At Zay Zay we’re kind of in love with the cotton plant and we wanted to share the reason why. There’s a small window of time where the cotton flower turns pink. It thrills us as much as ever, and we are still…. tickled pink. We’re sharing this beautiful story with you because let’s face it, you’ve probably never heard of this.
The Egyptian cotton we use (Gossypium barbadense for all you botany nerds) is a self-pollinating shrub, related to the hibiscus. About a month after planting, the first white flower buds (the squares) appear, and then several weeks later, white flowers begin to push through the bracts, which are specialized leaves only used in reproduction.
Now, when the white flowers begin to open, it’s only a matter of time before pollination occurs, and then the magic happens – voilà! The white flower blushes pink! We like to think of this as the “blushing bloom,” and in some varietals, the blush will deepen to a fuchsia, mauve, or purple. How amazing is that?
This blushing pink colour only lasts a day – no more than 36 hours – before the colourful flowers open fully. Within a few hours after that, the cotton boll will begin to form, and the ephemeral petals of the blushing bloom wither and fall to the ground. But what a glorious phenomenon! We love this storybook detail of the cotton plant that adds to our joy in creating Zay Zay bed linens for you.
In case you are on the edge of your seat about what happens next to our beloved cotton plant, about 100-130 days after planting, the boll is now starting to fully form. The boll is a rounded, seed-bearing protective case inside which the cotton fibres grow. This developing boll starts out green, but changes to purple and finally to brown. Five to six months after planting, the cotton is ready to be harvested! The bracts dry and the boll splits open, exposing the cotton as tufts waiting to be plucked.
Cotton plants are perennial, but grown as annuals in commercial planting. The turnover after each harvest helps to prevent disease and keep natural pests like the boll weevil at bay. The shrubs are kept to about four feet in height, but left alone, they can grow up to eleven feet high!
Sharing the story about the reproductive cycle of the cotton plant still remains a delight for us and adds a certain poetic element to the ZayZay quest for the perfect sleeping fabric. We hope you enjoyed learning some interesting facts along the way!
by Tracey Gee