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How to Care for Corn Plant?

How to Care for Corn Plant?

Corn plant is one of the most popular types of Dracaena in the world which is very resistant. So, it can be a suitable plant for people who travel a lot. Corn plant with its broad and green leaves, which sometimes have yellow stripes, can give a special beauty to your home. One of the important features of this houseplant is that it helps to remove chemicals such as formaldehyde as well as xylene and toluene from the air and is one of the air purifying plants at home. Continue reading this article in TooPlant in order to learn more about how to grow and care for corn plant.

Introduction of Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)

Before addressing how to care for corn plant, please allow us to give you a brief introduction about this houseplant.

Name  Corn Plant
Botanical Name  Dracaena fragrans
Common Name(s) Corn plant, dracaena, striped dracaena, striped dragon palm, false palm
Plant Type Broadleaf evergreen, perennial shrub/tree
Family Asparagaceae
Mature Size Height: 10 to 40 feet or more; Spread: 3 to 6 feet 
Sun Exposure Full sun to partial shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)[1]NC State University, Dracaena fragrans. plants.ces.ncsu.edu.
Soil Conditions Rich, Well-drained, Light and loamy, Moist
Bloom Time Late fall and then again in late spring; nighttime bloomer
Toxicity Toxic to cats and dogs[2]American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Dracaena. ASPCA.org
Native Tropical Africa
Hardiness Zones 9 to 11 (USDA)

Corn plant with the scientific name Dracaena fragrans is a plant native to East Africa. The reason for the name of this plant is the similarity of its leaves to corn leaves. There are many types of Dracaena (Read any more), and corn plant is only one of the available species that is perfectly suitable for keeping at home. This plant grows a lot in the open space and its height can reach 4 meters. If kept in a pot, its height reaches only 1.5-2 meters. 

This large broadleaf evergreen will slowly reach 50′ high and 10′ wide if grown in humid, tropical conditions. Most of the time, it’s grown as a houseplant, reaching 4′-6′ tall.[3]UC Marin Master Gardeners. Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’. plantmaster.com.

Corn plant blooms are small and fragrant in yellow and white colors and grow on the end clusters in winter and spring. Apart from their pleasant smell, they are also beautiful and have a light pink color at the beginning of their growth.

In this article, we want to provide you with information about how to care for corn plant, so stay tuned with Tooplant.

Types of Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)

There are only a few types of corn plants that are planted and sold on a large scale. Although it is easy to maintain all types of corn plants, each of them has its own characteristics.

How many varieties of corn plant are there?

In the following, we will introduce you to the 5 types of corn plants:

Dracaena fragrans ‘Lemon Lime’

 This type has a very beautiful and unique appearance with its green and yellow leaves. It can grow up to about 2 meters inside the house, of course, if its maintenance conditions are ideal, but if for any reason you don’t want it to grow too much, you can always keep its size small by pruning it continuously. During the maintenance, rotate the plant from time to time so that its photosynthesis takes place more effectively and better. This will also improve plant growth.

Dracaena fragrans ‘Limelight’

 This variety is famous for its lime green and sword-shaped leaves which needs very little maintenance and makes it an excellent choice for your home. It is an air purifying and slow-growing plant, but the mature plants can reach up to 15 meters.

Dracaena fragrans ‘Lindenii

 It is one of the low-maintenance plants, which has very decorative, dark green leaves. They are linear. It prefers a sunny to semi-shady location. The mature plants can reach up to 15 meters. It is a good choice for a bedroom, office, bathroom, and winter garden.

Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’

 The height of this variety reaches 150 cm. It produces leaves that are between 46 and 74 cm long and between 5 and 25 cm wide. The leaves of this species are similar to the leaves of corn and are characterized by yellow stripes that are stretched in the center and along the length of the leaves. Its growth is very slow and it doesn’t need a lot of light and water. It is a good choice for a large open space such as a sunroom, office reception area, shopping center or wide hallway.

Dracaena fragrans ‘Victoria’

 It is very similar to Massangeana’ because the yellow stripes run through the middle of the leaf. However, the yellow coloring and the leaf shape is different from Massangeana’. This species leaves are smaller but wider and more triangular.

