Can You Grow Corn In A Pot?

Can You Grow Corn In A Pot?

Corn, or maize, with the scientific name Zea mays, is a popular food source for people and livestock. This tall, annual cereal grass was first domesticated by the indigenous people of Southern Mexico. It has many benefits, being gluten-free, high-fiber and a good source of antioxidants. Corn is easy to propagate, and you can grow it in your backyard or in containers. Keep reading to learn about growing corn in a pot. 

Can you grow corn in a pot?

Yes, you can easily grow corn in a pot, given the right resources. Below are the steps for doing so.

Select your corn variety. 

There are several varieties of corn that you can cultivate, and they differ in texture, taste, height and kernel structure. 

The varieties include:

  • Sweet corn 

This type is tender and juicy and considered the perfect side dish. It is typically yellow but it can also come in other colors like brown and red. 

  • Popcorn 

This type of corn has kennels that are hard and brittle. The popcorn most of us know is yellow-orange, but it may also come in blue. 

  • Flint corn

This corn has a hard outer layer with a glassy appearance and a gummy-like texture. It pops when heated, just like popcorn, but this variety is usually used as hominy for tortillas.

  • Flour corn 

This type is often cultivated in the southwest part of the United States. It is starchy but soft, and can be made into finer cornmeal. It has a sweet taste and if you steam or grill it you can eat it off of the cob. 

  • Dent corn 

Many farmers grow this variety for use as animal feed and processed food. Also called field corn, it is considered the most commonly raised corn in the US. This type dries up and its soft center shrinks, making the kernel appear dented; thus the name. It can be dried to make hominy, and can also be used for cornmeal. 

Know the right time or season for planting. 

Corn is a warm-weather or tropical crop and it should be planted after the final frost. Be sure to wait at least one to two weeks after the last frost date to be certain that frost will not affect or kill your new plants. 

Choose the right pots for your corn.  

The ideal container should measure at least 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide. This is considered the minimum size for corn to thrive. Common pots include clay and plastic containers, but you can also use barrels, wooden crates, laundry baskets or garbage cans.

You may need several pots or containers, depending on how many corn plants you want to cultivate and the size of pots that you select. See to it that there are enough drainage holes in the bottom of the pots. These plants need moisture, but do not like standing in water. Make holes in the bottom of the pots if there are no existing drainage holes. 

Find the right spot.

Be sure to place your corn plants in an area where they can get at least eight hours of sunlight daily. Corn is a warm-weather crop and needs plenty of sunlight to thrive. These plants can also be used as privacy walls, since the stalks grow tall quickly. Container-grown corn can reach up to eight feet tall, while those grown in gardens can reach 15 feet. 

Prepare the soil for planting. 

Corn prefers soil that retains moisture and does not dry out too quickly, but make sure the soil is well-draining so that it does not become soggy or waterlogged. An ideal type of soil is peat-based potting soil. 

You may opt to add compost, well-composted chicken manure, fish emulsion or an all-purpose fertilizer to the soil before planting the corn. This will enrich the soil with nutrients that the plants will need during their first few weeks of growth. Corn is a heavy feeder that uses a lot of nutrients, so the soil will need to be replenished. 

Plant the corn seeds in the pot.

Plant four to six corn seeds per pot. The seeds should be planted at least one inch deep and covered gently with soil. It is okay to plant the seeds relatively close to one another, since sowing seeds closely helps with pollination, resulting in more fruit. 

Plant the seeds about six inches apart along the outer circle of the pot, at least three to four inches from the container’s edge. Make sure that the seeds are watered well once planted, and let the sun do the rest of the work. 

It takes around 10 to 14 days for corn seeds to germinate in temperatures of 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It will only take about six days if the temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit and above. 

Conclusion 

Corn is commonly propagated the world over because of its many uses as a food source for people and livestock. There are many varieties of corn and it is easy to grow, either in your garden or in a container. If you plan to grow corn in a pot, simply follow the steps discussed above.

Image: istockphoto.com / kurmyshov