Got soil, got a container, got a balcony, rooftop, or a stoop? If the answer to these is yes, then you have all the ingredients necessary to create a mini garden. Thereby the answer to “Can you grow corn in containers?” is a resounding “Yes!”
How to Grow Corn in a Container
First of all, when growing corn in pots, you must select a container. Use your imagination. Not only will a clay pot work, but lined wooden crates, garbage cans, laundry baskets, barrels, etc. will all suffice. Just be sure they have adequate drainage and are big enough to support fully-grown corn plants: at least 12 inches (30.5 cm.) wide and over 12 inches (30.5 cm.) deep. Only about four corn plants will fit with room to grow in a 12-inch (30.5 cm.) pot, so you may need several depending on available space. The next step for container-grown corn is to select the variety of corn. Consider not only what you prefer either for ornamental purposes or for taste, but also varieties suited for growing corn in pots. Corn pollinates via the wind and can cross-pollinate very easily. For this reason, it's best to select and plant just one type of corn variety. Corn plants that produce shorter stalks are a good bet for growing corn in pots. Some examples of these are:
- Strawberry Popcorn
- Sweet Spring Treat
- Sweet Painted Mountain
- Chires Baby Sweet
You may want a fast-growing variety of corn such as BonJour or Casino, or if you live in an area with cooler, short-growing seasons try Painted Mountain. Super sweet varieties of corn are:
- Sugar Pearl
- Xtra Tender
Use container garden soil specifically formulated to retain moisture and add a bit of fish emulsion or other all-purpose fertilizer to the mix. Space the corn seeds 4-6 inches (10 to 15 cm.) apart, four seeds per container, about an inch (2.5 cm.) deep into the soil media. If planting multiple pots of corn seeds, space the containers 5-6 inches (12.5 to 15 cm.) away from each other.
Care of Corn in Containers
There's nothing complex regarding the care of corn in containers. Corn needs full sun and warm soil, so situate it in an area that gets six or more hours of full sun, ideally against a wall that will retain heat and reflect light. Water regularly in the morning with a 10-10-10 fertilizer added once the plants are 2 feet (0.5 m.) tall. Water the corn again in the evening. Mulching around the plants with wood chips, newspaper, or grass clippings will also aid in water retention. With sunny days and fairly minimal care, you should be reaping your corn bounty from your own front steps or lanai in no time.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.
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