Care of Corn Plants


Corn is a warm-season vegetable that is popular in home gardens. In a typical growing season, the tall green plants produce one or two ears of corn. which ripen anywhere from 58 to 92 days depending on the variety. Corn comes in a wide variety, including yellow, white and bi-colored. To produce corn all season long, plant early-, mid- and late-season varieties of corn.

Step 1

Pull the weeds around the sprouted corn plants by hand. This prevents damage to the corn plant roots caused by cultivating too deeply. Weeds compete with the corn plants for moisture and soil nutrients, so it's important to keep the planting area free of weeds.

Step 2

Water around the base of the corn plants whenever the soil starts to dry out. Make sure that the plants are watered when there has been no rainfall during the week.

Step 3

Spread 1 tablespoon of 10-10-10 fertilizer beside each corn plant when the plants are 12 to 18 inches tall. Scratch the fertilizer into the top inch of soil with a rake.

Step 4

Pick the ears of corn 20 days after the first silk strands appear. This is when the kernels are smooth and plump. To check for ripeness, puncture a kernel with your fingernail. The fluid that comes out should be milky, not clear. Snap the ears off by hand.

Step 5

Pull the cornstalks up right after harvesting the last ears of corn. Cut the stalks into 1-foot sections with pruning shears and compost them. By removing the cornstalks you are eliminating areas in which insect pests can hide.

Tips and Warnings

  • Corn is adversely affected if it does not get enough water. The plants will develop small ears with missing kernels.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Fertilizer
  • Garden hoe
  • Corn seeds
  • Water
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow: Corn
  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Sweet Corn
Keywords: planting corn, growing corn plants, growing corn

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.