Complete guide to corn plant care
Whether you’re a plant pro or just starting your leafy collection, the corn plant is the perfect low-effort exotic addition to your home.
- Corn plants aren’t very thirsty so wait until the soil is completely dry before you water them
- Spray with a mister every few days for a humidity boost
- Corn plants can grow in most light conditions, just keep them away from harsh sunlight to avoid sunburn
- Feed with liquid fertiliser once a month in spring and summer
- Help your plant to grow by repotting every couple of years
About corn plants
The dracaena fragrans, or corn plant as you might know it, has been a popular ornamental houseplant since the mid-1800s, growing well in most indoor spaces. Indigenous to the African continent and islands in the Indian Ocean, corn plants can reach heights of up to 15 metres in the wild. Keep your indoor corn plant happy and fragrant white flowers could make an appearance for you.
Corn plant leaves come in a variety of shapes and colours. Both Mick’s and Nick’s leaves are slim, two-toned and pointy, but you can tell them apart because Nick’s leaves have light cream edges. Rick’s leaves are deep green and slightly rounder.
Are corn plants easy to care for?
Their low maintenance watering schedule and tolerance for most light conditions make corn plants perfect for beginners. They’re easy to care for, doing well in a slightly shady corner, in your bathroom, or a few metres away from a window.
Although not toxic to humans, make sure your pets don’t get too close as their leaves can make cats and dogs poorly when eaten.
How much light does my corn plant need?
Corn plants will grow faster with more light, especially if their leaves are variegated (have multiple colours) like Mick and Nick. Just be careful you don’t give them too much sun as this can scorch their leaves. They’ll also put up with a bit of shade if you’ve got a drab corner that needs a pop of colour, as long as some light can still reach them.
How often should I water my corn plant?
Check your corn plant once a week and only water when the soil is completely dry. They’re used to hot, dry climates so corn plants don’t get very thirsty and prefer a break in between drinks. The bigger your plant is the more water it will need and their hydration levels can also depend on how hot and dry the season is.
Don’t forget to drain excess water from the bottom of the pot, your corn plant won’t enjoy having soggy roots.
What’s the best temperature for my corn plant?
Sudden changes in temperature aren’t great for corn plants and they like to be kept between 15°C to 24°C. To avoid stressing your plant, keep it away from hot radiators and cold draughts.
Corn plants also love a bit of humidity which makes them great bathroom plants. If their home is in another room, don’t forget to mist their leaves every few days. Browning tips could be a sign that you need to mist more often.
Should I repot my corn plant?
Lots of roots spilling out of the nursery pot means your plant’s growth is being restricted. To give the roots some space and help your plant to grow taller, change the pot to one that’s a couple of inches bigger. You should only need to do this every two or three years.
Take a look at our repotting guide to break down the process step by step.
Does my corn plant need any extra love?
Instead of misting, you can wipe your corn plant’s leaves with a damp cloth to keep them moist. Bonus, you're cleaning away any dust at the same time.
During the spring and summer, give your corn plant a feed of liquid fertiliser once a month to boost its growth. Make sure to wash away the build-up of minerals in the soil by running your plant under a tap and letting all the water drain out of the drainage holes. Repeat this two or three times in the feeding months as extra minerals can cause the leaves to go yellow or brown.
Whichever corn plant takes your fancy, these tips and tricks will help you keep your green companion happy and healthy.
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