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Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)

Corn Plant Overview

Scientific name:

Dracaena fragrans



Water requirements:


Light requirements:

Indirect Sun


Air Purifying, Low Maintenance

Table of Contents

The corn plant (Dracaena fragrans) is a unique houseplant known for its broad, arching leaves that resemble sweet corn. With its attractive foliage and easy care requirements, the corn plant is an excellent choice for brightening up office environments.

The corn plant is appreciated for its air-purifying abilities and minimal care needs. Its broad leaves can help filter pollutants and its thick, woody stems require little attention. These qualities make the corn plant ideal for enhancing office spaces.

Beyond air purification, the corn plant also boosts aesthetics. Its leaves beautifully cascade down its stems, creating the look of a small palm tree. The leaves feature forest green and yellow stripes, bringing a touch of nature indoors. Paired with its hardy constitution, the corn plant makes caring for office plants simple.

Detailed Description of the Corn Plant

The Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans) is an evergreen broadleaf tree that can grow over 6 feet tall. Its leaves are long, green, and strap-like, arching outward from the central stalk in a fountain-like shape. The foliage resembles sweet corn leaves, which gives rise to its common name.


The Corn Plant has a tree-like structure with a woody central stalk and branches. The branches produce lush green leaves in crowded clusters, giving it a bushy appearance. As the plant matures, the main trunk thickens and becomes woody. The leaves can reach 2-3 feet long and are around 2 inches wide with smooth edges.

Growth Habits

The Corn Plant is a relatively slow grower, only gaining a few inches in height each year. However, with ideal care, it can attain an impressive height over time. This plant grows from a central stalk, producing new leaves from the top as lower leaves naturally die off. As such, pruning is not necessary.

Distinctive Features

Some key features that make the Corn Plant stand out include:

  • Its arching leaves that resemble corn foliage
  • Thick woody trunk that develops over time
  • Ability to grow very tall, often over 6 feet
  • Minimal maintenance needed for healthy growth

The Corn Plant is an elegant choice that lends a tropical feel to any space. Its cascading leaves and eventual height make it an excellent focal point in a room.

Optimal Care Guide for the Corn Plant

Providing the right care is crucial for keeping a corn plant healthy and thriving. As a tropical plant, the corn plant prefers bright, filtered light, warm temperatures, and higher humidity. Here are some tips for giving your corn plant what it needs.

Light Requirements

The corn plant does best in bright, indirect light. Some good spots are near a south- or west-facing window or in a brightly lit office. Direct hot sunlight can scorch the leaves, so filtration through a sheer curtain is ideal. The corn plant can tolerate lower light conditions, but growth will be slower and less vibrant.


Corn plants prefer soil that drains well and should not sit in standing water. Water thoroughly until it runs from the drainage holes, then allow the soil to dry out some between waterings. In the summer, this may mean watering every 7-10 days. In the winter, you may only need to water every 2-3 weeks when the top inch of soil is dry.

Temperature & Humidity

The ideal temperature range for a corn plant is 16-24°C. Cooler temperatures below 12°C can cause leaf drop. To boost humidity, mist the plant daily or use a pebble tray. Ideal humidity is 40-50%.

Tips for Proper Care

  • Allow soil to dry out between waterings
  • Provide bright, indirect light
  • Mist leaves for extra humidity
  • Keep away from cold drafts
  • Wipe leaves to remove dust buildup

By understanding what a corn plant needs and making adjustments accordingly, you can keep it thriving for years to come.

Soil and Potting Tips for the Corn Plant

When it comes to potting and repotting the corn plant, the most important consideration is ensuring the right soil mix. The best potting soil for corn plants should contain a blend of sterilized soil, peat moss or leaf mold, and either coarse sand or perlite. This mixture provides the drainage and nutrients the corn plant needs to thrive.

Appropriate Pot Size

Choose a pot that is about 2 inches wider than the current container or root ball of the corn plant. Overpotting can lead to issues with excess moisture, while underpotting will stunt the plant’s growth. For most mature corn plants, a 12-16 inch diameter pot is ideal. Always use containers with drainage holes at the bottom to prevent soggy soil.

Potting Best Practices

When transplanting a corn plant, gently loosen the roots before placing it in the new container. Fill the pot about halfway with soil mix, set the plant inside, then fill the remaining space with more soil. Press down gently to remove air pockets. Water thoroughly after potting to settle the soil and eliminate dry pockets around the roots.

Repotting Considerations

Typically, corn plants only need repotting every 2-3 years. Signs it’s time include roots growing out of the drainage holes or the plant becoming top heavy and tipping over. When repotting, go up just one pot size to prevent transplant shock. Always repot in the spring after the last frost to give the plant time to recover before winter dormancy.

Used coffee grounds can also be worked into the soil as a supplemental liquid fertilizer. The nitrogen in coffee grounds benefits plants like corn that require a soil pH between 6.0-6.8.

