Gossypium herbaceum
Common Name: levant cotton 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Malvaceae
Native Range: Africa, Asia
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: White to yellow and pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy


Winter hardy to USDA zones 9-11 where it grows best in fertile, moist but well-drained soils in full sun. Plants do not tolerate frost. In areas north of USDA Zone 9, it may be grown as an annual. Commercial crops are grown as annuals. Plants seeds in late spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Gossypium herbaceum, commonly called Levant cotton, is a perennial shrub of the mallow family that grows to 6’ tall. It is an Old World or Asiatic cotton with short staple-length fibre that is native to northern Africa, Asia Minor and India. Although it is one of the species that is commercially cultivated as an annual field crop, most of the cotton (in excess of 90%) that is commercially grown in the world today comes from G. hirsutum, a New World species commonly known as upland cotton. Levant cotton needs a long hot summer. Plants feature hairy, broad ovate, 3 to 7 lobed, maple-like leaves with heart-shaped bases and long red-tinged petioles. White to yellow, 5-petaled, hibiscus-like flowers with purple basal spots bloom in summer. Flowers are followed by globular pods known as bolls which split open when ripe to release seeds that are embedded in flossy white cotton fibers. Cotton is picked by hand or by machine (harvesters). Cotton seed oil is obtained from crushed seed.

Genus name comes from the Greek name for cotton.

Specific epithet means herbaceous not woody.


Boll weevils, bollworms, cutworms, armyworms, loopers, cotton aphids, whiteflies and thrips are potential pests. Watch for spidermites. Rots, nematodes and wilts are potential disease problems.


For production of cotton. Species plants are typically not grown as ornamentals.