Ornamental Cotton

According to 27-1095 the Director of Regulatory and Public Service Programs, Division of Public Service and Agriculture, Clemson University, has the delegated responsibility for the administration and enforcement of the rules, regulations and quarantine of Ornamental Cotton in South Carolina.

Ornamental cotton (27-1098) means cotton of any color planted on any premise for purposes other than commercial production for lint and includes seeds, bolls, potted plants or any portions of the plant being distributed or offered for sale. This term encompasses cotton planted for educational purposes, as a tourist attraction, for retail or wholesale sale as a growing or dried plant, for individual use or for personal satisfaction.

However, the following articles are prohibited from sale or distribution within the state (27-1099 B.):

    1. ornamental cottonseed; and
    2. individual potted specimens of cotton plants.

Ornamental cotton (27-1096) shall not be planted without the prior written approval of the Director. A request for approval will include a brief description of the acreage and the purpose for such planting. The Director will base his decision on:

    1. Location of growing area;
    2. Size of intended planting area;
    3. Pest conditions in the growing area;
    4. Any stipulations or requirements as may be set forth in a compliance agreement between the noncommercial grower and the Director, which the Director determines are necessary for the effectuation of the program.

If you are approved by the Director to grow ornamental cotton you can grow up to 1 acre.

Ornamental cotton (27-1097) shall be assessed at $40.00 per acre or any fractional part thereof. A check for this amount should be mailed to Clemson University Regulatory Services, 511 Westinghouse Rd., Pendleton, SC 29670 by May 1st each year.

We want you to understand that growing ornamental cotton is strongly discouraged due to the risks and costs associated with this practice. The $40.00 per acre fee for ornamental cotton does not approach the cost associated with establishing and monitoring a boll weevil trap throughout the season, and if a weevil outbreak were to occur as a result of failure to fully comply with program requirements, the costs could be measured in the millions.

If you would like to apply for an ornamental cotton permit, you will need to print the Ornamental Cotton Compliance Agreement and send it back to the Department of Plant Industry. Once applications are approved or disapproved you will be notified of your application status. If approved, you will need to send a check for $40.00 to complete the permit.

If you have questions, please contact Dr. Sarah Wilbanks at adams9@clemson.edu.