The Corn Plant, also known as Dracaena, is a beautiful and popular houseplant that has been a favorite among indoor plant enthusiasts for many years.
Its long, sword-shaped leaves in shades of green and yellow, coupled with its tall and elegant stem, make it an eye-catching addition to any room.
Not only is it a visually appealing plant, but it is also known for its air-purifying properties, making it a great choice for those looking to improve indoor air quality.
In this article, we will delve into the details of how to grow and care for the Corn Plant, so you can enjoy its beauty and benefits in your own home.
How to Grow Corn Plant (Dracaena) from Seed?
- Choose high-quality seeds: Purchase Corn Plant seeds from a reputable seller to ensure that you are starting with high-quality seeds.
- Prepare the planting container: Fill a small pot or seed tray with a well-draining potting mix. Moisten the soil with water.
- Sow the seeds: Sow the Corn Plant seeds on top of the soil and cover them lightly with a thin layer of soil. Gently press the soil down to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.
- Provide the right growing conditions: The Corn Plant needs warm temperatures and high humidity to germinate successfully. Keep the planting container in a warm, humid location, such as in a greenhouse or on a heat mat.
- Water regularly: Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Water the seedlings regularly and avoid letting the soil dry out completely.
- Provide adequate light: Once the seeds germinate and the seedlings start to grow, provide them with bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves.
- Transplant the seedlings: When the seedlings have grown to a size that allows them to be handled, transplant them into their own individual pots. Continue to care for the seedlings as you would for mature Corn Plants.
How to Grow Corn Plant (Dracaena) in a Pot?
- Choose the right pot: Select a pot that is at least two inches larger in diameter than the current size of your Corn Plant. Make sure the pot has drainage holes to prevent water from pooling in the soil.
- Add a well-draining potting mix: Fill the pot with a well-draining potting mix. You can also add perlite or sand to improve drainage.
- Plant the Corn Plant: Gently remove the Corn Plant from its current pot and loosen the roots. Place the plant in the new pot and backfill with soil, making sure to keep the soil level consistent with the top of the plant’s root ball.
- Water the plant: Water the Corn Plant thoroughly after transplanting it into the new pot. Make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged.
- Provide adequate light: Corn Plants prefer bright, indirect light. Place the pot in a location that receives bright, indirect light, such as near a window.
- Maintain proper humidity: Corn Plants thrive in humid conditions. To maintain the right humidity level, you can place a tray of water near the pot, mist the leaves regularly, or use a humidifier.
- Fertilize the plant: Feed your Corn Plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season, which is typically spring and summer.
- Prune the plant: To keep your Corn Plant looking neat and tidy, trim back any yellow or brown leaves, and cut back any overly long stems.
How to Propagate Corn Plant (Dracaena)
- Choose a healthy stem: Choose a healthy stem from the Corn Plant that is at least four inches long and has several leaves.
- Cut the stem: Use a clean, sharp knife or scissors to cut the stem just below a node. Nodes are the points where the leaves meet the stem.
- Remove the lower leaves: Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem. This will create a bare stem that can be inserted into soil.
- Dip the stem in rooting hormone: Dip the cut end of the stem into a rooting hormone powder or gel. This will help the stem develop roots.
- Plant the stem: Plant the stem in a well-draining potting mix, making sure to bury it up to the point where the leaves were removed.
- Water the cutting: Water the cutting thoroughly and place it in a warm, humid location, away from direct sunlight.
- Maintain the right conditions: Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged and provide the cutting with bright, indirect light. To maintain the right humidity level, you can place a tray of water near the cutting, mist the leaves regularly, or use a humidifier.
- Wait for roots to develop: Be patient, as it can take several weeks for roots to develop. Once roots have formed, you can transplant the new Corn Plant into its own pot.
How to Prune Corn Plant (Dracaena)
- Assess the plant: Begin by assessing your Corn Plant and identifying the parts that need to be pruned. Look for any yellow or brown leaves, dead stems, or branches that are growing out of place.
- Prepare your tools: Use a clean, sharp pair of pruning shears or scissors to prevent damaging the plant.
- Remove dead or damaged parts: Start by removing any dead or damaged leaves, stems, or branches. Cut as close to the base of the plant as possible to prevent any unsightly stubs.
- Trim back leggy growth: Corn Plants tend to grow tall and leggy, so it’s important to trim back any overly long stems. Cut the stem just above a leaf node to encourage new growth.
- Maintain the desired shape: If you want to maintain a particular shape or size, prune the plant accordingly. Cut back any stems that are growing out of place or are too long.
- Watch for new growth: Once you’ve finished pruning, keep an eye out for new growth. The Corn Plant is a fast-growing plant, so you can expect to see new leaves and stems appearing in no time.
Types of Corn Plant (Dracaena)
- Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’: Also known as the ‘Mass Cane’ or ‘Corn Plant’, this is the most commonly grown variety of Corn Plant. It has long, green leaves with yellow stripes running down the center and can grow up to 6 feet tall.
- Dracaena fragrans ‘Lindenii’: This variety has dark green leaves with white stripes along the edges. It has a more compact growth habit and is slightly smaller than the Mass Cane.
