Corn Plant: How To Grow & Care

6 Min Read

Dracaena fragrans (cornstalk dracaena) is a flowering plant native to tropical Africa, blooming in highlands at around 600-2,250 m (1,970-7,380 ft) in height. It also goes by striped dracaena, compact dracaena, and corn plants.


Corn was first cultivated by native Mexicans, some 9,000 years old. They employed many generations of selective breeding to change a wild teosinte grass with little grains into the nutritious Zea mays of today.

Corn Plant

The corn plant (Dracaena fragrans) is a tropical African evergreen tree that has been popular as an inside plant in Europe since the mid-1800s—and in the United States since the early 1900s. It grows slowly from thick canes or stems that generate long, thin leaves that extend upward like corn stalks. They also resemble palm trees because of this emerging pattern, which is why they are frequently referred to as “false palms.” They make lovely houseplants due to their height and narrowness, usually reaching just 4 to 6 feet tall in pots.

Once you’ve set up the proper growing conditions for these plants, they don’t need much attention. Although you can usually put nursery plants inside any time of year, springtime is ideal for establishing new plants. If you have pets of any kind, avoid this plant because it harms both.

Corn Plant Overview

Common Names: False palm, dracaena, and maize plant

Botanical Name: Dracaena fragrans

Family: Asparagaceae

Plant Type: evergreen, broadleaf, perennial herb/tree

Mature Size:15–50 ft. tall, 3–10 ft. wide outdoors; Outdoors, plants can grow up to 6 feet tall;                      container-grown plants can grow up to 6 feet tall.

Sun Exposure:  Partial

Soil Type: Loamy, moist soil that drains well

Soil pH: 6.1 to 6.5 (Acidic)

Bloom Time: Late fall and once more in late spring; night-blooming

Flower Color: White and yellow

Hardiness Zones:10–12 (USDA)

Native Area: Africa (tropics)

Toxicity: Toxic to cats as well as dogs

Types Of Corn Plant

Massangeana:  The most common type has a pale lime-green line along the center of its leaves.

Lindenii:  These leaves feature yellow margins rather than a stripe through the center.

Victoria:  This variation is quite similar to ‘Massangeana’ in that it has a yellow stripe along the middle of its leaves, but it is smaller, broader, and almost triangular. Rarely does it appear in gardens.

Lemon Lime: The leaves of this type have white-yellow stripes around gray-green centers.

Limelight:  This variety features glossy yellow-green leaves that mature to a lighter lime-green color.

Which Season Can You Grow Corn Plant?

For best results, plant maize in late April or early May. If a May freeze doesn’t injure young plants, a mid-April planting date offers a comparable yield when spring arrives early.

How To Grow Corn Plant?

To enhance germination, soak the seeds for three to five days in room-temperature water. In a small container of wet seed starting mix, sprinkle two to three seeds. Lightly coat the seeds with the seed starting mix. Cover the pot with transparent plastic wrap and place it on a warm germination mat. Under a plant grow light or bright, indirect sunlight, keep the soil temperature between 68 and 80 degrees Celsius. The soil has to be maintained somewhat moist. If the soil is excessively damp, the seeds might rot. Remove the plastic after you’ve observed some development (this might take up to four to six weeks). Once the seedling has natural leaves, transplant it into a 3-inch container filled with potting soil.

Corn Plant care

Corn plants usually grow as huge potted plants inside by home gardeners since they are tropical plants that require climate-controlled environments. These plants thrive in bright indoor settings free of direct sunlight, draughts, and air conditioning and heating vents. These plants also prefer high humidity levels.

Summer outdoor planting of maize plants is possible as long as they are placed in a sheltered, somewhat shaded area. Defend them against powerful winds. When the temperature drops into the 60s F, bring the plant indoors.


The lower leaves of the maize plant will begin to yellow in two to three years, which is the natural lifespan of a leaf. Remove the fading leaves as soon as they become unattractive. Cut the tips of the canes if the plant gets too tall for where it is; fresh leaf buds will appear around the cut.


Both procedures need the use of clean hand pruning shears, a jar of water, a container, and wet peat moss.

If head cutting, slice the plant’s top below the leaf line, including one node (round white bumps on the stem). Snip an 8-inch stem portion if stem cutting.

Put the cut end of the stem, with the other half exposed, in an empty jar filled with clean, ideally filtered water. Please place it in a warm, partly sunny location. Keep an eye out for root growth at the leaf nodes underwater and some leaf growth at the top end of the plant.

As the water evaporates, top it up every few days. Change the water altogether every other week to avoid algae and the growth of bacteria.

When the stem’s roots reach a length of more than an inch, pot the bottom end in moist peat moss, keep it in a warm, slightly sunny location.

You may also plant a fresh-cut stem cutting in damp peat moss and wait for new leaf development. It will most certainly root, but unlike the clear jar filled with water, you cannot observe the root development. Propagation is more successful when the stem is embedded in water. To increase the likelihood of developing soil roots, the cutting end can be treated with a rooting hormone.


Growing seeds of maize requires a loose, loamy potting soil mix. To increase the likelihood of developing soil roots, the cutting end can be treated with a rooting hormone.


During the growth season (spring through autumn), keep the soil uniformly wet but not saturated. Reduce watering from late autumn through winter. Never, however, let the soil dry out. Plant health will suffer if the soil is excessively moist or too dry.


Plants made from corn demand soil that is rich in organic matter. Use an equivalent amount of liquid fertilizer every two months throughout the growing season, and feed sparingly, if at all, during the winter.


This plant flourishes in filtered sunshine, so place it near a window. Too little light causes the leaves to lose color variegation and may hinder the plant’s development. UV rays can cause the plant’s leaves to burn and wilt. Outdoors, the plant thrives in a shadier location.

Temperature and humidity

Corn plants thrive in temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid temperatures in the 50s Fahrenheit range. If you temporarily relocated your maize plants outdoors for the summer, return them inside before temperatures hit this level.

Pests And Diseases

Spider mites, thrips, and scale, which are common issues with houseplants, should be kept an eye on the plants. These plants can create damaged and sickly-looking leaves, and you may even detect little insects climbing around on the plant.

Common Problems With Corn Plant

The grain crop is a straightforward indoor plant to care for after the proper water, light, and humidity conditions are established. Additionally, it does not enjoy hot or humid environments or cold temps.

If one or more of these conditions are not satisfied for a lengthy period of time, the plant is likely to experience health issues.

Dry leaf Tips

Plants with little water or arid air may develop dry leaf tips and edges. For more humidity, use a humidifier or spray the plant regularly Increase watering but never let the soil become wet around the plant. Excessive plant-based nourishment or fluoride in the water can also produce yellowing tips. To avoid leaf tip burn, use pure water.

Sudden Loss of Leaves

A large amount of water and a lack of drainage might result in leaf loss or root rot. Ensure that the soil drains effectively and the plant’s container has multiple drainage holes.

Dry Patches On Leaves

These plants could get circular dry patches and streaks on the foliage if you set them in direct sunlight. Move the plant to a more sunny location.

Foul Aroma

If you observe the bottom portion of the plant darkening or smelling bad, it has soft rot, an infectious illness with no cure. The plant will start to appear and smell bad. It is not possible to rescue the plant; dispose of it.


The maize plant is a tall annual grass with a strong, upright stem. The broad, thin leaves are arranged alternately on opposing sides of the stem and have curved borders. The loop that joins the primary axis of the stem is where staminate (male) flowers are created.


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