In spring two years ago, I planted some cotton seeds from my raw cotton stash. Miraculously some germinated, even more miraculously, one survived to adulthood. I covered the little thing with wire, composted and mulched around it and pretty much left it alone. This summer it produced flowers (which I neglectfully forgot to photograph), then bolls, then more bolls until finally, it died (possibly from sheer exhaustion).
Cotton is , by nature, a short lived perennial plant; it grows and produces for two or three years before completing its life cycle. When it is grown commercially it is treated as an annual and sprayed to kill it off after the first season. In the home garden you can leave it to produce beautiful flowers and cotton bolls for as long as you like.
It has been a while since I have spun cotton, but I couldn’t wait to try my own, home grown cotton on the wheel. It is so satisfying to be able to go from seed to socks all by myself. I don’t know how far my harvest will go, but I do know I will be planting more cotton next year.