The happy plant, or Chinese happy plant (also known as the corn plant) is a popular houseplant. The plant is desirable for its long, gracefully drooping leaves that have a lighter green or yellow streak down the middle. Home gardeners not only love this plant for its looks, but also because it is drought-tolerant and can grow in a wide range of light conditions, according to the University of Oklahoma.
Happy plants are native to tropical parts of West Africa. As such, they prefer subtropical or tropical conditions. In the United States, they can only be grown in the ground outdoors if planted in USDA hardiness zones 10 or 11, according to information published by the University of Florida. For that reason, they are often grown in containers and brought indoors when cold weather threatens, or grown indoors year-round as houseplants or in greenhouses.
Soil and Water
Happy plants benefit from a loose, well-draining planting medium rich in organic matter. The University of Oklahoma recommends planting the happy plant in a mixture composed of one part peat moss, one part sand and two parts loam. The soil should be allowed to dry out completely before watering, as these plants are quite drought-tolerant. Too much water can cause the roots to rot, which will cause the plant to die.
The happy plant will grow in full sun or full shade, making it an excellent choice for the darker corners of a home or office. Very hot, direct sunlight might scorch the leaves or fade the stripes, however. Some daily exposure to bright but indirect light is best.
Happy plants benefit from a monthly fertilizing during the growing season, according to the University of Oklahoma. Use a fertilizer formulated for evergreen houseplants and follow the directions according to the label as per the size and age of your plant.
A few insect pests are known to bother this plant, according to the University of Florida, including mites and thrips. Examine your happy plant carefully each week, especially the undersides of the leaves, for signs of insect activity. Spray insects off with strong stream of water, or treat the plant with an insecticidal soap. Happy plants can also suffer from root rot or leaf spot, which is a fungal disease caused when water is allowed to sit for long periods of time on the leaves. Never wet the foliage of the plant when watering.