The Q&A Archives: Corn Plant

Question: I just bought a plant which I have always known as a corn plant. I am not sure if it needs direct light or indirect light. I also want to know what would be the best fertilizer to use. It is in a 16" pot and stands about 7'.

Answer: Corn plant can be either Dracaena or Cordyline, as they are both sold under that name. Whichever you have, the care is similar; average household temperatures (minimum 55F in winter), light shade (close to an east or west window is ideal), moist during spring and summer (but reduce watering in the winter). Mist the leaves regularly to provide humidity during spring and summer. Common problems include leaves with brown tips and yellow edges (caused by dry air), yellowing lower leaves (natural for older leaves to yellow and fall off), leaves with brown spots (underwatering), and leaves with bleached, dry patches (overexposure to sun). Move your plant to a different location if needed, correct the watering practices, and mist the leaves every few days to help your new corn plant thrive.

You can fertilize during the growing season (spring through summer) with a diluted liquid fertilizer. Use a half-strength dilution and feed every 3 weeks in place of a regular watering.

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