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Best Corn Plant Soil and Fertilizer for Healthy Growth

Corn plant (Dracaena fragrans) is the tropical habitant that thrives best in moist soil, not soggy after watering and little fertilizer.  

Generally, the Corn plant requires a well-draining, peaty, and moist potting mix for optimal growth. In addition, feed Corn plant with a diluted balanced liquid fertilizer or organic compost once or twice a year during spring and summer.

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.

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.

Dracaena Corn plant prefers loose, peaty soil that remains moist and has good drainage. It requires slightly acidic soil with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 6.5.

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.

RequisitiesOptimal Condition
Soil CompactionLoose Soil
TextureLoamy, dark and less compact
DrainageWell-Draining, 1-2 inches per hour
Water RetentionRequires a little retention during hot temperature

Over 40%
Soil pH6.0 - 6.5
Soil NutrientsProper 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.
corn plant soil
You should go for terracotta pots to give your Corn plant soil a better breathing space and fertilizer.
  • 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 1Recipe 2Recipe 3
One part of peat moss to maintain the moisture and pHOne part of potting soilOne-half of potting mix
Another part of vermiculite or perlite for proper drainageAn equal part of peat mossAnother half of the clay pebbles
An equal part of loamy soil for required nutrientsRemaining 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.
Due to the damaged soil, the oxygen doesn’t flow correctly in the plant foliage, thus resulting in yellow and droopy leaves.

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 MixesFeaturesProduct Image
Noot Organic Indoor Plant Soilless Potting MixBetter resistance to root rot
Handles sudden temperature changes
Noot Organic Indoor Plant Soilless Potting Mix
Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix 8 Qt.Comes with plant food included
Better protection against soil compaction
Improves drainage
Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix 8 Qt.
FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil MixComes with optimized pH suitable for Corn plant
Has aerated, light texture
FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix
Espoma Organic Potting Soil MixAdded worm castings
Works perfectly for repotting purposes
Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix

What Kind of Fertilizer does a Corn Plant Need?

The Corn plant needs fertilizer because the nutrients in the potting mix fade with time. After a certain period, the plant needs a certain boost in nutrients.

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.

You should fertilize your Corn plant with a water-soluble fertilizer twice a year, once during spring and another during early fall.

But the required frequency may vary with the light condition it gets. Let’s look at the fertilizing frequency.

Light ConditionsFrequency
Lot of LightFertilize every two months
Medium LightFertilize every four months
Low LightA 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.

corn plant flower
Corn plant may need apt soil and fertilizer to make it flowers.

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.

FertilizersFeaturesProduct Image
AeroGarden Liquid NutrientsPatented, pH buffering system great for all hydroponic applications.AeroGarden Liquid Nutrients
Dracaena Fertilizer | Indoor Plant Food |It helps with Corn plants optimized growth process from nitrogen fertilizer.Dracaena Fertilizer | Indoor Plant Food |
Dr. Earth Organic 5Contains no GMOs, chicken manure or sewage sludgeDr. Earth Organic 5
FoxFarm Liquid Nutrient Trio Soil FormulaIdeal for mature, late-season flowers and fruitFoxFarm Liquid Nutrient Trio Soil Formula

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 ScrapsHelps with moisture retention

The smell may be unbearable with time.
WeedsHigh in nitrogen contentIf the seeds and roots of the weed are not deadheaded properly, they can reproduce.
ManureGood amount of nitrogen

Helps in water retention
Can be too acidic for the soil if not composted
Tree LeavesMakes the soil lighter

Full of trace minerals
It can lead to nitrogen deficiency for a short period of time.
EggshellsLowers the acid content

Increases calcium in the soil
Their sodium content can harm the plant
Coffee GroundsIncreases the acidic content in the soilRoot growth can be hindered
Banana PeelsRich in potassium contentDecomposes 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.

Salt residues accumulated on the top of the soil surface soak all the water from the soil leaving the soil dry.

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.

  • Defoliation
  • 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.

According to Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, aphids and mites prefer the soil that has been fed with high nitrogen fertilizer.

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.

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