Indoor Corn Plant Care

Botanical Name: Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana'

Corn plant care is easy, making it an ideal house plant. It's good for you too, because it naturally cleans the air. This is one of the best house plants for removing indoor air toxins such as formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene and toluene.

corn plant care, dracaena fragrans massangeana, corn plant, dracaena fragrans, house plants, common house plantsLeaves of the corn plant. Photo: © Gracel21 |

This hardy Dracaena is an unbranched, tree-like plant with sword-shaped arching leaves. Those dark-green leaves are 2 ft (60 cm) long and 4 in (10 cm) wide, and have a broad cream-to-yellow stripe down the middle.

Strongly scented flowers are occasionally produced on a plant grown in its native habitat. Older plants may flower indoors, but it's rare.

Corn Plant Problems, Solutions and How-tos

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Dropped leaves? As it grows, corn plant will shed its lower leaves, leaving a bare stem with a cluster of leaves at its top. New plants may drop a few leaves. This is normal. It needs time to adjust after the shock of being moved to a new home.

With your corn plant, care should be taken to keep it away from drafts and direct sun, which can cause dry, brown scorch marks the leaves.

This easy-care house plant will tolerate many abuses, but be careful not to over-water or over-fertilize. Droopy, yellow leaves are a sign it's overwatered and may indicate root rot. Be sure to use a container with a drainage hole and never allow the plant to stand in water.

Prune corn plant back if it grows too tall. If you want, you can propagate the stem tip cuttings for more plants.

Pruning tip: Prune it back in spring or early summer to control its growth. You can cut off the cane at any height. It will sprout a new cluster of leaves from where it was cut.

Repot in spring only when the plant's roots have filled the container. It is slow-growing and likely won't need repotted more than every 3 years. This plant prefers to be slightly root-bound, so keep it in a smallish container -- a heavy container will prevent it from toppling because this plant can get top-heavy. Here's how to repot a houseplant.

Brown leaf tips are typically a symptom of low humidity, the soil is too dry or the plant may be getting too much direct sunlight. Trim off brown leaf tips and move the plant out of direct sun. Keep soil moist, but remember not to overwater.

Good indoor corn plant care will allow you to enjoy your plant for many years -- it's a long-lived house plant.

Corn Plant Care Tips

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Origin: Tropical East Africa

Height: Grows slowly but can reach 6 ft (1.8 m) or more indoors. See pruning tip above to keep your corn plant to control its height.

Light: Bright light. Will tolerate low light. Brown scorch marks on leaves are caused by hot, direct sunlight.

Water: Spring through fall, keep the soil moist, but not soggy. In winter, allow top 2 in (5 cm) of soil to dry out between waterings.

Humidity: Try to maintain 40-50% relative humidity. Indoor air can become extremely dry in the winter, so it's a good idea to use a humidity gauge and a cool mist room humidifier, if needed.

Temperature: Average room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C suit this tropical plant just fine. Care should be taken that it isn't exposed to temperatures below 55°F/13°C.

Soil: Good-quality, all-purpose potting mix.

Fertilizer: Feed monthly spring through fall with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer diluted by half.

Propagation: Take 4-6 inch (10-15 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring or summer and pot them in moist potting mix.

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