Gossypium hirsutum

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Wild Cotton


Plant Specifics

Size:6-8 ft tall by 5-7 ft wide
Life Span:Short-lived perennial
Flower Color:White
Fruit Color:White
Phenology:Winter dormant
Noted for:Showy flowers, Showy fruits


Recommended Uses:Use as a short-lived "shrub". Dies back with freezing but will re-sprout from the roots. Use as a specimen plant.
Considerations:It is not legal to plant this plant, but the reasons are very dated.

A Florida law was passed in the early 1900s banning the growing of wild cottons, which can attract boll weevils.  The intent was to protect commercial cotton farming.  Methods of agricultural protection are more advanced today, and the native Florida cotton does not grow in the parts of the state where cottons are grown commercially.  However, the law is still on the books. 
Propagation:Can be grown from seed
Availability:Native nurseries, FNPS plant sales, Seed
Light: Full Sun
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Not wet but not extremely dry ----- to ----- Somewhat long very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Not wet but not extremely dry ----- to ----- Somewhat long very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Some tolerance to salty wind but not direct salt spray.
Soil or other substrate:Loam, Sand
Soil pH:





Larval host plant for gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus) butterflies.

Flowers attract bees, flies, thrips, grass hoppers, and beetles, and ants (Kale 2014). 

Native Habitats:Dry sites. Tropical hammock, coastal berm, shell mound. Disturbed area.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


General Comments:

Wild cotton is a rare plant; it needs protection against missuses and protection against removal from natural populations.