The Q&A Archives: Cross Pollination of Corn

Questioner's Location: Lisle, IL
Date: July 13, 1998

Question: I planted the new variety of corn, Ruby Queen and I also planted another SE variety according to the instructions so it would cross pollinate. I don't understand how this works, and if you plant two different varieties together that should not cross pollinate, does this mean you would grow an inedible variety of corn for human consumption?

Answer: There are several types of corn available, including the old "field corn", regular sweet corn, sugar enhanced (SE) corn, and super sweet (SH2) corn. Generally speaking, you can plant more than one variety of the same type together with no problems. If however, you plant one of the supersweet types with regular sweet corn, they will both produce edible ears, but the supersweet type won't be supersweet but more like a field corn quality.

If you wish to grow more than one type, you can do so by either isolating them at a distance of at least 30 rows (more is probably better), or by planting them at different times so they won't tassel and produce pollen at the same time.

Enjoy your corn!

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