Cotton - Knowledgebase Question

Florissant, MO
Question by msz
February 15, 1998
I live in St Louis. Can I grow cotton in this area, enough that I can make a wreath? If so can you please direct me?


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Answer from NGA
February 15, 1998

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You certainly can, though you may have to protect them from frost early/late in the growing season. You can start seeds indoors in pots to get a jump on the season, just as you would with most other garden plants. They require presoaking for better germination (24 hours in tepid water). Plant them about 6 weeks before setting out (a couple of weeks after danger of spring frost has passed). Keep soil moist and place the pots in a warm spot (70F). When they sprout, place them within a couple inches of a growlight tube. Transplant the seedlings into fertile soil in full sun after a period of hardening off. Hardening off is a process of gradually exposing them to the elements and takes about a week. Place them outside for a couple of hours the first day, in a place sheltered from wind and strong sunlight. Increase the time and reduce protection each day, and they should toughen right up!

Plant seedlings 12" apart in full sun in rich, moist, well-drained soil. They need between 100-150 frost-free days to mature, depending on the variety. Native Seeds/SEARCH offers a "short-season" variety, 'Hopi Short-Stapled'. You can request a catalog by calling 520/327-9123. Orders can be faxed to 520/327-5821. Hope this helps!

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