Corn plant (Dracaena fragrans) is the tropical habitant that thrives best in moist soil, not soggy after watering and little fertilizer.
However, the amount and frequency of fertilizing may depend on the quality of soil, amount of light, and various other factors.
Let’s look deeper into that department and determine what type of soil and fertilizer the plants need.
Table of Contents Show
- What Kind of Soil do Corn Plants Like?
- How to Maintain Optimal Soil Condition for Corn Plant?
- Prepping the Potting Mixture for Corn Plant
- Common Signs that You are Using a Wrong Potting Soil
- Best Soil Mixes for Corn Plant: for Sale
- What Kind of Fertilizer does a Corn Plant Need?
- Store-Bought Compost Vs. Homemade Compost for Corn Plant
- How to Fertilize your Corn Plant?
- Overfertilization Symptoms in Corn Plant and Their Solutions
- From Editorial Team
What Kind of Soil do Corn Plants Like?
Proper soil mixture plays a vital role in shaping the plant’s growth. If the plant stands on high-quality soil, the growth will be mesmerizing.
But the soil quality and the efficiency depend on various soil factors. Let’s look at the basic overview of the soil required for the Corn plant.
|Soil Compaction||Loose Soil|
|Texture||Loamy, dark and less compact|
|Drainage||Well-Draining, 1-2 inches per hour|
|Water Retention||Requires a little retention during hot temperature
|Soil pH||6.0 - 6.5|
|Soil Nutrients||Proper amount of macro and micro nutrients|
How to Maintain Optimal Soil Condition for Corn Plant?
Avoiding the overwatering the plant is the first priority as too much saturation in the soil can make it compact. Besides, the following are the great tips to follow:
- To increase the soil aeration, you need to turn over the topsoil with a shovel and add organic matter to the soil.
- You can add a bit of perlite, vermiculite, humus, or sphagnum moss to the soil to maintain the moisture and let plants retain the water.
- Add compost or other organic matter to increase the soil drainage.
- You should feed the plant with a water-soluble fertilizer with a ratio of 3-1-2 with some zinc, copper, sodium, iron, and manganese content.
- Add some mulch in the winter season to maintain the soil temperature.
- If the soil is too acidic, add some lime and if it is too alkaline, add some ammonium sulfate to the soil.
- The immediate solution to most problems could be changing the potting soil altogether.
Prepping the Potting Mixture for Corn Plant
Corn plant requires a loamy but loose potting soil. You can find tons of them in the market.
But sometimes, you might now want to rely on those machines mixed potting soil and want to prepare some on your own.
Collect some materials required for the recipes: Coco Coir, Perlite, Compost, Pebbles, Sand, Peat Moss, and Vermiculite.
|Recipe 1||Recipe 2||Recipe 3|
|One part of peat moss to maintain the moisture and pH||One part of potting soil||One-half of potting mix|
|Another part of vermiculite or perlite for proper drainage||An equal part of peat moss||Another half of the clay pebbles|
|An equal part of loamy soil for required nutrients||Remaining part of the perlite|
Remember, preparing the wrong potting mix can send your plant to direct stress.
Common Signs that You are Using a Wrong Potting Soil
The Corn plant wants to stand in good potting soil. Sometimes it tells us by providing different signs.
- The soil may take more time to soak up the water whenever you water the plant. This phenomenon means that the soil has low water infiltration.
- Sometimes even if the infiltration is okay, the soil might hold up too much water. This is a clear indication that you are using the wrong potting mix.
- Due to bad drainage, no aeration, and wrong pH, the plant’s growth is stunted.
- If you collect the soil sample and give it to a lab test, you might find that the soil is contaminated. It happens due to human-made chemicals.
- The soil might give off a foul odor if the plant has incurred root rot or some pests attack.
- When the soil is kept moist for too long, and the drainage is terrible, it may form some mold and invite pests.
Best Soil Mixes for Corn Plant: for Sale
If you don’t want to make your hands dirty preparing potting mixes for your plant, you can also order some suitable combinations online.
|Potting Mixes||Features||Product Image|
|Noot Organic Indoor Plant Soilless Potting Mix||Better resistance to root rot|
Handles sudden temperature changes
|Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix 8 Qt.||Comes with plant food included|
Better protection against soil compaction
|FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix||Comes with optimized pH suitable for Corn plant|
Has aerated, light texture
|Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix||Added worm castings|
Works perfectly for repotting purposes
What Kind of Fertilizer does a Corn Plant Need?