Care for Corn Plant

In short, about the maintenance and care of the corn plant, we must say that this houseplant is easy to care for, so if you are new to growing houseplants, it can be a great choice for you. In order to provide ideal conditions for the plant and have a corn plant that is always beautiful and fresh, it is necessary to observe and consider the vital items such as light, watering and other items that we have mentioned in detail below.

In this part, we will focus on the most important aspects which you need to take into consideration while treating this houseplant. The best methods of how to care for corn plants include as follows:

Corn Plant Light Requirements: What light is best for corn plants?

Light is among the first important issues to care for corn plant. The best place to keep this plant is near a window with filtered light. Too little light causes the leaves to lose their color stripe. Direct light can also cause dryness and withering of the plant. East, west and south windows are suitable for this houseplant.

So, as shown above, light plays a significant role to care for corn plants.

Corn Plant Watering: How often should you water a corn plant?

In the rest, concerning the tips of caring for a corn plant, it is better to know that whenever the surface of the soil dries to a depth of about 3-5 cm, you can water it. During the growing season, the soil of the plant should always have some moisture. As we go towards autumn and winter, reduce the amount of watering. But in general, do not let the soil of the plant remain too dry. This causes the tips of its leaves to turn brown.

Also, like other houseplants, corn plant is sensitive to the salts in the water and you need to be careful while watering it. Note that the soil of the pot should never remain wet or swampy to prevent rotting of the roots. Always check the drainage. It is suggested to water the plant with cooled boiled water because the tips of the leaves may dry.

In this way, to care for corn plant, watering is considered to be of great significance.

Corn Plant Soil: What is the best soil for a Dracaena fragrans?

Intending to care for corn plant, the other crucial matter is soil. Light and loamy soils are suitable for the plant. Alkaline soils are not suitable for corn plant and it is better if the soil is slightly acidic.

Using tea wastes can help to acidify the soil. Of course, you should not overuse tea wastes. Also, a combination of garden soil, animal manure and leaf soil is appropriate for corn plant.

Thus, it can be said that, soil is another basic and important issue so as to care for corn plant.

Corn Plant Temperature Tolerance

Now, we come to temperature which is assumed to be principal to care for corn plant in addition to light, watering and soil that are mentioned above.

The best temperature for maintaining the corn plant is between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius. Of course, it tolerates low temperatures up to 15 degrees and high temperatures up to 28 degrees. If the ambient temperature reaches above 24 degrees Celsius, the corn plant prefers daily spraying and air with a lot of oxygen.

Corn Plant Humidity: Does Dracaena fragrans like humidity?

Moisture is another thing which we need to inevitably pay attention to when talking about how to care for corn plant. Corn plants generally require a relative humidity of 40%. If the weather is too hot, more attention should be paid to supplying moisture to the plant. It is better to supply the humidity of the plant from the island construction method.

Spraying twice a week is also recommended. But if the temperature rises, do the spraying on a daily basis. The best water for spraying is water without solvents and light. Of course, spraying should not make the leaves too wet. Leaving the leaves wet causes all kinds of fungal diseases in the corn plant. So, it is better to spray water from a distance and around the plant.

Therefore, please do not forget to take humidity into consideration in order to care for corn plant in the best way.

Corn Plant Fertilizer: What is the best fertilizer for a corn plant?

When you want to care for corn plant, one of the important questions that may come to your mind is “what is the best fertilizer?” In what follows, we will address how to fertilize this plant:

Fertilizing corn plant is essential for its proper growth. To strengthen the plant, you can use water-soluble fertilizers according to the instructions once every two weeks during the growing season. Fertilizing corn plant in winter is not recommended.

As a result, we could say that fertilizer is regarded as one of the fundamental issues when someone wants to care for corn plant.

Corn Plant Toxicity: Are Corn Plants poisonous to humans and pets?

In order to care for corn plant, toxicity is considered to be a major issue because it directly relates to your health especially children and pets.

Corn plant is poisonous and will have toxic effects if swallowed. The side effects of this plant may be vomiting, nausea, weight loss, periodic hyperactivity or pupil dilation. As a result, keep it away from children and pets (especially dogs and cats).

Corn Plant Repotting: How to repot corn plant?

