The corn plant makes an ideal single showcase plant or background accent to an indoor garden display. It’s easy to care for and requires little attention to maintain its majestic, green structure and fragrant blooms.
The corn plant (Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana') is native to South America and shipped as canes to nurseries around the world. The large stems produce 18- to 36-inch deep green blade leaves with yellow stripes down the center of each. The plant can reach a height of 5 to 15 feet and a width of 2 to 3 feet, resembling in appearance an actual corn plant. Each spring two or three long stems come forth and bloom into fragrant white flowers that last for several weeks.
Even though the canes will root in almost any kind of soil, they do best in rich organic well-drained soil that has a mixture of peat moss added to it. The plant should be repotted as it begins to get taller and thicker so that the roots can have room to drink and feed the plant effectively.
They should only be watered when the first few inches of the soil are dry but no more than that or else some or all the shoots will begin to die. Overwatering or being left to sit in water will cause development of root rot from improper drainage. A low phosphate liquid fertilizer can be added once a month for adequate feeding, and they can be sprayed daily with a warm water mist if the room is too dry.
The corn plant prefers defused sunlight or partial shade. It does not like to be in the heat of the sun at all, and will burn if placed in direct sunlight. Newly planted shoots should be kept in a shaded area for the first month.
Pruning can be done any time that the tree needs to be thinned out or trimmed back. The only way to prune a corn plant is to use a sharp cutting tool and cut it at the point where the tap head comes out from the cane. Within weeks a new shoot will spring out from where the old tap head was removed. Cutting anywhere else on the stem to thin it out can cause the entire stem to become infected and die.
New canes are planted upright in a mixture of organic soil and peat moss and left in a shaded area with the soil being kept moist. Once they root and produce several shoots called tap heads from the top, they can be put in defused sunlight. Stems that were removed from the parent plant can also be planted in a separate pot to generate a second plant under the same growing conditions as a new cane. For a beautifully effective display, use a large pot and plant three or four shoots.