Although the Corn plant doesn’t need much fertilizer due to its slow-growing pace, it might demand some when the plant is under stress.
But the required frequency may vary with the light condition it gets. Let’s look at the fertilizing frequency.
|Lot of Light||Fertilize every two months|
|Medium Light||Fertilize every four months|
|Low Light||A maximum of two times a year|
During winter, the plant goes into a dormant state. During this period, the plant may not take all the nutrients you provide. So it’s better not to fertilize the plant during winter.
While fertilizing, you should use a fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 3:1:2.
If you look for fertilizers for Corn plants in the market, you may find spike, granular, liquid, foliar, slow-release, etc.
- Liquid Fertilizer: This fertilizer is handy for Corn plants because they provide a concentrated and controlled application.
- Granular Fertilizer: Granular fertilizers are good if you have kept your plant outsides. They are slow-release, and they release nutrients with each rainfall.
If you ask my personal preference, I will go with liquid fertilizers.
They are handy for Corn plants because you can control the application, and they won’t make much mess around the house.
You can also mist the plant with liquid fertilizer.
Keep in mind that misting is not the substitute for watering. You need to resume your normal watering schedule even after misting.
Keep the nitrogen level in your fertilizer in check as too much urea can lead to urea-based plant damage like burning the foliage.
Store-Bought Compost Vs. Homemade Compost for Corn Plant
Whether to bring a compost from the store or prepare the compost at home must be a question lingering on your mind.
Look for the benefits and limitations of both below and decide for yourself.
1. Store-Bought Compost
To think practically, store-bought compost is easily the winner if you don’t want to go through the long process of preparing one yourself.
Store-bought compost provides you with choices on what nutrients to feed your plant. Also, if you have a lot of areas to cover, store-bought compost is easier to implement.
|AeroGarden Liquid Nutrients||Patented, pH buffering system great for all hydroponic applications.|
|Dracaena Fertilizer | Indoor Plant Food |||It helps with Corn plants optimized growth process from nitrogen fertilizer.|
|Dr. Earth Organic 5||Contains no GMOs, chicken manure or sewage sludge|
|FoxFarm Liquid Nutrient Trio Soil Formula||Ideal for mature, late-season flowers and fruit|
2. Homemade Compost
Buying a commercial compost is easy and handy, but preparing one for yourself is satisfying.
Homemade composts are suitable for the soil and the plant as they increase the plant’s moisture-retaining capacity, provide richer soil and suppress diseases and pests attacks.
Let’s look at the types of homemade fertilizers.
|Kitchen Scraps||Helps with moisture retention|
|The smell may be unbearable with time.|
|Weeds||High in nitrogen content||If the seeds and roots of the weed are not deadheaded properly, they can reproduce.|
|Manure||Good amount of nitrogen|
Helps in water retention
|Can be too acidic for the soil if not composted|
|Tree Leaves||Makes the soil lighter|
Full of trace minerals
|It can lead to nitrogen deficiency for a short period of time.|
|Eggshells||Lowers the acid content|
Increases calcium in the soil
|Their sodium content can harm the plant|
|Coffee Grounds||Increases the acidic content in the soil||Root growth can be hindered|
|Banana Peels||Rich in potassium content||Decomposes very slowly|
You can prepare a compost following a few basic steps at your home. Look below for some of them.
- Get all the required items to prepare a compost ready.
- Mix all the green (wet) items like leaves, manures, coffee grounds, etc., with the brown (dry) things like fallen leaves, dried tree branches, straw, etc.
- Thoroughly water the compost heap you made.
- Mix the heap thoroughly by using a row or a stick.
- Use proper gloves and glasses, and feed your plant with the prepared compost.
How to Fertilize your Corn Plant?
If your plant is under fertilized, it will show signs like dropping leaves, yellowing leaves, slow growth of the plant, and the leaves losing their shape.
There are two main methods to fertilize your plant: By soaking, By misting.