At the beginning, it is better to repot your corn plant every year or every two years with a bigger pot with new soil. Be careful not to damage the roots when moving the plant. After the plant has grown, you can replace only the topsoil with new soil every year.

A good pot should provide proper drainage for the soil. So, the basic condition of choosing a pot for any plant is to have multiple drainage holes on the bottom surface. However, clay pots are suitable for corn plant because this plant likes dry soil. This kind of pots dry the soil well between watering times and prevent it from drying out completely i.e., exactly the conditions that corn plant needs to grow. When buying a pot, remember that if your pot is small, buy a pot with a minimum size of 20 cm and don’t buy a smaller one.

Corn Plant Pruning: How to prune corn plant (Dracaena fragrans)?

Another thing to keep in mind when caring for a corn plant is pruning it. After 2-3 years, the lower leaves of the plant start to turn yellow, which is completely normal. You can remove these old leaves from the plant so that they do not make it look ugly. You can also prune the plant to keep it at the desired height.

To make the corn plant thicker, you can cut the end buds of the mature plant. In this case, each branch of your plant will turn into two or three branches and will make your plant more beautiful.

After pruning, if brown leaves appear on the plant due to insufficient light or overwatering, remove them so that new and healthy leaves grow in their place.

Propagating Corn Plant: How to propagate corn plants?

When you want to care for corn plant, another important question that may come to your mind is “how to propagate it.”

To propagate this houseplant, you can use the three following methods:

Corn plant propagation by stem cuttings

Corn plant propagation by air layering

¤¤ Use this method in early spring or autumn.

¤¤ Choose branches with a diameter of about 8 to 20 mm (about the diameter of a pen), which are young and strong.

¤¤ Make a surface cut about 2 cm long from the bottom to the top between several branches.

¤¤ If there are leaves near where the stem is cut, remove the leaves.

¤¤ The cut should create a gap inside the skin of the stem.

¤¤ It is better to put a barrier like a thin piece of wood or a match stick between the bark and wood layer of the plant. 

¤¤ Then cover the cut area with wet moss and then plastic.

¤¤ The important thing is to put the moss in the container of water beforehand so that it is well moistened and before placing it on the stem of the plant, press it a little to remove the excess water in the moss.

¤¤ Tie the bottom and top of the plastic around the branch with a piece of thread. 

¤¤ Moisten the area with water spray every day.

¤¤ You can open the top of the plastic and spray water on it or inject water under the plastic through a small syringe. Or pour it with a glass of water. 

¤¤ After about one to two months, the cut place will be rooted and you can cut the branch from the lower part of the root and plant it in a new pot.

Corn plant propagation by seeds

 Common Pests and Diseases

Corn Plant, like any other plant, can be exposed to disease or pests.

Common Pests

Pests that attack corn plants usually include Diaspididae, mealybugs, whiteflies, and red mites.

Diaspididae

This makes the color of the leaves change and prominent brown spots appear under them.

Treatment: Spray the plant with a suitable insecticide to remove the symptoms, or wipe the aphids off the plant with a damp cloth.

Mealybugs

This causes a white and sticky cotton mass on the plant. It weakens the plant growth by feeding on the sap of the plant and makes the leaves turn yellow.

Treatment: Collect them with cotton dipped in alcohol or soap liquid or use a suitable insecticide.

Whiteflies

This makes the plant weak by feeding on the sap of the plant.

Treatment: It is better to use sticky yellow cards to hunt them down.

Red Mites

This leads to the yellowing of the lower surface of the leaves. If the humidity of the plant is low, the probability of getting infected with mites increases.

Treatment: To prevent this pest, provide the necessary moisture to the plant. If the plant is infected, special pesticides should be used according to the instructions.

Caring for Corn Plant: Common Problems With Corn Plant

After a description of taking care of a corn plant, we will explain the problems and their solutions:

Why Are Corn Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?

As “leaves turning yellow” is one of the common problems that you may face when you want to care for corn plant, we will try to describe the reasons and the ways to solve it in details.

You may see different types of the corn plant yellow leaves. In this case, you should know that the reasons are as follows.

 Sometimes yellow lines are formed on the edge of the leaves, which is usually accompanied by a brown color, which is due to lack of water, soil salinity due to excessive fertilization, or lack of nutrients and poor soil.

