Eastern Cottonwood

Populus deltoides

Family: Salicaceae (sal-i-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Populus (POP-yoo-lus) (Info)
Species: deltoides (del-TOY-deez) (Info)



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


over 40 ft. (12 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:



Bloom Time:

Mid Spring




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Morrilton, Arkansas

Winsted, Connecticut

Kissimmee, Florida

Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Hinsdale, Illinois

Valparaiso, Indiana

Denison, Iowa

Kingman, Kansas

Benton, Kentucky

Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)

Buffalo, New York

Beach, North Dakota

Belfield, North Dakota

Medora, North Dakota

Columbus, Ohio

Malvern, Pennsylvania

West Newton, Pennsylvania

Christiana, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Irving, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Waxahachie, Texas

Elmwood, Wisconsin

Mc Farland, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 15, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This Eastern Cottonwood is a very common large tree in much of the Midwest USA and found in many parts of the South, a little bit in NY, New England, and edges into southeast Canada a little in bottomlands and fields. It gets too big and is soft wooded and messy, so it is not for the residential landscape. The young trees look similar to aspens. A mature tree is a course, handsome plant. Good for parks and large commercial properties, especially near water. Fast growing of about 4 to 5 feet/year and lives about 100 years The female trees let loose clouds of seed with white silky strands that creates sort of a "snow storm" in May to early June. There are several similar western species in the western US & Canada of which a few photos got into this plant's file.


On Mar 26, 2015, nlafrance3 from Edmonton, AB (Zone 4a) wrote:

Used as shelterbelts for farms in Alberta. They easily reach over 100 feet in southern Alberta and get close in northern Alberta. Hardy to at least zone 2a. Trees can grow huge trunks and have a very commanding appearance. Great for parks. Bad for front yards.


On Jun 12, 2012, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Native to my area and gorgeous. I love when the cotton flies and it's "snowing in June". Their growth habit and crown structure are beautiful.


On Apr 13, 2012, Gardeningman from Kingman, KS (Zone 6b) wrote:

There are thousands of large Cottonwood trees growing throughout Kansas. They are native to this state. These trees are nice to look at and provide great shade. I like the way the leaves rustle together when the wind blows through them, and I even like to watch the cotton blow from them; it looks like it is snowing. However, I have three negatives about this tree that far outweigh the positives. 1) They have weak wood. 2) The cotton may be nice to look at when it blows out of the tree, but it is very messy, especially on lakes and ponds. 3) I am very allergic to them. When the cotton is blowing, my nose is running.


On Aug 23, 2011, cool1234 from MacFarland, WI wrote:

Cottonwoods are one of my favorite trees because they grow to huge sizes plus there are a ton of big ones in McFarland WI.(Not Macfarland WI like they say.) It is a sorry sight to see one get cut down.


On Sep 28, 2010, killdawabbit from Christiana, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have found 2 seedlings this year. No idea where they could have come from. They didn't come up in the best spots for them so I plan to move them to a better location this fall or next spring.
I'm glad to hear all the positive comments. I have always heard them called trash trees. I think they will be beautiful in the right location.


On Dec 19, 2008, wormfood from Lecanto, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I think they'd make great Bonsai trees. I had a bunch of seeds sent to me last winter.


On Oct 19, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Very fast growing for a tree species, this tree in the southern part of Minnesota are frequently the tallest tree around, towering above maple, oak, aspen, etc by tens of feet. The seeds which could rain like crazy during late spring/early summer loves exposed soil - burned area, gopher mounds, dried up temporary ponds are the site of massed seedlings thought they seem to be able to pop up once in a while in dense grasses. They hates the shade like crazy, so if you see one in the forest it meant that the area around it was once open enough to let a seedling reach good size in 5 years or less. They loves to be around water bodies and along the river banks even thought they will grow in dry hilly areas without a shrug. There are many giants in Minnesota that are about 2 to 3 feet in diameter... read more


On Apr 20, 2008, mbhoakct76 from Winsted, CT wrote:

a absolutely beautifull tree, most grow very large as ours towers over all the trees in the neighborhood. But its very messy and has large leaves that equal hours of fall clean up , it also drops tons of "flowers" which are quite ugly and clutter the lawn for weeks, and tons of branches to clean up throughout the summer and fall. It still gets a positive from me though because of its beauty and size.


On Apr 7, 2008, Nikkolb from Smyrna, DE wrote:

I'm sorry to be the first negative comment, but I find this tree to be extremely messy, and not all that attractive. I have 4 mature cottonwoods on my property in Delaware, and I continually have to pick-up masses of twigs. It also develops unsightly suckers both on the branches and roots. We have many other trees on the property, and this one is definitely the ugly-duckling.


On Oct 11, 2007, Populusriver from (Zone 7b) wrote:

The majestic Eastern Cottonwood is my favorite tree. They have many great things I love about them such as the huge open crown they form as they get older, just a tiny breeze will set the leaves which have vertically flat petioles fluttering and brushing together that makes a distinctive whispering or a soft clattering sound like rain in a forest. Children who grew up on prairie farms always remember the sound of the cottonwoods through their windows on summer nights. Also the sight of the glossy leaves dancing in the wind on a hot summer day is amazing. I just love every sight of the Eastern Cottonwood, from the beautiful deltoid leaf shape (hence its species name), to the deep fissured vertical bark patterns, to the massive trunk and crown. Standing under the canopy of a massive 100 ye... read more


On Jul 26, 2007, broncbuster from Waxahachie, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I'm so happy to see that there are no negatives about this tree! All I here from the folks at the nursery is how cottonwoods are "junk" trees and that I should chop mine down. I will not chop my cottonwood down until the day it dies, and that may be a while yet. Right now it's only about 20' tall but 2 yrs ago, when we bought the house, it was only 12' tall so it's growing like a weed! I, too, love the sound that the wind makes blowing through the leaves, and I also love the tall majestic shape of a mature cottonwood. So, as long as I'm here that tree is safe!


On Sep 3, 2005, trois from Santa Fe, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

Dw and I have always liked Cottonwoods. We have planted several, all of which were health and held their leaves well. There are a couple just down the street from where I live that are about 70 feet tall, and stay lush until frost. This is a well watered area.
We especially like the "surf" sound they make when the wind blows.


On Dec 23, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love the look of Cottonwoods, they are beautiful when they are at their best. However if there is a drought, as there often is, here in Texas, they will start shedding leaves in the middle of summer and it will be like fall, causing you to have to rake at most times of the year. Also, if you end up with a female tree, one that bears cotton, it will disperse the fluffy seed all over the neighborhood and it will look like snow, except that the snow will get sucked into air conditioners and make quite a mess. The males do not have that problem. All that being said, I think that if you don't mind those problems it is a lovely tree, and will be great to have if you have a lot of space and need some quick shade.
We had a beautiful one that I planted as a little seedling. It grew to a... read more


On Dec 22, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Surprise! Another Florida native (upper lefthand side of state).

These prefer moist soils but tolerate drought and dry sites which would explain why there are so many large ones in the plains states.

I think the branch structure on large cottonwood is impressive in winter. You might agree.

They are related to poplars and willows. You can expect vigorous growth and really thirsty roots (looking for pipes).