Dracaena fragrans, also known as the corn plant, has been a common ornamental houseplant. It thrives in most indoor settings. Corn plants, native to the African continent and the islands of the Indian Ocean, can grow up to 15 meters tall in the wild. Different leaf types and hues can be found on corn plants. if you have cats or dogs, pass on this plant as dracaena is toxic to both.
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Corn Plant Care
Since corn plants are tropical plants that require climate control, home gardeners typically grow them indoors in large pots. Corn plants grow best in well-lit areas of the house that are shielded from direct sunlight, drafts, and air conditioning and heating vents. Additionally, these plants prefer a humid environment.
Corn plants can be grown outside in the summer if they are placed in a protected, moderately shaded area. Defend them from powerful winds. Once it starts to get down into the 60s F, bring the plant inside.
This plant should be kept close to a window with filtered light for the best indoor environment. If there is insufficient light, the leaves will lose their color variegation and the plant’s growth may be hampered. The plant’s leaves may burn and wilt if they are exposed to direct sunlight. The plant thrives in a shadier area outside.
The ideal potting soil for corn plants is a loose, loamy mixture. Because its roots don’t do well in standing water, make sure the soil has good drainage.
During the growing season, which runs from spring to fall, keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Wintertime requires less watering than late fall. Never, however, let the soil become completely dry. Plant health problems result from excessively moist or dry soil.
Temperature and Humidity
In the range of 60 to 75 F, corn plants thrive. Do not subject them to 50°F or higher temperatures. Make sure to bring your corn plants inside before it gets this hot if you temporarily moved them outside for the summer.
Maintain humidity levels between 40% and 50% to replicate the plant’s natural habitat. Use a humidifier to increase the humidity level for the plant or set the pot on a tray with water and pebbles. Never allow the pot’s bottom to come in contact with water. The leaves can also be regularly misted.
Rich organic soil is preferred by corn plants. Throughout the growing season, apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every two months, and feed sparingly, if at all, during the winter.
Spider mites, thrips, and scale, which are common issues with many houseplants, should be kept an eye out for the plants. You might even see tiny insects scurrying about on the plant as a result of these plants, which can make the leaves appear distorted and diseased. To keep the plant looking its best and prevent pests from establishing a home, regularly wipe the leaves of the plant with a damp cloth.
How To Prune Corn Plants
The lower leaves of the corn plant will start to turn yellow in about two to three years, which is the average lifespan of a leaf. Remove the yellowing leaves as soon as they start to look ugly. Cut the tops of the canes if the plant gets too tall for the area; new leaf buds will develop close to the cut.
How To Propagate Corn Plants
The best times of year to propagate corn plants are in the spring or summer, but if you keep your plants indoors in a room with a controlled climate, you can do so at any time of the year. When the plant begins to tower over your room, that is a great time to start new plants. By removing the top of the original parent plant, you can create another plant. Additionally, top cutting is a nice way to revive the plant’s leaf growth. The most effective method of propagation is top cutting or stem cutting. Here’s how to do it:
1. Both methods of propagation require clean hand pruning shears, water in a jar, a pot, and moist peat moss.
2. If top cutting, cut off the top of the plant just below the leaf line, leaving one node (round, white bumps on the stem). Snip an 8-inch segment of the stem if stem cutting.
3. Submerge the cut end in a clear jar of fresh water, preferably filtered, leaving the other half of the stem exposed. Put it in a warm, mainly sunny area. In addition to some leaf growth at the leaf nodes at the top end, keep an eye out for root growth at the leaf nodes underwater.
4. On account of evaporation, top off the water every few days. Change the water completely every other week to prevent the growth of bacteria or algae.
5. Put the stem’s rooted end in a pot filled with wet peat moss once the roots reach a length of over an inch. Put it in a warm area that gets some sun.
6. You can also place a freshly cut stem cutting in some moist peat moss and wait for new leaves to appear. It will probably root, but unlike the clear jar of water, you can’t see the root development. Rooting the stem in water increases the likelihood of successful propagation. A rooting hormone can be applied to the cutting end to improve the likelihood of soil rooting.
How To Grow Corn Plant From Seed
Soak the seeds for three to five days in water that is at room temperature to improve germination. A small pot of moistened seed starting mix should contain two to three seeds. The seed starting mix should be lightly spread over the seeds. Place the pot on a warm, germinating mat and cover it with transparent plastic wrap. Under a grow light or bright, indirect sunlight, keep the soil’s temperature between 68 and 80 °F. The soil should continue to be just barely moist. The seeds may rot in overly moist soil. Remove the plastic as soon as you see some growth (this could take up to four to six weeks). Once the seedling has two true leaves, plant it with potting soil in a 3-inch pot.
