How Long Will it Take My Corn to Grow?
One of the most common questions people have when planting corn is how long it will take the plants to grow. However, as is the case with many other garden plants, there is no one set answer to that question. Many factors come into play when determining how long it takes a particular plant to grow, and this is also true of corn.
Variety of Seeds Planted
The variety of corn you plant is the first element when you are trying to figure out how long it will take it to grow. For example, some super-sweet hybrids mature in as little as 60 days, while a different type may not mature for 100 days.
If you are growing field corn for animal feed or popcorn for winter snacking, you are looking at anywhere from 100-120 days to maturity.
Tip: You can plant sweet corn every two weeks until August in most regions. Staggering your planting allows you to have fresh corn throughout the growing season.
Soil and Air Temperature
Another critical factor in how long it will take your corn to grow is what the soil and air temperatures are when you plant. The minimum soil temperature for planting corn is 55°F (13°C), and corn planted at this temperature usually does not germinate for up to three weeks. Corn is not cold-tolerant, so the colder the weather, the longer it takes the plants to develop. Typically, people who are growing corn on a large scale plant early to free up time for other farm chores.
Most gardeners wait until the soil has warmed to about 60-65°F (16-18°C) to plant their corn. The air has to be at least 65-70°F (18-21°C) for about a week before the soil reaches the optimal temperature.
Tip: You can buy a soil thermometer at your local nursery if you want to be sure your soil is warm enough.
Nutrition and Water
Adequate nutrition is critical to the growth of your corn. Even if you plant the perfect seeds at the ideal time, your corn plants will not grow as well if you do not provide enough of the following:
- Nutrition for the plants to thrive. Since corn is a heavy feeder, using a nitrogen-based organic fertilizer at regular intervals will give your plants the boost they need.
- Water. Although corn plants thrive in hot weather, they also need an ample water supply to go along with it. You should water your corn plants a minimum of twice a week, more if the weather is extremely dry.
- Sunshine. You should plant your corn in an area with full sunlight.
Although figuring out how long it will take your corn to grow may seem complicated, you can get most of the information you need by reading the back of a seed packet or asking a neighborhood gardener. Once you know the basics, you will be able to plant successfully for years.