Whenever you think about growing corn, the first thing that comes to your mind is wide, open green fields filled with corn. The thought of this will make you dismiss the idea of growing the plants if you do not have a yard. Fortunately, we have a solution for you. Did you know that corns can be grown in containers right in your balcony, patio, or rooftop? Well, they might not be as productive as the ones grown in the field, but they will still grow. The secret is to plant them in large containers, not less than 12 inches deep and wide.
Dwarf varieties of corn are the best to grow in containers, as they do not grow very tall.
Some of these varieties include:
- Strawberry corn
- Sweet painted mountain
- Sweet spring treat
Here is a Step by Step Guide on How to Grow Corn on Pots
1. Choosing the Right Pot for Growing the Plants
For proper growth, select a container that is large enough to accommodate your plants. The plants can reach a height of up to 5 feet. The container should have drainage holes at its bottom to drain excess water. Containers come in different types. You may choose one made of clay, plastic, wood, and terracotta. The material of the container does not matter, as long as it is of the right size and has drainage holes.
Best Large Pots for Growing Your Corn
2. Place the Plants in an Ideal Location
Select a good spot for the plants, as it will be very challenging to move them from one place to another since they will be so heavy. Corns do well under full sunlight. Place your containers where they will receive full sunlight. The area should be protected from the wind, too, as the plants grow tall and can easily be broken by strong winds.
3. Select the Right Soil
Put loamy potting mix in our container. Add compost to the soil and mix them well. The mixture will provide an ideal growing condition as it is well-draining. Corn is a heavy feeder and will require nutrients even during planting.
4. Planting the Corn Seeds
Buy corn seeds from reliable dealers. You can sow up to 6 seeds in a single pot if it is large enough. Sow the seeds 2.5 cm deep. Corn is usually pollinated by wind. Planting them closely will encourage pollination. The container you plant your corn should be its growing space all through since corn plants do not transplant well.
5 Best Selling Corn Seeds
5. Watering the Plants
After planting, ensure the soil is always moist. Continue this until the seeds start to sprout. After that, reduce the frequency of watering as excess water may lead to your plants developing root rot. You can mulch your plants so as to conserve moisture.
6. Adding Fertilizer and Compost
You can choose to add organic fertilizers to your plant. Still, use inorganic fertilizer. You should only add fertilizer ten weeks after sowing.
Top Rated Organic Fertilizers
7. Pollinating Corn Plants
For a corn plant to produce kernels, the silk must get pollinated. If pollination does not take place, the silk will produce an immature kernel. If you do not have a lot of corn plants and you fear pollination might fail to take place, you can pollinate the plants yourself. Simply get pollen from the tassels and place them on the silk. To collect them, hold a bucket near the tassels of several corn plants and shake them. Spread the collected pollen in the silk of your plants. Repeat the process at least twice for effectiveness.
When provided with adequate water and exposed in sunlight, corn will be ready for harvest three months after planting. However, how long the plant will take to grow highly depends on the variety of corn. Some types take longer than others.
To know whether your plants are ready for harvest, you only need to do a visual inspection. Matured corns have dried tassels. Their kernels produce a milky substance when pinched.
Pests and Diseases
Corn plants are rarely affected by pests and diseases. However, there are times when the following pests will attack them:
1. Corn Ear Worms
Corn worms lay eggs on the silk of corn. The eggs hatch into larvae, get inside the husk, and damage the developing ears. Apply a mixture of water, dish washing liquid, and vegetable oil to the ears in case you notice the ear worms on your plant.
2. Corn Root Aphids
the the pests are light green in color. They attack the roots, causing the yellowing and stunting of the plant. To get rid of corn root aphids, apply herbicides on your plant.
3. Seed Corn Maggots
Seed corn maggots are usually cream in color. They damage the seeds before they sprout. Seed corn maggots mostly attack kernels when they are planted very deep in the soil.
4. Fall Army Worms
Fall army worms feed on the foliage of the corn, its ears, and its stalks. In worst cases, the pests bore the cobs of the corn.
5. Wire Worms
Wire worms are brown or yellow. When you look at them closely, they look like a joint wire. Wire worms attack the roots of corn plants and damage them.
6. Corn Sap Beetles
The beetles lay eggs that hatch and get inside of the kernels. Always plant approved seeds that are resistant to the pests.
Diseases that affect corn plants
7. Root Rot
Root rot makes the plants stunted. It is often as a result of growing the plants in soggy, cold soils.
8. Corn Smut
Corn smut is a condition in which whitish spongy growths forms on the corn ear. After some time, the growths turn black and open. Corn smut mostly affects weak corn plants. Get rid of the growths immediately you notice them spread to avoid further damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Corn plants will still grow without additional fertilizers. However, you can add a fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphorous for your plants to flourish and produce better kernels.
Watering corn frequently is essential. Water your plants when the soil feels dry. Inadequate watering may result in your plants not producing full-sized ears. Reduce the frequency of watering during winter, so that the soil does not become soggy and inhibit the proper growth of your plants.
Soil compaction and over watered soils create unfavorable conditions for growing corn, which results in stunted growth. Corns growing in nitrogen-deficient soils do not get tall too.
Growing corn indoors can be more challenging than growing them outdoors. When growing corn indoors, place the plants near a window since they require a lot of sunlight to flourish. Use fluorescent or glow lights to supplement the natural light.
Remember to pollinate your plants since there is no wind to aid in the process.
If the soil is very cold and wet, the seeds may fail to germinate. Still, if the seeds have been attacked by certain pests such as seed corn maggots, they will not germinate.
It is possible to grow corn in containers. With adequate watering, exposure to the sun, and protection from pests and diseases, you will enjoy corn right from your balcony, rooftop, or patio. The yield may not be very high, but growing your plants comes with great satisfaction.