How to grow cotton: from the purchase of the cotton plant (where to find it, sale of the cotton plant or seeds) to the care to be devoted to this particularcultivation.
Growing cottonat home or in the garden it is a very simple operation. Did you know that cotton, besides being one of the plants more grown for textile use, it is also a beautiful one ornamental plant from cultivate, in our climate, likeplant annual? Let's see in detail thecharacteristics of the cotton plant, where to buy it and how to grow it.
Cotton plant, characteristics
Thecotton, Gossypium, is a shrubby plant of the Malvaceae family. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and America. Therecotton plantit is now also cultivated in Europe but, since it is a tropical plant that requires a warm climate, those who live in the north of Italy will have to cultivate it as an annual plant, as happens with chilli plants.
In its natural habitat, thecotton plantreaches 150 cm in height. Plants ofcotton(genus Gossypium) the most cultivated species for the production of textile fiber are Gossypium barbadense, Gossypium arboreum, Gossypium harbeceum and Gossypium hirsutum.
Therecotton plantreaches a height of 150 cm, its dimensions make it ideal for creating colored wings or for growing in isolated flower beds. The plant has robust and branched stems, icotton flowersthey can reach a diameter of up to 5 centimeters and are pale yellow.
The most interesting part of thecotton plantit is - of course! - the fruit, which opens at the end of summer with showy tufts of very decorative white cotton wool.
Who intends to start acotton cultivationit may very well start from the seed.
Therecotton plantit needs a very sunny position and a distance of 50-60 cm must be left between one plant and another. It does not require special care other than fertilization and frequent irrigation as I will describe in the paragraph dedicated tohow to grow cottoniswhere to buy seedsof this beautiful plant.
How to grow cotton
Thecotton, like all annual plants, it can be planted in the second half of April, even in Northern Italy, when the risk of late frosts has passed. In this period, it is possible cultivate the cotton plantstarting from the cotton seed, sowing in a glass box and then transferring the seedling into a jar.
For planting, a fertile soil must be chosen, but if during the previous autumn or winter you applied the usual basic organic fertilization with mature manure, no other intervention will be necessary.
Conversely, if you have not enriched the soil with mature manure or compost, to support the growth ofcotton plants, you can administer blood dissolved in water to be distributed on the surface of the soil around the plants without exceeding the dosage recommended on the package.
How to sow cotton
Many of you will be wonderingwhere to find the cotton plant… Rather than buying the plant, it is better to start therecotton cultivationfromseed.
THEcottonseedthey are cheap and easier to find, then we will show you where to buy them. First you need to provide information on thesowing.
Theresowingit must take place on soft soil in a protected seedbed starting from February. It's possible sow even in the open field, directly in the garden, but in this case, the sowing periodstarts from March and April, after the danger of late frosts. If you choose thesowing of cotton plantsin the open field, know that it must only take place after a dig: with a hoe or spade, move the first 20 cm of soil trying to make it "tender".
THEcottonseedthey have a medium germinability, therefore sown in excess. From sowing, you will have to wait three months to see medium height shrubs (70 - 80 cm).
Depending on the climate, more or less dense stems will form which will be immediately ready to produceflowers. THEcotton flowersthey are yellow like those in the image above. The flowers will be followed by cotton balls. Or rather, after withering, the fruits which are hard capsules will begin to ripen. Inside these capsules, a lot of hairs will gradually form which, when dense and mature, will make the capsule explode and take on the appearance shown in the photo of the cotton plant you see below.
As the plant grows, the rainfall should be sufficient to ensure the watering of the plant. In the event of a very dry May, it will be necessary to irrigate regularly and continue irrigation throughout the vegetative period.
Cotton seeds are available on the market, in specialized nurseries and in the best-supplied agricultural consortia, the most widespread species is theGossypium herbaceum.If you can't find thecottonseedat the garden centers, you can take advantage of the online purchase. On Amazon, a sachet ofcottonseedyou buy at the price of 4.90 euros with free shipping. For all information on the product mentioned, I refer you tothis Amazon page.