- Dracaena fragrans ‘Victoria’: This variety has green leaves with white or cream-colored stripes. It’s a more compact plant, growing up to 3 feet tall.
- Dracaena fragrans ‘Warneckei’: This variety has narrow, green leaves with white stripes. It’s a slow-growing plant that can reach up to 6 feet tall.
- Dracaena fragrans ‘Janet Craig’: This variety has dark green, shiny leaves that are wider than other varieties. It’s a slow-growing plant that can reach up to 4 feet tall.
- Dracaena fragrans ‘Compacta’: This is a smaller version of the Mass Cane with more compact growth and shorter leaves.
How to Protect Corn Plant (Dracaena) from Overwintering
- Bring it indoors: If you have your Corn Plant in an outdoor garden or patio, bring it inside before the first frost. Corn Plants can be grown indoors as a houseplant year-round.
- Provide enough light: Corn Plants need bright, indirect light to grow well. Place your Corn Plant near a sunny window, or provide it with artificial light if necessary.
- Keep it warm: Corn Plants prefer temperatures between 65-80°F (18-27°C). Keep your Corn Plant in a warm room and avoid exposing it to cold drafts.
- Water it correctly: During the winter, Corn Plants need less water than during the growing season. Water it only when the top inch of soil is dry, and make sure not to overwater as this can lead to root rot.
- Humidity: Corn Plants thrive in humid environments. Use a humidifier to increase the humidity level in the room, or place a tray of water near the plant to help increase the humidity.
- Fertilize: During the winter, Corn Plants go through a dormant period and do not require as much fertilizer. Reduce the frequency of fertilizing to once every two to three months.
Common Pests and Diseases that attack Corn Plant (Dracaena)
- Spider mites: These tiny pests feed on the leaves and can cause yellowing and browning of the foliage. They often appear in dry conditions and can be controlled by misting the plant or using a neem oil spray.
- Mealybugs: These soft-bodied insects are covered in a white, cotton-like substance and can be found on the undersides of leaves. They can be controlled by using a soap and water solution or an insecticidal spray.
- Scale insects: These pests look like small, brown or black bumps on the stems or undersides of the leaves. They can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
- Root rot: Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can cause the plant to wilt and turn yellow. To prevent root rot, ensure the soil is well-draining and do not overwater.
- Leaf spot: This fungal disease causes brown or black spots on the leaves and can be caused by overwatering or high humidity. Remove affected leaves and avoid getting water on the leaves when watering.
- Stem rot: This fungal disease causes the stem to turn brown or black and can be caused by overwatering or poor drainage. To prevent stem rot, ensure the soil is well-draining and avoid overwatering.
How to Bloom Corn Plant (Dracaena)
Here are some tips on how to encourage your Corn Plant to bloom:
- Provide enough light: Corn Plants require bright, indirect light to grow well, but too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves. Place your Corn Plant near a sunny window, but protect it from direct sunlight.
- Maintain proper temperature: Corn Plants prefer temperatures between 65-80°F (18-27°C). Avoid exposing your plant to extreme temperature changes or cold drafts, as this can cause stress and prevent blooming.
- Avoid over-fertilizing: Over-fertilizing can cause excessive foliage growth and prevent blooming. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer and follow the package instructions.
- Water correctly: Overwatering or underwatering can stress the plant and prevent blooming. Water your Corn Plant only when the top inch of soil is dry, and do not allow it to sit in standing water.
- Provide humidity: Corn Plants thrive in humid environments. Use a humidifier to increase the humidity level in the room, or place a tray of water near the plant to help increase the humidity.
- Be patient: Corn Plant typically blooms in late winter or early spring, so be patient and wait for the plant to mature and reach the flowering stage.
FAQs Related to Corn Plant (Dracaena)
Here are some frequently asked questions related to Corn Plant (Dracaena):
- How often should I water my Corn Plant?
Water your Corn Plant only when the top inch of soil is dry. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues, so be sure to allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
- Can I keep my Corn Plant in low light?
Corn Plants can tolerate low light, but they will grow more slowly and may not be as vibrant as they would in brighter light. If you’re keeping your Corn Plant in low light, make sure to reduce the frequency of watering and fertilizing.
- How do I prune my Corn Plant?
Pruning is not necessary for Corn Plants, but you can trim off any yellow or brown leaves or stems to improve the plant’s appearance. Use clean, sharp scissors to avoid damaging the plant.
- Can I propagate my Corn Plant?
Yes, Corn Plants can be propagated through stem cuttings. Cut a stem with at least two nodes and place it in water or soil to encourage rooting.
- What should I do if my Corn Plant is not growing?
If your Corn Plant is not growing, it may not be getting enough light, or it may be overwatered or underwatered. Make sure your plant is getting the right amount of light, water, and nutrients, and be patient, as Corn Plants grow slowly.
- Can I keep my Corn Plant outside?
Corn Plants can be grown outside in warm, tropical climates, but they are primarily grown as indoor plants in most areas. If you want to keep your Corn Plant outside, make sure it is protected from direct sunlight and cold temperatures.