1. Misting Method
Misting is one of the most convenient and effective fertilizing with liquid fertilizers. You can spray foliar fertilizers directly into the plant using a mister.
- Prepare a fertilizer solution in a tub using water-soluble fertilizer.
- Prepare a mister and clean it if there are any residue or remaining particles.
- Fill the bottle appropriately with the prepared solution.
- Spray the fertilizer on the plant. Make sure not to miss the underside of the plant.
2. Soaking Method
You can use the soaking method to fertilize your plant. It would help if you gathered the necessary supplies like a measuring cup, watering can, or bucket.
- Get the fertilizers ready. Fill the can/bucket with water and add the fertilizers there. Stir it well.
- Ensure the water you use is at room temperature and the solution is diluted to recommended strength.
- Water the plants with the solution and do it until water peeps out of the drainage hole.
- Remember not to overwater the plant, or you might overfertilize it.
- Let the fertilizer sink in and resume your regular care.
Overfertilization Symptoms in Corn Plant and Their Solutions
The Dracaena Corn plant is not shy about showing the problems it will incur due to excess fertilizer in its soil. The effects may be severe and can lead the plant to stress.
Let’s look at the primary symptoms and their fixes.
1. Fertilizer Crusts on the Soil
The crust is white with a flakes-like appearance surfaced in the topsoil.
Thus, excess fertilizer can cause dryness in the soil, in turn and damage the Corn plant.
Excess salt buildup in the topsoil also invites other problems like yellowing and wilting of leaves, browning of leaf tips and margins,
You can follow the following methods to get rid of the crusts.
- Leaching the soil is one of the oldest and most effective methods to get rid of the crusts.
- You can also scrape off the crusts on the topsoil.
- If the damage is extreme and the ship has sailed, you must repot the plant to another container.
2. Fertilizer Burn
Due to minerals and salts in the fertilizers, the water and moisture in the soil get drawn out. If the plant doesn’t get the required water, it may succumb.
It would be best if you looked out for the symptoms of fertilizer burn.
- Curled and scorched leaves
- Root discoloration and rot
- Brown margins and leaf tips
- Stunted growth
- Soil salinization
The fertilizer burn may pose a serious threat and must be treated as soon as possible. Look below for how to treat the fertilizer burn.
- Flush out the excessive fertilizers with water for nearly a week.
- Remove the dead and damaged foliage from the plant. This way, you might help the plant disseminate energy to the required healthy parts.
- If you have done all the processes right, you will see the burn spots fade away, and the plant produces new green leaves in no time.
- You might have to repot the plant to a new container if the soil is damaged to the point of no return.
3. Slow or No Growth
Due to the overuse of fertilizers, some plants tend to stop growing or grow at a slower pace for some time.
With excess fertilizers, the plant’s growth gets a sudden boost. The foliage gets prominent and sturdy while the roots grow at their own pace.
The root cannot fulfill the plant’s nutrient needs. In such conditions, the plant grows slowly or suddenly stops growing due to a lack of nutrients.
If the problem is not fixed on time, it may lead the plant to sudden demise.
- Trim off the plant to reduce the volume of the plant and let the root fulfill the nutrient requirement.
- Water the plant enough and also feed it with nutrient-enriched plant foods.
- Stop the fertilization at once if you find the symptoms of slow or no growth.
- Always keep the root to the foliage ratio in check.
4. Pests and Diseases Attack
Although the plant is hardy, specific components in the fertilizers invite different pests and diseases in the Corn plant.
If you over-fertilize your plant, different nutrients available in the fertilizers house different pests.
The fundamental trick is to avoid fertilizing the plant with high nitrogen formula.
Another research by University of California says that the growth of powdery mildew can worsen due to the promotion of foliage growth by the fertilizers.
The primary purpose of the fertilizers is to promote the overall growth of the plant. Therefore, in such conditions, pests and diseases make their way home.
So, you need to prune the Corn plants, especially the infected leaves.
From Editorial Team
For the overall growth of Corn plant, the fundamental trick is to provide them with good soil and feed them with nutrients using a good fertilizer.
If you are careful enough with the provision, you will be rewarded with a beautiful plant.