How to Grow and Care for Corn Plants

Written by Samantha Agostino

Corn plants are popular houseplants known for their low maintenance care and resilience.

Dracaenas are adaptable when it comes to lighting and water needs, and can survive without water for several days. 

If you're looking for a vibrantly colored plant that requires little upkeep, the Corn Plant is for you!

Botanical Name:Dracaena fragrans, Sansevieria fragrans
Common Name(s):Corn Plant, False Palm, Happy Plant
Plant TypeEvergreen tree
Place of Origin:Africa
Sun Exposure: Indirect/filtered sun 
Watering Schedule:Every 7-10 days 
Seasonality: Spring through summer
Bloom Time: Year-round 
Toxicity:Unsafe for cats and dogs 

CORN PLANT LIGHT REQUIREMENTS:

Corn plants are like most indoor plants and prefer bright, indirect sunlight. Indirect Sun or Filtered Sun is when sun exposure is being filtered through a sheer curtain or is not able to have the sun's rays directly hit the leaves/flowers of your plant.

You can easily achieve this type of exposure by placing your corn plant roughly 5 feet away from a southern or western-facing window, providing your plant with no more than 1 hour of direct sunlight a day. 

How to Use Artificial Lights With Your Corn Plant:
If you don't have the proper lighting conditions for your corn plant, worry not! Dracaena are adaptable plants and can thrive under artificial grow lights as well.

Be sure not to place the grow lights too close to your plant, as this may cause leaf burn. It's best to position your grow light between 12-24 inches away from the plant. 

CORN PLANT WATER REQUIREMENTS:

Corn plants don't require too much in the way of watering. Water your corn plant every 7 to 10 days, allowing time for the soil to dry out in between.

A good way to determine when to water you plant is by sticking your finger about an inch deep into the top soil; if the top inch of soil is dry it's time to water!

Be conscious of the season too!
- If your corn plant is getting more light than usual, it may need to be watered more frequently.

Rule of (Green) Thumb: It is best to use room temperature, distilled or filtered water for your corn plants! 

CORN PLANT TEMPERATURE REQUIREMENTS:

Corn plants aren't particularly needy in terms of temperature preference. A comfortable temperature range for your plant is between 65°F and 90°F, with the higher side of the range being most preferred.

However, you don't need to worry if you can't provide a hot setting because corn plants will thrive in regular room temperature as well. Generally, if you're comfortable so are they!

How Much Cold Can A Corn Plant Tolerate:
Though corn plants can tolerate below their preferred hot environment, they cannot survive frost! Do not expose your corn plant to anything below 55°F as this may cause damage or even death to the plant! 

CORN PLANT HUMIDITY REQUIREMENTS:

Corn plants prefer average household humidity, between 30-50%. In drier environments, your plant could benefit from some occasional misting. 

Rule of (Green) Thumb: If you notice brown leaf tips, that means the air is too dry. Give your corn plant a misting to add some moisture. 

CORN PLANT SOIL:

Corn plants grow best in a loamy soil mixture. Loamy soil is an acidic soil, equal parts sand, silt, and clay. 

You can use an all-purpose potting mix, which is typically  a 2:1:1 ratio of soil, compost, and perlite, respectively. 

If you choose to put together your own potting mix, make sure it is one that is high in nutrients and retains moisture! 

CORN PLANT FERTILIZER:

Corn plants don't need much in the way of fertilizer. However, a seasonal fertilizer won't hurt!

Use a water soluble fertilizer once in the beginning of spring and again in the beginning of autumn. - Make sure it is diluted by half. 

Rule of (Green) Thumb: Don't over-fertilize your corn plant! It may cause its leaves to burn! 

CORN PLANT REPOTTING:

Corn plants are rather slow-growing plants, so they don't need to be repotted too frequently. You can usually repot your corn plant every 2-3 years, or once its roots have started to crowd the pot.

How To Repot Your Corn Plant:
01. Dig around the base of the plant to remove the loose top soil.

02. Turn the pot on its side and gently remove the plant from the pot. - Be cautious not to tear the root-ball. 

03. Place your corn plant in a larger pot with fresh soil. 

CORN PLANT PROPAGATION:

Propagating a corn plant is quick and easy! The simplest way to propagate your corn plant is via cuttings. 

Cut your corn plant below its leaf line, leaving a few nodes on the stem. You can then plant the cutting in freshly watered soil, or directly in a container of clean water. Once roots have formed, pot your cutting in a more permanent pot. 

CORN PLANT DISEASES & PESTS:

Though the corn plant is resilient, it is not immune to pests and disease. Here are some common problems you may encounter with your corn plant: 

01. Leaf Spots - Leaf spot diseases can include small, water-soaked spots on older leaves of the plant. These spots typically arise near the veins of the leaves and are angular in shape. These lesions quickly turn to a black color. Cut away infected leaves to stop the spread!

02. Thrips - Thrips are tiny insects that may or may not have wings. They are typically brown or black in color, and damage your plant by sucking the nutrients from its leaves. If your plant has a thrips infestation you may notice stunted growth and black spots on its leaves. 

03. Spider Mites - Spider Mites are tiny reddish brown insects that thrive in hot, dry climates. They can usually be found on the underside of leaves, and will resemble extremely small dots. These can cause damage to your plant resulting in leaves curling, fading in color, and/or falling off. 

Rule of (Green) Thumb: You can get rid of most pests by using Neem oil or an insecticidal soap.

CORN PLANT TOXICITY:

Unfortunately, corn plants are toxic to both pets and people. If ingested, the leaves can cause serious digestive issues. It's best to keep these away from your babies and furry friends. 

Download the Flora App for more tips and tricks on how to take care of your Corn Plants!

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