A member of the Agave family, corn plant is native to tropical Africa where it is used as fence posts. The plant has rough-textured multiple stems that grow up to six feet tall, and have broad, arching leaves that resemble those of corn. The glossy foliage is fragrant when the plant is mature and may be greenish-yellow or greenish-white striped. Corn plant does well indoors because it tolerates both low light and neglect. Place it under a skylight or near large windows and it will make bold statement. As a bonus, it will help reduce levels of pollutants such as as formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.

Type: Herbaceous perennial used as house plant

Bloom: Inconspicuous; panicle of small fragrant flowers opening pink and turning white.

Foliage: Glossy, broad, arching, fragrant; greenish-yellow or greenish-white striped.

Size: 6’ H x 8’ W

Light: Filtered light of 400-800 foot candles; avoid full sun or leaves will fade; if light insufficient, leaves will droop and become dull.

Soil: Keep evenly moist; plants like humidity of 50% or higher.

Care: Cut off diseased or damaged foliage. If leaf tips or edges become brown, cut off the dead tissue leaving a small edge of brown (cutting into healthy tissue will cause further deterioration of the leaf.)

Fertilizing: Apply a complete fertilizer such as 6-10-4 at half-strength during the growing season every other week from early spring to late fall.

Pests and Diseases: Extremes in soil moisture may cause leaf drop. Scale and spider mites may indicate dry conditions that can be addressed by frequent misting or setting the plant on moist pebbles. Make sure that the plant is away from heat or cooling vents. To control infestations of scale and spider mites, wash leaves with soapy water and rinse; use insecticidal soap, systemic houseplant granules or pest sprays for severe or persistent infestations. Salt intolerant indicated by leaf tips turning brown.

Propagation: Stem cuttings 4-8” long; allow to dry and then place in moist sand.

Outstanding Selection: ‘Massangeana’ (bright yellow central stripe).

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By Karen