Dracaena fragrans (also known as Corn Plant) is an ornamental, slow-growing shrub, generally reaching 4 to 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide when grown in containers. In outdoors, the Dracaena fragrans plants can achieve heights of 20 feet. The leaves are glossy green, lanceolate, 20 – 150 cm long and 2–12 cm wide, small leaves are erect to spreading, and larger leaves usually drooping under their weight. The flowers are produced in panicles 15 – 160 cm long, the individual blossoms are 2.5 cm diameter, with a six-lobed corolla, pink at first, opening white with a fine red or purple central line on each of the 7–12 mm lobes, they are highly fragrant, and popular with pollinating insects. The fruit is an orange-red berry 1–2 cm diameter, containing several seeds. The cultivars of Dracaena fragrans include Massangeana, which features strap-like foliage with a central yellow stripe. The corn plant is effective in the removal of formaldehyde from indoor air. Dracaena fragrans is toxic to children and pets.
Scientific Name: Dracaena fragrans
Common Names: Corn Plant, Cornstalk dracaena, False palm.
How to grow and maintain Dracaena fragrans (Corn Plant):
Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans) grows best in the bright and indirect light. But cannot tolerate full sun. The intense direct sun will burn the leaves. In Indoors, keep the plants in an east- or west-facing window out of direct sun or in a shaded southern window. They can be put outside during the spring and summer months as long as the location remains shaded.
Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans) thrives best in organically rich, consistently moist, well-drained soils. Use a loamy, peaty, well-drained potting soil.
Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans) prefers ideal room temperature between 65 – 75°F / 18-24°C. Under 55°F/12°C is going to harm the plant which may become noticeable if the leaves begin curling. Try and avoid the plant being near cold drafts, which will also cause harm.
Water regularly, during the growing season. Always keep the soil moist, but not soggy. In winter, reduce watering. Allow the top 2 inch of soil to dry slightly to touch between waterings, but never allow the soils to totally dry out.
Fertilize your plant once every two to three weeks, during the growing season with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Corn Plant can be easily propagated by stem tip cuttings. Take 4 – 6-inch stem tip cuttings in spring or summer and pot them in the moist potting mix. You can also cut a new or old rosette and re-plant it. After replanting keep the soil moist and mist the leaves which will encourage the plant to grow. A tall plant can be propagated using the air layering method.
Prune it back in spring or early summer to control its growth. You can cut off the cane at any height. It will sprout a new cluster of leaves from where it was cut. Expel the lower leaves when they begin to yellow.
Re-pot the corn Plant once very 2 -3 years during the spring season.
Pests and Diseases:
Corn Plant has no serious pest or disease problems. Look for spider mites, mealy bugs, thrips, and scale. The most widely recognized plant diseases that affect Dracaena fragrans are fusarium root and stem rot.