Caring for a Young Corn Plant

For gardeners of all skill levels, late spring and early summer are busy times. Although there are many favorite vegetables and fruits, corn is one of the most-planted seeds. Once you have planted corn seeds, it seems like an unbearable time to wait for the young corn plants to emerge. Once they do, the happy work of caring for them begins.


When Will My Corn Sprout?

The interval between planting your corn seeds and the emergence of seedlings can seem interminable. Depending on the soil temperature when you planted your seeds, germination can take as few as seven days and as long as 22 days.

Ideally, you should avoid planting your corn seeds until the soil temperature has reached a minimum of 60°F (16°C). If you do, you should see small sprouts in as soon as ten days. If you plant when the soil is cooler, the corn takes longer to germinate.

How Do I Care for Young Corn?

To be sure your young corn plants have an optimal growth medium, you need to supply the following things:

  • Ample sunshine. Corn grows best in full sun.
  • Abundant water.
  • Regular fertilization.
  • Weed control.
  • Pest control.

Tip: An organic fertilizer provides nutrients without adding harmful chemicals to the soil.

What Does Young Corn Look Like?

If you have never grown corn or have only seen it at a distance in a field, you may not know what to expect after germination. Once the plants have broken through the earth, you will see two small, bright green leaves that look like blades of grass.

As the plants grow and produce more leaves, you should also see one straight green shoot that will eventually be the stalk on which your ears will appear. Once the seedling is about as high as your knees and has produced approximately ten leaves, you can no longer consider it a young plant. Instead, it is rapidly reaching its full growth potential.

Tip: Remember that not all varieties of corn reach the same height at maturity. Be sure what kind you have planted if your corn does not seem to be growing as high as you believe it should be.

As long as you correctly tend your young corn plants, you can look forward to many fresh ears of corn at harvest time.