Whether you pick a common variety or something fancier like popcorn, growing corn in containers could be very rewarding.
Besides, growing corn in pots makes a perfect solution for typical urban gardens and small patios. However, you may need bigger containers for this plant.
Since the ideal setting to grow this marvelous crop is in wide-open fields under the full sun, you better utilize large pots when growing corn around your garden.
Even though growing one in containers might be difficult and less satisfying but it is possible. You just need to do some work, more planning, and give the corn plant extra attention.
If you are interested in growing corn in containers, the following information will help to make your dreams come true.
1. Corn Varieties to Grow in Containers
Before learning how to grow corn in pots, you better know that not all varieties of this plant will cultivate properly in containers.
You need to pick short-stemmed or dwarf varieties that tend to grow successfully in tiny spaces. Those that are specially formulated to cultivate in containers will be a good option as well.
Compared to their bigger counterparts, shorter varieties are more likely to perform better in pots. These compact choices include Sweet Painted Mountain and Trinity corns.
The above-mentioned varieties are bred for narrower spaces, so they require fewer nutrients and less room to cultivate properly.
If you are interested in growing corn in containers, a short-stemmed variety like this will have a higher chance of success. They are less likely to end up undernourished and stunted as well.
When they still need much attention as a pot crop, you will find it a bit easier to grow them on the patio.
For your further information, dwarf varieties won’t grow more than 1.2 to 1.5 meters in height. That’s why they make a good choice for growing corn in containers.
In addition to short-stemmed varieties, you can also opt for specialized container corns offered by several seed companies. They were bred particularly for pots, so growers will easily cultivate them.
Gurney’s Utopia and Burpee’s On Deck are among those specialized container corn varieties that are formulated to grow in containers.
Unluckily, these corn varieties are sometimes not compatible with natural or organic gardening. For example, every Gurney’s corn seed should be treated with fungicides and pesticides.
That’s why if you are interested in growing corn in containers that are safe and sustainable, look for another alternative than these varieties.
Meanwhile, Burpee’s On Deck seeds are typically GMO-free. However, if you grow them with organic gardening, they will not look like to be treated.
At this point, simply pick varieties that you trust are suitable for container gardening even though if they are not particularly made for it.
2. Pick the Right Containers for Growing Corn
Growing corn in containers can be tough, especially when it comes to picking the right bucket to plant this crop. The reason is simple: they just don’t want to be cultivated in a pot.
To this end, you should try to find a container that is as inviting as possible for the corn plants. Most experienced gardeners will suggest choosing a big container that is minimally 12 inches wide and deep.
If you opt for this size of the container, it is possible to grow around four corn plants at the same time. Just make sure that the bottom of your pot acquires adequate drainage holes.
Remember that growing corn in containers requires a pot with good drainage, depth, stability, and width.
You will not like a flimsy corn container getting broken once the plant grows tall. Thus, pick one that can offer some space and required drainage to cultivate well.
When you are shopping around, consider buying a whiskey barrel planter or big terracotta pot since both are ideal for growing sweet corn and other short-stemmed varieties.
3. Requirements for Growing Corn in Containers
Generally, corn plants require full sun, fertile soil, and plenty of water to thrive perfectly. For pollination, this crop will depend on the wind.
For this reason, you may consider planting this crop in a block of some short rows to allow for the best pollination process.
Moreover, it is also a good idea to mulch around the plant to preserve moisture. For growing corn in containers, mulching will help to keep weeds away as well.
You can opt for newspapers, grass, or wood chips to help avoid loss of moisture too.
When it comes to soil, you better provide your corn plants with one that can retain dampness without drying out rapidly.
However, the soil should still drain well enough so that it doesn’t turn out to be waterlogged or soggy.
Considering the above requirement, a peat-based potting soil will be the best option for growing corn in containers.
Since corn is a kind of social plant, you need to grow it nearby its friends so it can thrive properly. Besides, doing so will help this crop to generate healthy cobs too.
If you are willing to have an extra-large container, try to get a three-sister pot for optimum yields and health.
Because corns are air pollinated, pollen from one plant will fertilize those that are close to them when the wind breezes.
This pollination process emphasizes that growing corn in containers still requires them to be planted in a group and put nearby. As a consequence, they will be able to grow well in your pots.
You may like to consider picking a pot that can accommodate at least four corn plants for a good reason.
A round container that is around a foot in diameter and about 30 centimeters deep must be ideal for growing four corn plants.
In case you want to grow six corn plants at once, try to get a pot that is 18-20 inches in diameter and 30 centimeters deep.
For a whiskey-barrel planter, it is often capable to accommodate eight to 10 plants. Thus, you may also consider this kind of container to grow your corn.