Sometimes the whole leaf turns pale-green or yellow, which is caused by the high intensity of light, low humidity of the environment, or unfavorable soil conditions (such as improper drainage or excessive soil texture).

Excessive accumulation of water in the soil and the lack of water exit from around the roots leads to the spread of some fungal diseases and the loss of the roots and as a result the loss of leaves, in this case the leaves first turn yellow-golden and then drop.

Lack of water, especially in the months of spring to autumn, can lead to yellowing of the leaves and of course their drying.

Changing the location of the plant is another factor for the yellowing of the leaves. Because the amount of light may be different in the new place compared to the previous place. If the amount of light is increased in such a way that its intensity is unbearable for the plant, the leaves will turn yellow and brown spots that are caused by tissue death will also form on them.

Lack of light can also lead to yellowing of leaves. If the light is too low, the leaves of the plant, especially the lower leaves of the plant, will turn yellow and die. Of course, dropping of the lower leaves of the plant and the bareness of the stem are among the things that can happen with the aging of the plant. Therefore, when such a problem occurs, pay attention to whether the light conditions of the plant have changed in recent weeks or not.

Root rot due to the fungal diseases can also lead to the appearance of brown spots on the leaves. Yellowing of leaves, lack of plant growth, wilting of leaves, and browning of plant stems are among the consequences of this problem.

The existence of pests is another factor in the yellowing of leaves. Diaspididae, mealybugs or spider mites can attack different parts of the plant, especially the areas where the leaves are attached to the stem and remain hidden from people’s eyes, and lead to yellowing of the leaves.

Thus, if you are faced with the corn plant yellow leaves, there is no need to worry because you can easily solve the problem with the things we have explained.

Why does my corn plant have brown tips?

The heat of the air and the lack of humidity causes the tips of the leaves to burn. If you see this sign, it is better to move the pot to a cooler environment. And to provide humidity, get help from spraying method or island construction.

Why do brown spots appear on my Dracaena fragrans leaves?

It is caused by fungus, which itself is caused by humid air. Avoid wetting the leaves of the plant and spray the plant with fungicide.

Also, it could be due to spraying the plant in the sun, do not spray the plant in the sun.

Why are corn plant leaves dropping?

If the growth of the corn plant has stopped and the lower leaves drop, it means that the ambient air is too cold. In this case, move the pot to a warmer place.

Moreover, when the air in the environment is hot and dry, the lower leaves drop. In this case, you need to water and spray the plant.

Why does my corn plant growth become slow?

If the new leaves are small and the plant growth is slow, it either suffers from a lack of nutrients or needs a bigger pot. Feed the plant once every two weeks according to the instructions and change the pot if necessary.

Why are my corn plant leaves drooping?

Its cause is fungus, which is caused by overwatering and swamping of the pot soil. Check the drain and empty the water under the pot. Reduce watering and let the soil surface of the pot dry between waterings.

Why are my Dracaena fragrans leaves turning pale?

Ambient light is not enough, move the plant to a brighter place.

Why do my corn plant leaves lose their color stripes?

If the plant does not receive enough light, its leaves lose their color combination and turn green. To solve the problem, you need to move the plant to a place with more light.

How To Clean Corn Plant Leaves?

In order to clean the leaves of the corn plant, you can use a damp sponge or cloth. Do this once a week. There is no problem in using polishing chemicals once a month, but it is better not to use these chemicals.

Infographic Of How To Care For Corn Plant

In this article, we tried to explain to you in an infographic the essential tips in the care of corn plant, so that you can briefly and usefully learn the methods of caring for this plant.

In The End

In this article, we tried to provide you with the necessary information about the methods of caring for a  Corn Plant.

However, if you have any questions regarding this indoor plant or you need to get advice from our houseplant experts, please share your questions with us through the comments section below.

In order to support the facts in our articles, Tooplant only makes use of first-rate sources and materials.

Sources[+]

Sources
1 NC State University, Dracaena fragrans. plants.ces.ncsu.edu.
2 American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Dracaena. ASPCA.org
3 UC Marin Master Gardeners. Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’. plantmaster.com.
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