The Q&A Archives: Corn Plant

Question: I have a Corn Plant that I grew from one leaf. I rescued it in 1987 and now it is 15+ feet tall. The leaves are all the way from the botton to the top. I only have about 4 more feet left and it will hit the ceiling. What do you do with a plant that grows too tall for the inside? Can it be topped and still survive? No one seems to want it as it is a single plant and not in a grouping. I wish I had a green house!

Answer: Dracaena fragrans, or corn plant is a rugged individual and if the light is just right, it will flower when it's mature.

If your corn plant is too big you can propagate by 1) Air Layering - see for more details on this.
2) Taking cane cuttings. Pieces of stem 2" or 3" in length are laid horizontally on a seed compost with the lower half buried. The cutting should have at least one node (point where a leaf or bud would be attached and any leaf bud pointing upwards. Alternatively place the cutting upright with the lower end buried.

3) Remove the crown of leaves from the leggy stem and plant in a potting compost using a rooting hormone powder and providing bottom heat.

Once you have a plant of just the right height, you can maintain its appearance by pulling out the very center of the new growth it develops.

Dracaena fragrans is a native of Tropical Africa where it can reach 50 feet in the wild where it also produces fragrant yellow flowers followed by orange-red fruits. The name Dracaena comes from the Greek 'drakaina' a dragon.

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