Considering that you will pick a big container for growing the corn, a planter this size is less likely to be moveable. For this reason, place it in a very sunny spot for setting the plant up.
Think that corn plants typically crave sunlight when you are selecting a spot to put them around the garden or patio.
If you are interested in growing corn in 5-gallon buckets, try to place each container close to one and another for a proper pollination process.
Similarly, find a space in your patio or garden that receives full sun and uses it to place your corn buckets.
Moreover, when growing corn in containers around the patio or garden, you can take advantage of the plants as a privacy wall during summer too.
Since corn plants can grow tall very quickly, even in containers, you may like to plant them in May to let these crops screens your outdoor living space through the summer.
Corn plants in containers hardly ever thrive to the full height of field varieties that may reach 3.6-4.5 meters high. However, they can still grow up to 1.8-2-4 meters effortlessly.
4. How to Plant and Care for Your Corn
Before growing corn in containers, you should know that this plant is a heavy feeder that will saturate up all the nourishments it can locate.
That’s why farmers often discover that growing this crop in their fields may harm the soil if they are not paying attention to stock up the earth.
Then, how is growing corn in grow bags or pots? The good news is that you don’t have to be afraid of draining your garden soil.
However, you need to blend up some rich soil and carry on to feeding your corn plants during the season.
Try to begin with an excellent, loamy potting mix. Make sure that the mixture owns all the kinds of nutrients the corn will require.
Since corn tends to feed a great deal of phosphorous and nitrogen, you may like to boost these nutrients first before planting.
To boost your soil before planting the corn, simply mix in some healthy compost together. You can take advantage of well-composted grass clippings, fish emulsion, and chicken manure for this purpose.
After that, consider incorporating a gallon scoop of compost for a container with 30 centimeters diameter.
Then, blend the compost properly with the potting soil. It will provide your young corn all the nourishments needed for growing.
Once you are ready with the potting soil, it is time to fill your pot and plant the seeds to start growing corn in containers.
You have to plant the seeds around 15 centimeters apart along the outer loop of the container. Make sure to put them around 7-10 centimeters away from the edge of your pot.
Moreover, keep in mind that the corn seeds should be planted around 2.5 inches deep within the soil. Water them adequately and allow the sunlight to do the rest.
Your corn seeds will germinate in approximately 10 to 14 days in a cool region with 55-60 degrees temperature.
Nevertheless, if you live in a warmer area with 65 degrees or more, the seeds may germinate within six days after planting.
Water and Fertilizer
During the growing season, make sure to keep the soil moist since corn plants requires steady water to thrive.
Furthermore, growing corn in containers require you to water the pots several times a week.
You need to water your corn every day throughout hot, dry weather. At the time of fruiting, do the same to let the plant produce better.
By giving the corn plant enough water during the fruiting season, you provide it with the essential ingredient to generate sweet and soft produces.
Meanwhile, it is also critical to feed the corn around nine weeks after germination. You can opt for a nice fish emulsion for this purpose. However, any kind of plant food will be great too.
Feed your corn with a 10-20-20 or 1-10-10 of plant food. If you are utilizing a dry fertilizer, simply mix the nutrients into the soil.
Whether you are growing corn in containers or fields, make sure the plant food doesn’t directly touch the crop since it may cause burning.
Besides, you can also put in fertilizer 10 weeks after sowing. Simply dig a hole about one inch in diameter and depth around every corn.
After that, pour a half tablespoon of the fertilizer with the above formula in each plant and add it to the soil.
5. Harvest and Process Your Corn
Once successfully growing corn in containers, you will be able to enjoy the produces between 60 to 100 days. However, the harvesting time can be different since it typically depends on the weather conditions and the variety.
If you are growing container-friendly varieties, it is possible to harvest the corn somewhere around 70 days.
On the other hand, nearly all sweet corn varieties don’t generate any fruit over two ears of corn each plant. Then, if they are grown in pots, the yield might be less.
Harvesting corn from containers can be unsatisfactory. To avoid this issue and obtain bountiful produce, you should make sure to grow container-friendly varieties and water them with care.
Instead of planting one container only, maximize your garden space to grow several pots of four to six stalks each. Then, don’t forget to place them close to promote high rates of pollination.
After growing corn in containers and doing the hard work throughout the summer, you will know that the corn is ready to harvest when it is full.
You can check it by touching the ear’s tip. If it is still firm, this means the corn requires more time to mature.
Meanwhile, if the tip of the ear is blunt or rounded, and the silks are waterless, you can get ready to harvest the corn.
To conclude, if you cannot satisfied with only two ears of corn from your plant, don’t go for container gardening.
However, if seeing those towering, green stalks on your patio seems to be a great idea, growing corn in containers is probably right for you.