How to Care for a Cornstalk Plant

Overview

The University of Florida calls the cornstalk plant (Dracaena fragrans) one of the best houseplants available to gardeners, thanks in part to its extremely hardy nature and very low maintenance needs. As its name implies, this houseplant mimics the shape and look of corn. Provide the cornstalk plant with the basic care it needs for years of lush growth.

Step 1

Place the potted cornstalk plant near a north-facing window or anywhere where it will receive low or filtered sunlight. Too much sunlight will cause this shade-loving plant to lose the variegated look for which it's prized, says the University of Florida.

Step 2

Water the plant once a week or as needed to avoid drought stress, signified by a wilting or curling of the leaves. Generally, apply water until moisture appears in the cornstalk pot's bottom drainage holes, then avoid watering again until the top couple inches of soil feels dry. This plant is very drought-tolerant, and too much water will cause it to turn brown.

Step 3

Keep the cornstalk plant at a temperature of 65 to 90 degrees F for optimal development. The plant will slow growth or stop growing completely at temperatures below 65 degrees F, and will become damaged and die if kept at temperatures below 55 degrees, according to the University of Florida.

Step 4

Fertilize the cornstalk plant once every spring, though this is optional since the plant thrives in even poor quality soil. Use any standard fertilizer labeled for use on houseplants, applying at the rate listed on its label since potency varies by product.

Step 5

Guard against pests. The plant has few pest problems, but may occasionally fall victim to thrips and mites. Spray all exposed surfaces of the plant with a basic insecticidal soap to quickly eliminate the problem.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't grow cornstalk plants in your home if you have pets. The plant is toxic when ingested and can cause vomiting and hypersalivation for dogs and cats, according to the ASPCA.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Houseplant fertilizer (optional)
  • Insecticidal soap

References

  • "The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual"; Barbara Pleasant; 2005
  • University of Florida: Dracaena Fragrans
  • University of Florida: Dracaena Production Guide
  • ASPCA: Dracaena Fragrans
Keywords: cornstalk plant care, cornstalk house plant, cornstalk growing requirements

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.