Usually called the variegated corn plant, "Massageana" is the cultivar name for one plant type in the species Dracaena fragrans. It is part of the Deremensis group in the species, combining all striped-leaf varieties with varying leaf blade widths. If provided ample light, it produces fragrant flowers on a dropping stalk. Corn plant grows outdoors year-round in USDA Zones 11 and warmer, reaching heights of 15 to 40 feet.
Massangeana corn plant grows in nearly full sun conditions outdoors in the tropics, receiving well over 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. It also tolerates lower light levels, increasing its value and use as an interior plant. Indoors, provide it with bright indirect light situated no farther than 8 feet away from a window. It appreciates bouts of direct sunlight indoors and is required for it to ever produce flowers.
Never allow air temperatures to either drop below 35 degrees Fahrenheit or exceed 100 degrees, both of which stress the plant. Frosts kill foliage back to the trunk, and extreme cold freezes the trunk and roots to cause death. Excessive temperatures increase the need for watering. Dry or cold air from indoor heating and air-conditioning vents cause leaf edges to dry and brown. Increased humidity develops the finest foliage.
From spring to autumn when sunlight is most intense, water freely to keep the soil outdoors or in indoor containers evenly moist. Avoid dry soil and soggy and flooding soil conditions. In winter, reduced watering so that the soil surface becomes slightly dry before watering. Outdoors apply 1 to 2 inches of irrigation per week during the growing season if rainfall is lacking. Indoors, provide enough water to soak through the container and fully drain away from holes in the container bottom. Do not allow the container to sit in a basin of water; root rot occurs.
Outdoor plants benefit from a 3- to 4-inch layer of compost or organic mulch over the root zone to provide trace minerals. Indoor potted plants need application of a liquid, well-balanced (10-10-10) house plant fertilizer in doses recommended on product labeling only in spring and summer. Typically, the liquid fertilizer accompanies a scheduled watering once per month.
Additional Maintenance Tasks
Do not prune the Massangeana corn plant, as it grows only from buds that emerge from its trunk. Cutting away a tufted cluster of leaves does not guarantee a new bud emerges nearby to replace it. Dried dead leaves in the base of the foliage pull away easily and trimming them will keep the plant looking lush. Consider wiping the wide leaf blades of interior specimens with a damp cloth occasionally to remove dust. Repot house plants every one to two years in spring in a container that provides an additional inch of space around the outside of the root ball.