How to Grow and Care for Corn Palm (Corn Plant) | Dracaena fragrans Care Indoors


Corn Palm (Dracaena fragrans) also called Corn Plant, Striped Dracaena or Compact Dracaena is an easy care plant whose glossy, large, yellow-striped leaves will brighten up any space.

Dracaena fragrans sheds the lower leaves as it grows, leaving a bare stem with a cluster of leaves at the top which makes it look like a palm and hence the common name.

Corn Plant requires to be protected from draughts as they can lead to dry, brown scorch marks on the leaves. The leaves may die if exposed to excessive sunlight.

Corn Palm, Dracaena fragrans

Botanical name: Dracaena fragrans
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Common names: Corn Palm, Corn Plant, Striped Dracaena, Compact Dracaena

Origin

Dracaena fragrans has its origins throughout tropical Africa, from Sudan south to Mozambique, west to Côte d'Ivoire and southwest to Angola.

Size

Corn Palm is a slow grower but it can reach a height of 6 ft and a diameter of about 2 ft.

Air Cleaning

According to the NASA Clean Air Study, Corn Palm (Dracaena fragrans) was found to be a good indoor air cleaner which gets rid of xylene, toulene, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloethylene from indoor air.

Varieties

Several varieties of Compact Dracaena are available. Dracaena fragrans massangeana with its corn-color central band outsells all the others.

Other common varieties are Dracaena fragrans lindenii and Dracaena fragrans victoria among others.

Toxicity

Corn Palm (Dracaena fragrans) is toxic to both humans and pets according to ASPCA. The leaves contain alkyds which if ingested they may cause vomiting and excessive salivation.

Where to Buy

Corn Plant is an excellent addition to your plant collection. You may acquire these plants online.

Dracaena fragrans Care Indoors

Corn Palm (Dracaena fragrans) blossoms in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, average warmth and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding. Corn Plant has no need for high humidity but does well in average room humidity.

Dracaena fragrans requires repotting when the roots begin to grow through the drainage holes. Pruning is necessary to keep the plant neat, to minimize pests and diseases, to encourage a compact growth and to rejuvenate growth. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to provide them.

Corn Palm, Dracaena fragrans

Watering

Water Corn Palm thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moist at all times.

Decrease watering in the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Ascertain that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and death of the plant.

Striped Dracaena is a tropical plant, therefore, use water at room temperature to water the plant to avoid shocking it.

Ensure that the water is free of chlorine, flourides and other chemicals to prevent brown leaf tips.

Light Requirements

Corn Palm grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight. It can also grow in shade but the growth will be much slower.

Regularly rotate the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for even growth.

Where natural lighting is not adequate Striped Dracaena can be grown under a grow light. Check out these full spectrum grow lights on Amazon.

Temperature and Humidity

The best temperature for Corn Palm is average warmth within the range of 16-280C. Keep it away from cold drafts to prevent brown leaf tips and edges.

Corn Palm has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is ideal for the plant.

However, if the air is too dry especially where the room temperature is too high, increase humidity for the plant.

To up humidity for Corn Plant, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

Occasionally clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and also discourage pest and disease infestations.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Corn Palm with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period to encourage a lush growth.

Do not feed Corn Plant during the cold season as growth is reduced and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn.

Flush out accumulated salts from the soil regularly by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole.

Potting Mix

The best soil for Corn Palm should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients like this quality Potting Mix available on Amazon.

Repotting

Repot Corn Palm at the beginning of the growing season when roots begin to grow through the drainage holes as it prefers to be slightly root-bound.

Use a pot at least 2 in. wider than the tree-trunk. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil. Never allow the roots to sit in soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot. Take a look at these Pots with Multi Mesh Drainage Holes available on Amazon.

Pruning

Pruning Corn Palm involves removal of dead and yellow leaves to maintain the plant neat and also discourage pest and disease infestations. As it ages, the lower leaves naturally turn yellow.

The Compact Dracaena is a slow grower and does not require regular pruning. To encourage bushy growth (branching), cut the stem at the desired height with a sharp, clean pair of pruning scissors.

A new sprout of stems will emerge below the cut. This will result in the plant producing several stems instead of having just one stem.

The foliage emanating from the pruning, can be used to propagate new Corn Plants.

Propagation

Corn Palm (Dracaena fragrans) can be propagated in three ways: by air layering, from stem cuttings or from the top crown of leaves.

Corn Palm, Dracaena fragrans

Dracaena fragrans Common Problems and Fixes

Corn Palm (Dracaena fragrans) problems are plant death, brown leaf tips, yellow leaves, leaf spots, pests and diseases among others. Read on for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.

Yellowing leaves

Yellowing lower leaves is a natural process in Corn Palm. As the plant matures it sheds the lower leaves. Each lower leaf turns yellow and dries leaving a crown of leaves on top of the cane-like stem which causes gives the plant a false palm appearance, hence the common name, 'Corn Palm' or 'Corn Plant'.

The Dracaena Plant may develop yellowing leaves if the growing conditions like lighting, watering, feeding, temperature and humidity are not met. Here are 14 Reasons why a Dracaena Leaves are Yellowing

Brown leaf tips and yellow edges

Corn Palm brown leaf tips and yellow edges are caused by four possible reasons. One possible reason is dry air (low humidity) especially where the temperatures are very high.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a humidifier to raise humidity. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

The second possible reason for brown leaf tips and yellow edges in Compact Dracaena is underwatering.

Maintain the soil consistently moist during the growing season and slighty moist in the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

The third possible reason for brown leaf tips and yellow edges in Corn Plant is chemical accumulation in the soil.

Use only chemical free water like rainwater and regularly flush out salts from the soil by running a stream of water thorough the soil until the water comes out through the drainage holes.

The fourth possible reason for brown leaf tips and yellow edges in Corn Palm is cold drafts like windy doors and windows.

Protect the plant from cold drafts or place it away from cold drafts.

Plant death

Corn Palm is prone to root-rot disease which is enhanced by soggy soil. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid soggy soil.

Reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Another possible cause of the death in Corn Plant is exposing it too cold temperatures from cold drafts.

Maintain an average room temperature and keep the plant away from cold drafts to prevent sudden drops in temperature.

Corn Plant could also be dying from accumulation of salts in the soil which may be arising from the water and fertilizers used.

Regularly flush out accumulated salts in the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole and use only chemical free water.

Brown leaf spots

Corn Palm brown leaf spots are due to underwatering. Water the plant thoroughly to maintain the soil moist at all times during the growing season and reduce watering in the cold season but never let the soil ball dry out completely.

Bleached dry leaf patches

Corn Plant bleached dry leaf patches are sunscorch marks due to exposure of the plant to hot direct sunlight. Move the plant to a more shadier spot or protect it from hot direct sunlight.

Leaves soft, curled and have brown edges

Soft, curled and brown edges in Corn Palm leaves are caused by too low temperature. Maintain an average room temperature and protect the plant from cold drafts to prevent sudden changes in temperature.

Pests

Common pests in Dracaena fragrans pests are Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects and Spider Mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other plants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.

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