Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Sunday - July 27, 2008

From: Plano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Cotton plant for yard in Plano
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I wish to plant a specimen cotton plant in my yard - will it grow in Plano, Texas, do you have any tips for maintaining them, and will they survive freezing temperatures?

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care and propagation of plants native to North America. Most agricultural products are non-native, and virtually all of them have been hybridized until they bear little similarity to their native ancestors. Our seed sources, of course, all carry native plants, and would not stock seeds from the hybridized plants. Again, they are produced for commercial use in agriculture and, not only are they extensively treated for disease and insect resistance, but sales are probably in very large amounts. The chance of your finding someone willing to sell you a handful of cotton seeds, untreated, is likely slim to none.

That, however, is not your biggest problem. It is illegal for homeowners to grow cotton where cotton is a cash crop, because of the boll weevil eradication problem. The boll weevil eradication zone runs from Virginia down to Texas, and out to Tennessee and Missouri, especially Texas or Arkansas, where the weevil is still active.

In those areas, some states will issue you a permit if you put up pheromone traps and destroy the crop if you capture a weevil, but some won’t. Although the likelihood of a garden crop becoming a serious threat is small, there is the fear that a homeowner could accidentally create a little safe haven breeding ground that might lead to an outbreak.

And, just in case we haven't discouraged you enough, cotton is a very warm climate crop, it does not like temperatures below 60 deg. It is a tropical perennial, but in Plano, Texas would be an annual.

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Replacement for grass under non-native weeping willow from Yorba Linda CA
April 24, 2012 - What would be a good replacement for the grass currently growing under a weeping willow? Something requiring low maintenance, the problem is with mowing over and around the roots.
view the full question and answer

Shade ground cover under honeysuckle from Wichita KS
February 21, 2012 - Hi! I know this is a bit odd, but I am trying to find a nontoxic, good ground covering plant that can live in the shade while competing with the roots of a whole bunch of honeysuckle. I have a few ide...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for pots for wedding in November
October 03, 2006 - Will any of the plants that are in your big plant sale be flowering in November? I am looking for plants that would do well in pots because I'd like to use them as center pieces at a wedding (in Aus...
view the full question and answer

Native flower bed with part sun
December 05, 2008 - I have recently put in three small flower beds and replaced the hard clay with decent dirt. The site is shaded in the AM but mostly sun in the PM. I would like to plant natives - what can you recommen...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for part shade in Bee Cave TX
June 18, 2013 - Dear Mr Smarty Pants, I am looking for plants that will thrive on my covered porch in 3 tall planters. These are meant to help me block an unattractive view out my living room window, so they must...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.