Definitely not a traditional crop for Northern Indiana, yet you can grow cotton in our region with a little extra care. Egyptian Green Cotton is a 115 – 120 day variety, whereas most commercial cotton grown in the south is 150 – 160 day. I am able to get usable cotton fibers, but not in the same volume as you would get in the south. So far I am harvesting about 10% of the bolls before cool weather and frost sets in. The early bolls ( harvested in Sept.) produce viable seed in the north. This opens the possibility for regionalization. Cotton is a beautiful plant and works well in a flower bed or grown in a pot. Egyptian Green Cotton plants grow 5-6″ tall and have green foliage and pink, yellow and white flowers. Not as stunning as the Red Foliated variety but when the bolls finally open, the cotton inside is a gorgeous light green. Below is an example of a cotton bouquet, mixing both Egyptian Green and the Red Foliated. Short lived but stunning!
Start indoors 6-8 weeks before planting outside, after all danger of frost has passed. The cotton can be harvested once the boll splits open and the cotton fibers begin to push their way out. Egyptian Green is an heirloom cotton and has shorter fibers than modern cottons. I believe cotton can play a role in the permaculture/mini farm here in the north, though I doubt it has much commercial potential.