal, where it has become a species that grows completely naturally.

Gossypium hirsutum

This species is also native to the Central American area and has become an emblem of the cotton trade throughout this continent, being very popular for being the most widely cultivated variety in the United States. This species represents the absolute majority of cotton production globally.

Different varieties of cotton trees can be found in all the hot and humid areas of the world. These are usually housed in forests that are not found at high altitudes, since they do not resist more than 300 meters above sea level and can reach close to thirty meters in their adult stage.

Without a doubt, the extraction of cotton from these trees is the best use of these trees, although it is known that their wood is widely used for its buoyancy characteristics, to make rafts and aquatic accessories.

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