‘Corn Plant’, Dracaena fragrans – Details, Growing Tips
‘Corn Plant’, ‘Cornstalk’, ‘Cornstalk Dracaena’, ‘Dracaena Massangeana’, ‘Mass Cane’, ‘Happy Plant’, ‘Dracaena Fragrans’, ‘Money Tree’
Scientific Binomial Name
Description of ‘Corn Plant’, Dracaena fragrans
The ‘Corn Plant’ or sometimes called ‘Dracaena Massangeana’ is a cultivar of Dracaena fragrans.
The Dracaena fragrans massangeana has yellow stripes in the center and green along the outer edges. The Dracaena fragrans lindenni has the colors reversed with green in the center then yellow and green stripes on the outer edges.
This plant grows with one or more canes (stems) and then produces new stems and a crown of leaves near the top of the cane. Since new growth appears only at the top of the cane it gives the appearance of a tree. They can be cut at the top as soon as they reach a suitable height. New growth will appear. These plants are sometimes described generically as ‘false palms’. It is hardy and easy to care for.
Mature Size: Using the largest pots these plants can reach up to 6 feet. Outside under ideal conditions these may grow to over 49 feet tall.
Outside Spacing: 18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
Uses: Can grow to over 6 feet tall so it is often used as a centerpiece in a foyer in a home or office. Outside they are often used in above ground planters, as a hedge plant and along borders. Grown as a hedge the stems may become horizontal with erect side branches.
Patent: Not patented
Growing Conditions for ‘Corn Plant’, Dracaena fragrans
Light: Do not place these in direct sunlight. They do best with a mixture of indirect sunlight and shade. It can tolerate low light conditions indoors. If the leaves start to look scorched they are receiving too much sun.
Temperature: Ideal temperatures are 60°F (15°C) – 75°F (24°C). This plant does better when it is not near cold drafts.
Humidity: These do fine with normal room humidity levels. If it is too dry you will start to notice small blemishes on the leave. Misting is an easy way to prevent blemishes if you do not have a way to increase the humidity but do this very sparingly.
Soil: Mildly acidic pH 6.1 to 6.5. You may use a commercial potting soil designated for indoor tropical plants. These mixtures normally have a combination of peat moss, loam and either vermiculite or perlite.
Flowers: Rarely blooms indoors but in its natural habitat it blooms with fragrant flowers. The flowers start out pinkish and they open to a creamy-white with purple or red lines.
Hardiness Zones: 10b, 11
General Care for ‘Corn Plant’, Dracaena fragrans
Water: Let the soil dry before watering. In the winter water even less. If it becomes too dry you will start to see brown on the tips of the leaves.
Fertilizer: If needed from April – September use a diluted liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.
Pests and Diseases: Watch for thrips and mealybugs. An occasional quick washing of the leaves usually prevents pests and disease.
Pruning: Lower leaves need to be pruned when they turn yellow which is a normal part of the plants growth. You may also cut off the top stem (cane) when it has reached the maximum height you desire.
Propagation: The easiest way to propagate is with stem cuttings. It is best to attempt this in the spring or summer.
Repotting: The ‘Corn Plant’ does occasionally need repotting. You should repot when the root ball fills the container and starts to lift the plant. If you repot to a larger container you typically may have 2-3 years until you need to repot it again.
Signs of Stress and Poor Health
It is not common for these to flower indoors but if they do the leaves may start to brown and eventually die. You can try cutting the plant back and it may sprout new growth.
Be careful to note that newly purchased plants are often susceptible to overwatering. These cane-like plants are usually not well-rooted and are overwhelmed with too much water.
Medicinal and Other Uses
Toxic to children and animals.
Dracaena fragrans was one of the plants studied by NASA and proven to remove harmful toxins from indoor air. It will remove most known toxins including benzene, xylene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.
The Missouri Botanical Garden website states, “Dracaena fragrans, commonly known as corn plant, is a popular, durable, easy-to-grow indoor houseplant that is native to tropical Africa. Although it may soar to 20’ tall or more in its native habitat, it more often is seen in the 4-6’ tall range as a container plant in the U.S. Rosettes of evergreen, parallel-veined, sword-shaped, bright green leaves typically grow to 2’ long and 3” wide indoors in containers, but may reach 3’ long in outdoor locations. Over time, plants lose their lower leaves revealing bare stems. Fragrant, tiny, white-yellow flowers in round heads appear in terminal panicles. Flowers may be followed by red berries. Flowers and berries rarely appear on indoor plants, however.”
As you can see the Corn Plant makes a great indoor houseplant that is easy to care for.