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Characteristics of the Corn Plant

By Melissa Cole
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The corn plant (Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana') is a flowering shrub and foliage plant. The corn plant's colloquial name comes from the stem's resemblance to a corn stalk.


While it is native to countries in tropical regions of Africa like Ghana and Zimbabwe, it can be cultivated elsewhere. In North America, corn plants can be planted year round in southern USDA hardiness zones, like in Mexico, Florida and Hawaii.


With sometimes purple or pink buds, the corn plant has wide leaves with a prominent yellow stripe in its middle. The corn plant can grow up to 15 feet tall with an average spread of 3 feet.


Because the fragrant flowering plant flourishes in the shade, it can serve as a low-maintenance house plant. It also requires little watering and is tolerant of many kinds of soil, including clay, acidic and slightly alkaline.


While not native in North American countries, corn plants can thrive outdoors as a hedge plant.

Pest Resistance

Mites, thrips and chewing insects have been known to surface on the corn plant. However, the presence of pests does not limit the corn plant's ability to thrive in the long term.


Corn plants become susceptible to root rot when they are over watered. The occurrence of leaf spot diseases have also been documented.


About the Author


Melissa Cole began writing as a local newspaper reporter in 2008. Her work also appears on various websites. Cole is a public-television producer and media professional, as well as a vegan and former varsity track-and-field MVP and team captain. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and politics from New York University.