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Cotton as a House Plant

 
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If we keep trees as a houseplant, why not a cotton bush?  

They don't have to be very large to produce cotton, mine do so at about 2 to 3 feet tall.  The book says they like the same conditions as tomatoes, but I find they like better the same conditions as hot peppers.  The only difference between tomatoes and hot peppers is the peppers and cotton like a lot less water.  

Cotton plants are also a perennial but they do hibernate and lose their leaves at below 10 degrees C and tend to be daylength sensitive which means the flowers won't set if the days are too long.  I bet we could get around this by choosing a different window.

This year, I planted a gross (144) of seeds and have plans to expand my outdoor cotton growing space.  



It would be fun to learn how to grow cotton indoors.

Full disclaimer: As good as I am at growing things in the ground, I am not one of those naturally endowed with the gift of keeping potted plants alive for much longer than a month.  So I may need some help here.

It would be great if anyone wanted to grow cotton along with me.  

In the past, I bought cotton seeds here.  But they don't seem to have any in stock right now.  I've also found some cotton seeds in florist displays and etsy shops.
 
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I say go for it! Cotton is native to where I live, so it makes sense that you compare them more to peppers than tomatoes: they're VERY heat tolerant. Put them in the same climate category as okra, roselle, and moringa. They grow in light and heavy soils here, so there's really not too much to fuss about. They also produce continually if they're kept watered, so it should be lovely in the house. Keep us posted!
 
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I think you must be the only Canadian growing cotton. Did you get enough to make it worth it? I'm going to assume that you're growing a different variety than they would use in the deep south of the US.
 
r ranson
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I've made several towels so far.  I still have a lot of cotton fibre left to spin.  It's very nice to work with.  

For more on my cotton experience: https://permies.com/t/49587/Cotton-Great-White-North

Interesting note: one boll of cotton does about 1.5" of towel


It's just growing it as a houseplant that I'm having trouble with.  I gave some seeds to a friend a couple of years ago and they grew well, but she believed that these require lots of water (because that's what we are told - cotton takes a lot of water) and her plants all died.

Cotton seem to have a lot of roots, so I think I need to make sure the pot is big enough.  
 
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I don't know how much water cotton NEEDS,  but it CAN  grow with quite a bit. I grew mine in my aquaponics last year, and it did better than in the soil the year before. Take that with a grain of salt, my aquaponics gets more sun than my garden.

Do you have enough seed? I don't have a lot, but more than I'll plant. I'd be glad to share.
 
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I really like the idea of growing cotton or linen for fabrics, but I doubt it's something that I'd get around to.  Is there any market for growing linen or cotton for others?
 
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In the fields near me, the farmers rotate corn, soybeans, winter wheat, then cotton, which is planted among the stalks of just harvested wheat straw. It is planted mid May, just a few weeks before the seasonal summer drought. So, at least here, cotton does not need a lot of water. Few farmers here irrigate their crops. The only watering set up I can remember is at the sod farms. For all the new cookie cutter houses going in.

A note, our seasonal drought, is not entirely rain free. But I have noted stretches of six weeks without rain.

 
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For 1 towel, how many plants do you need? And how long does it take you to prepare the cotton, spin it and weave it to get your towel?
 
r ranson
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Depending on the plant (some plants only produced one boll, others over 60), I would guess on the average, one plant does the weft of one towel.  

I'm not really sure how long it took.  If I put the effort in, I could probably card, spin, and weave about a yard of cloth a day with my current skill level.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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That is already a good explanation!

I will also have to look for how much is a yard.... I am a metric person and also º C etc!
Just European....
 
r ranson
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a video about growing cotton in containers

 
r ranson
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From my reading, it looks like the average cotton plant in the field has a root depth of 36".  

I'm thinking about potted plants I keep and quite often the size of the pot is smaller than the normal root growth.  Do you think a two-gallon pot would suffice for growing cotton?  Do you think we could get away with smaller?  

 
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If it's possible to grow cotton as a house plant in Canada ... maybe it's possible too in the Netherlands...
 
r ranson
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The plant I started from seed late last year had a flower this spring as the weather warmed up.
Just one flower
so I 'tickled' it with my finger to get the pollen to travel within the flower.  

Some sources say cotton is an inbreeder (like most tomatoes) and others say it must have two plants to pollinate.

It looks like the boll has set with only one flower, but I did have to play bee to make it work.  

Sweet!  
 
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I'm more interested in growing cotton in a pot for the root... which is a useful midwifery herb.
 
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