Benefits of the Corn Plant in the Office

The corn plant, also known by its scientific name Dracaena fragrans, has become a popular choice for offices due to the many benefits it provides. First and foremost, the corn plant is an excellent natural air purifier that helps remove harmful toxins like volatile organic chemicals from indoor air.

Air Purification

Studies have shown that the corn plant is particularly effective at removing formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air – all common indoor pollutants found in offices that can cause headaches, fatigue, and respiratory irritation when exposure is prolonged. Having corn plants dotted around an office helps improve overall air quality and reduce sick building syndrome symptoms in employees.

Stress Reduction

Research has also demonstrated that simply having plants in an office can help reduce physiological and psychological stress in workers. Interacting with the corn plant and other greenspaces during breaks creates sensations of comfort, relaxation, and naturalness. This in turn boosts self-esteem, optimism, and feelings of tranquility.

One study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology showed that working alongside plants lowered blood pressure and heart rate in participants. So corn plants literally help calm employees down!

Increased Productivity

With cleaner air and lower stress levels, it’s no surprise that employees working in offices with plants consistently demonstrate higher productivity levels. One analysis revealed that participants working in rooms with plants showed a 15% quicker reaction time on computer tasks compared to those in plant-free rooms.

Plants also help workers concentrate for longer periods with fewer breaks in attention. This combination of effects results in higher daily output and greater focus while working, both highly desirable office traits.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with the Corn Plant

The corn plant, with its graceful, arching leaves, adds a tropical flair to any indoor space. However, even this relatively easy-going plant can develop issues. By understanding the most common problems, you can quickly diagnose and treat any ailments to restore the health of your corn plant.

Explaining the Usual Suspects Behind Brown Leaves

If the tips or edges of your corn plant’s leaves turn brown, the culprit is likely either under or overwatering. These plants prefer soil that is consistently moist but not soggy. Allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out between waterings. If you tend to forget when you last watered, try marking the pot with the date after each watering to stay on track.

Low humidity can also cause brown leaf tips. Corn plants thrive in 40-50% relative humidity. Use a humidifier nearby or place the pot on a pebble tray filled with water to increase moisture in the air.

Adjusting Care to Stop Further Damage

If you suspect you’ve been overwatering, allow the soil to completely dry out before watering again. Check for root rot, indicated by black, mushy roots, and trim off any affected areas. Repot in fresh, well-draining soil if necessary.

For underwatering, give the plant a thorough soaking and let the excess water drain fully from the drainage holes. Mist the leaves, place on a pebble tray, or use a humidifier to provide an immediate humidity boost while the plant recovers.

Prevention Through Proper Care

The best defense against corn plant issues is proper care from the start. Allow filtered sunlight, water only when the top few inches of soil are dry, and keep humidity around 50%. Remove any yellow or dying leaves promptly to retain strength in the healthy leaves. Repotting every 2-3 years in fresh soil also promotes vigor.

By observing your plant closely and making small adjustments as needed, you can maintain a thriving corn plant for years of enjoyment.

Fun Facts and Trivia about the Corn Plant

Corn has a long and storied history. It was first domesticated in Mexico nearly 9,000 years ago and has since spread across the world, becoming one of the most widely grown crops globally. Here are some fascinating facts about this versatile plant:

Ancient Significance

  • Corn was sacred to many ancient Mesoamerican cultures such as the Maya and Aztec. It represented renewal and sustenance.
  • The Aztec goddess Chicomecóatl was the deity of corn and fertility.
  • Ancient Peruvians made corn beer called chicha which is still produced today.

Global Importance

  • After wheat and rice, corn is the world’s third most planted cereal crop.
  • In the US, around 85 million acres are planted with corn annually.
  • Corn is grown on every continent except Antarctica.

Fascinating Features

  • Each corn kernel has its own silk thread connected to the cob.
  • The average ear of corn has 800 kernels in 16 rows.
  • Corn plants can grow over 20 feet tall in favorable conditions.

From ethanol to sweet corn on the cob, this versatile plant continues to be an important staple around the world. Understanding its history and uses can give us insight into the past and future.


To summarise, the corn plant is a versatile and attractive addition to any office space. With its lush green foliage resembling sweet corn, it brings a touch of nature indoors. As a tropical plant that enjoys warm temperatures and bright, filtered light, the corn plant thrives near sunny windows.

Caring for a corn plant is straightforward – allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out between waterings, provide humidity, and fertilize monthly during the growing season. By following a few simple care instructions, anyone can enjoy the air-purifying and stress-reducing benefits of this plant.

For those looking to incorporate the corn plant into their workplace, companies like Aztec Plants offer convenient plant hire. They deliver healthy, mature plants in decorative planters and provide ongoing maintenance. Contact them today to learn more!

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