How To Get Corn Plant To Bloom
Although Dracaena fragrans do not consistently bloom, if the right conditions exist and the plant is mature (more than 5 years old), it may bloom one to three times annually. When kept as an indoor plant, the chances of blooming are reduced. The three-foot-long flower stalks emerge from the center of the leaf whorl. The flowers have the appearance of white spike balls, and as their botanical name suggests, they have a sweet fragrance when they bloom. The aroma may have notes of jasmine, lilac, honey, and recently cut grass. Every night as the sun sets for about a month, it blooms. Each bloom fades at midday, which encourages the opening of a new bloom the following evening.
Common Problems With Corn Plant
Once you have the right growing conditions—namely, water, light, and humidity—the corn plant is a simple indoor plant to maintain. Additionally, it dislikes cold temperatures, high heat, and drafty areas. The plant is likely to experience some health issues if any of these conditions are out for an extended period of time.
Dry Leaf Tips
Dry leaf tips and edges can occur on plants that receive insufficient water or excessively dry air. To raise the humidity, add a humidifier or regularly mist the plant. Water the plant more frequently, but avoid letting the soil become flooded. Too much plant food or fluoride in the water can also lead to yellowing tips. To prevent burnt leaf tips, use distilled water.
The corn plant will lose its lower leaves as it grows, leaving a stem that is bare except for a cluster of leaves at the top. Some leaves on young plants might fall off. It takes some time to adjust after the shock of moving to a new home, which is normal.
With your corn plant, care should be taken to keep it away from drafts and direct sun, which can cause dry, brown scorch marks on the leaves.
Although this low-maintenance house plant is forgiving of most mistreatments, be careful not to overwater or overfertilize it. Droopy, yellow leaves are a sign it’s overwatered and may indicate root rot. Never let the plant stand in water, and make sure to use a container with a drainage hole.
Whenever a corn plant gets too tall, cut it back. The stem tip cuttings can be used to multiply the plants if you’d like.
For better growth control, prune it back in the spring or early summer. Any height is suitable for the cane’s termination. Wherever the leaves were cut, new clusters of leaves will grow.
Repot in spring
only when the plant’s roots have filled the container. Since it grows slowly, repotting shouldn’t be necessary more frequently than every three years. This plant prefers to be slightly root-bound, so keep it in a smallish container. Because this plant can become top-heavy, a heavy container will prevent it from toppling. Find out how to repot a houseplant here.
Brown leaf tips
are typically a symptom of low humidity, the soil being too dry or the plant may be getting too much direct sunlight. Remove the plant from the sun’s direct rays by trimming the brown leaf tips. Remember to avoid overwatering while keeping the soil moist.
It is a long-lived house plant, so with proper care, you can enjoy your corn plant for many years.
Sudden Loss Of Leaves
A sudden loss of leaves or root rot may be the result of excessive watering or poor drainage. Make sure the plant’s pot has plenty of drainage holes and that the soil drains well.
Dry Patches On Leaves
Your dracaena plant might develop circular streaks and dry patches on its leaves if you place it in direct sunlight. A less-sunny location should be chosen for the plant.
It has most likely developed soft rot, a bacterial infection with no cure if you notice the bottom half of the plant turning black or smelling bad. The plant will start to appear and smell like it is rotting. The plant cannot be saved; dispose of it.
Types Of Corn Plants
- Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’: The center of the leaves of this variety, which is the most widespread, is bordered by a stripe that is a yellowish lime green color.
- Dracaena fragrans ‘Lindenii’: This variety’s leaves lack a stripe down the middle and instead have yellow edges.
- Dracaena fragrans ‘Victoria’: This variety is very similar to ‘Massangeana’; a yellow stripe runs down the center of its leaves, but it has smaller, wider, and almost triangular leaves. Garden centers hardly ever stock it.
- Dracaena fragrans ‘Lemon Lime’: The leaves of this variety have centers that are gray-green with white-yellow stripes surrounding them.
- Dracaena fragrans ‘Limelight’: Glossy yellow-green leaves of this variety have a maturing lime-green underside.
Are Corn Plants Simple To Maintain?
Once their requirements for climate, sunlight, and water are met, corn plants are simple to care for. Your plant can live for many years if you keep those conditions in place.
How Fast Does A Corn Plant Grow?
The corn plant grows moderately slowly to slowly. When the conditions are not ideal, it may slow down its growth rate because its conditions are frequently difficult to nail correctly.
What Is The Lifespan Of Corn Plants?
Dracaena fragrans can live for many years in ideal circumstances.
What distinguishes a corn plant from sweet corn?
The stalky vegetable that is grown for food, sweet corn, has nothing to do with the corn plant. Only in the name are they comparable.
Should I Repot My Corn Plant?
Your plant’s growth is impeded if the nursery pot is overflowing with roots. Change to a pot that is a few inches larger to give the roots room to spread out and to encourage your plant to grow taller. This process should only be necessary every two to three years.
See our repotting guide for a step-by-step breakdown of the procedure.