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How to Fertilize Sweet Corn

By Heather Bliss ; Updated September 21, 2017
Properly fertilizing sweet corn can lead to a healthier, more productive crop.
corn field image by Liz Van Steenburgh from Fotolia.com

Sweet corn is a fast-growing vegetable that is usually low-maintenance when it comes to fertilizer. Fertilizer helps raise the level of nutrients in the soil to harbor a beneficial growing environment for corn. Corn enjoys a nitrogen-rich soil environment with enough phosphorus. Growing well-fertilized corn involves attention to preparing the bed for the corn seeds and a keen eye to watch for signs of nutrient deficiency during growth.

Spread a 2-inch layer of compost over the area in which you will plant the corn.

Lightly sprinkle organic nitrogen fertilizer over the layer of compost.

Mix the compost and nitrogen fertilizer mix with the ground soil until the compost/soil mix is about 5 to 7 inches deep.

Plant the corn according to planting instructions for your strain of corn.

Fertilize the plants with a natural liquid corn fertilizer when the corn plants have reached a height of 4 inches. Fertilize the plants again when they are around 10 inches tall.


Things You Will Need

  • Compost
  • Organic nitrogen supplement (fish meal, cottonseed meal or blood meal)
  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Rake
  • Protective gloves)
  • Liquid seaweed extract (optional)
  • Liquid natural fertilizer for corn (contains phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium)


  • Liquid fertilizer for corn can be organic or chemical. The fertilizer is a solution that usually contains about four parts nitrogen to three parts potassium and three parts phosphorus. The solution is diluted with water before it is used to fertilize the corn.


  • Keep an eye out for purple leaves on your corn, a condition which indicates that your corn needs more phosphorus. Spraying the corn plants with a liquid seaweed spray during the cold months of the planting season is a common treatment for phosphorus-deficient purple corn leaves.

About the Author


Heather Bliss has been writing professionally since 1998, specializing in technology, computer repair, gardening, music and politics. Bliss holds an Associate of Arts in journalism from Moorpark College. She also has a Bachelor of Arts from California State University, San Marcos, completed with a focus on music and performing arts technology.