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How To Propagate Corn Plants

Corn plants (Dracaena fragrans) are relatively easy to care for and add a touch of tropical greenery to your home. Propagation methods to create new plants from your existing corn plant include stem cuttings, beheading, air layering, seed propagation, and leaf cuttings.

Step-By-Step Instructions For Propagating Corn Plants

Propagation of your existing corn plant is an excellent way to expand your indoor garden and share new plants with friends.

Here are step-by-step instructions for some of the most propagation methods for corn plants:

Stem Cutting

Stem cutting is the most common and easiest way to propagate indoor corn plants.

  1. Choose a healthy Corn Plant with a sturdy stem and several lower leaves.

  2. Using clean shears, snip off a 6-8 inch stem just below a node where a leaf was attached.

  3. Remove the lower leaves on the stem, leaving only a few leaves at the top.

  4. Dip the stem in rooting hormone to encourage root growth.

  5. Plant the stem in a pot with potting mix and perlite, burying the cut end in the soil.

  6. Create a mini greenhouse effect by covering the pot with a plastic bag and keep the soil moist, but not soggy.

  7. Place the cutting in bright, indirect light and wait for new growth to sprout from the stem.

  8. After a few weeks, check for root growth by gently tugging on the stem. If it resists, roots have formed.

  9. Once the new plant has grown a few inches and is established in the soil, remove the plastic bag and continue to care for it as you would any corn plant.


Beheading, or "topping," is another method for propagating indoor corn plants that involves removing the top part of the plant and allowing it to grow new shoots. This method is best used on tall plants that have outgrown their space or become too leggy.

Beheading rejuvenates the plant and promotes fuller, bushier growth. To behead an indoor corn house plant:

  1. Use a sharp knife and make a clean cut to remove the entire top of a stalk.

  2. Place the cutting in water or soil and wait for new growth.

Many plant owners that use this propagation method place the stalk in a large vase of water to wait for new roots.

Beheading corn plants is the most common propagation method, and it also gives the plant its distinctive look.

Air Layering

Air layering involves creating a small wound in the stem of the indoor corn plant and then wrapping it with moist sphagnum moss to encourage root growth. This method is best used on larger, woody plants that are harder to propagate by stem cutting.

  1. Select a healthy stem to air layer the plant and make a small cut or nick in the bark.

  2. Wrap the wound with moist sphagnum moss and cover it with plastic wrap. Over time, roots will develop from the wound, and you can cut the stem below the rooted section and plant it in the soil.

While air layering is a more involved propagation method, it is a reliable way to create new plants from older, established corn plants.

Seed Propagation

Seed propagation is a less common method of propagating indoor corn plants, as it is challenging and time-consuming.

  1. Collect the seeds from a mature plant and plant them in a suitable growing medium. The seeds must be kept moist and warm, and they take several weeks to germinate.

  2. Once the seedlings have emerged, they must be transplanted into individual pots and grown under appropriate conditions.

Seed propagation is best suited for experienced gardeners willing to invest the time required.

Leaf Cuttings

Using leaf cuttings is another less common method of propagating corn plants.

  1. Select a healthy leaf and cut it into several pieces. Each piece should have a section of the leaf and a small section of the stem.

  2. Place the cuttings in soil and keep them in a warm, humid location.

Over time, the cuttings will develop roots and new growth. Leaf cuttings is a more experimental propagation method, as success rates can be lower than other methods.

Leaf cutting propagation is a less common method.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Does The Indoor Corn Plant Originate From?

Dracaena fragrans, commonly known as the indoor corn house plant, is a popular houseplant from tropical Africa.

What Are The Main Characteristics Of The Plant?

It is a low-maintenance plant that lives in diverse light conditions, from indirect sunlight to low light. Avoid leaving it in a place that receives direct sunlight.

How Do I Care For My Dracaena Fragrans?

Dracaena plant care starts with providing well-draining potting soil and good drainage holes to prevent overwatering and root rot. During the growing season, fertilize it with a balanced fertilizer and use a humidifier or mist the leaves to keep them healthy.

Yellow leaves or leaf tips could be a sign of over- or under-watering. 

What Are Some Useful Details About The Household Corn Plant?

Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana' is a popular cultivar of the Dracaena plant, with distinct yellow stripes on its green leaves. While the Dracaena plant is pest-resistant, it is still prone to spider mites or mealybugs. If you notice any plant problems, quarantine the plant and treat it with a pesticide.

Overall, Dracaena plants are a great choice for indoor plant enthusiasts who want to add a touch of tropical greenery to their homes.

While some Dracaena species may have succulent-like qualities, such as the ability to store water in their leaves or stems, they are not classified as true succulents.

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