How to grow and care for Corn Palm (Dracaena fragrans) Indoors

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Corn Palm, Dracaena fragrans

Photo Credit: PlantVine

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

Corn Palm Description

Corn Palm is an easy to grow houseplant whose glossy, large, yellow-striped leaves will brighten up any space. As it grows, Corn Palm sheds the lower leaves, 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 Palm also 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 Size

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

Corn Palm Origin

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

Corn Palm Air Purifying

According to the NASA Clean Air Study, Corn Palm (Dracaena fragrans) was found to get rid of common VOCs like xylene, toulene, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloethylene from indoor air.

Corn Palm Varieties

Several varieties of Corn Palm (Dracaena fragrans) 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.

Buy beautiful and healthy Dracaena Plants from Etsy.

Corn Palm, Dracaena fragrans

Photo Credit: InteriorPlants.ca

Corn Palm (Dracaena fragrans) Care Indoors

Corn Palm Light Requirements

Corn Palm grows best in light shade; an east- or west-facing window is ideal. Corn Palm can also grow in shade but the growth will be much slower.

Avoid direct sunlight on your Corn Palm as it can burn the leaves causing the plant to wilt. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Corn Palm

Keep soil moist at all times for Corn Palm but reduce watering in the cold months. Avoid soggy soil for your Corn Palm as it can lead to root-rot disease. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Corn Palm is a tropical plant, therefore, use water at room temperature to water your plant to avoid shocking it.

Ensure that the water is free of chlorine, flourides and other chemicals to prevent brown leaf tips in your Corn Palm. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for Corn Palm

The best temperature for Corn Palm is average warmth with a minumum of 120C. Protect Corn Palm from cold draughts. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Corn Palm

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

However, if the air is too dry especially where temperature is too high set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your Corn Palm. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Occasionally clean the leaves of your Corn Palm by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Corn Palm

Feed Corn Palm every 4 weeks during the growing period with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.

Withhold feeding for your Corn Palm during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn.

Regularly flush out accumulated salts in the soil for your Corn Palm by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole. Allow it to run for a few minutes and repeat several times. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to repot Corn Palm

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 for your Corn Palm. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil.

The best soil for your Corn Palm should be free-draining and rich in organic matter. Never allow the roots to sit in soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot.

How to Prune Corn Palm

Pruning Corn Palm involves removal of dead and yellow leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

The Corn Palm is a slow grower and does not require regular pruning.

To encourage bushy growth (branching) for your Corn Palm, cut the stem at the desired height.

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

The foliage emanating from the pruning, can be used to propagate new Corn Palms. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Corn Palm (Dracaena fragrans) 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

Photo Credit: Amazon

Corn Palm (Dracaena fragrans) Problems Indoors

Corn Palm brown leaf tips and yellow edges

There are four possible reasons for leaves with brown tips and yellow edges in Corn Palm.

One possible reason for leaves with brown tips and yellow edges in your Corn Palm is dry air.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your Corn Palm. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

The second possible reason for leaves with brown tips and yellow edges in your Corn Palm is underwatering.

Maintain the soil moist at all times for your Corn Palm and do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

The third possible reason for leaves with brown tips and yellow edges in your Corn Palm is chemical accumulation in the soil.

Use chemical free water and regularly flush out salts from the soil for your Corn Palm.

The fourth possible reason for leaves with brown tips and yellow edges in your Corn Palm is cold draughts.

Protect your Corn Palm from cold draughts or place the plant away from cold draughts.

Corn Palm brown leaf spots

Corn Palm will form brown leaf spots if it is underwatered. Maintain the soil moist at all times for your Corn Palm and never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

Corn Palm bleached dry leaf patches

Direct sunlight will cause bleached dry patches on the leaves of Corn Palm. Move your Corn Palm to a shadier spot or protect it from direct sunlight.

Corn Palm leaves yellowing

Yellowing of the lower leaves is a natural process in Corn Palm. As the plant matures it sheds the lower leaves.

Each lower leaf of your Corn Palm turns yellow and dries leaving a crown of leaves on top of the cane-like stem.

Corn Palm leaves soft, curled and have brown edges

If the temperature is too low your Corn Palm leaves become soft and curled and the edges turn brown.

Maintain an average room temperature and protect your Corn Palm from cold draughts.

Corn Palm dying

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

Reduce watering for your Corn Palm during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist.

Another possible cause of the death of your Corn Palm is keeping it too cold

Maintain an average room temperature for your Corn Palm and protect it from cold draughts.

Corn Palm could also be dying from accumulation of salts in the soil.

Regularly flush out accumulated salts in the soil for your Corn Palm by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole. Allow it to run for a few minutes and repeat several times.

Corn Palm Pests

The common pests in Corn Palm 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.

Is Corn Palm (Dracaena fragrans) toxic?

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

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