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Who doesn't have at least one piece of clothing in their closet that is made of cotton? The plant that produces this raw material is so interesting that it can also be cultivated as an ornamental plant in this country, for example in the living room.

Fluffy and poisonous: cotton

The facts in profile format

  • Plant family: Mallow family
  • Genus: Gossypium
  • Origin: South Africa, India, South America
  • Growth: upright, up to 2 m high, branched
  • Leaves: alternate, tripartite, hairy
  • flowers: yellow, red or white, in fives
  • Use: Textile industry, oil production, seed cake production, ornamental plant
  • Propagation: self-sowing, sowing
  • Location requirements: sunny to semi-shady, warm and humid
  • Soil requirements: heavy, moist
  • Special features: poisonous

An extremely heat-requiring plant

Although cotton is perennial and can grow into a tree or shrub, it is mostly cultivated as an annual. The culture of this plant requires a suitable climate. It should be warm. The average temperature should not fall below 15 °C. Therefore, cotton is mainly grown in the tropics and subtropics.

Illuminated in more detail from bottom to top

The cotton is between 25 cm and 2 m tall - depending on the species, the prevailing climate and culture. The growth is upright and branched.

The leaves are large, lobed, tripartite and covered with hairs up to 5 cm long. The fivefold, hermaphroditic and radially symmetrical flowers appear in summer. They are mostly yellow and less often white or red in color. They are very similar to hibiscus flowers.

The capsule fruits develop from the flowers. They have 3 to 5 compartments. Inside are the dark brown seeds. When ripe, the capsule bursts open. Then white cotton wool (the seeds with their attached hairs) swells out from the inside. Each seed has between 2,000 and 7,000 seed hairs. The seeds are poisonous.


Cotton is not suitable for large-scale cultivation in this country. If you want to grow a plant for the production of raw materials for the production of textiles, you are better off with the fiber flax.

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