We independently select everything we recommend. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

Dracaena fragrans

Corn Plant

A decorative corn plant, also known as a maize plant, is a tropical plant popular for its attractive foliage.

Dracaena fragrans
  • Dracaena fragrans
  • Dracaena fragrans
  • Dracaena fragrans
  • Dracaena fragrans
  • Dracaena fragrans yellow leaf
  • Pruning a corn plant

Other names for this plant...

Cornstalk Plant Ribbon Plant Happy Plant Fragrant Corn Plant Massangeana Ribbon Dracaena

About Corn Plants

These plants do not require much maintenance and can thrive in bright, indirect light, or low light conditions, making them a good choice for homes or offices with limited natural light.

Decorative corn plants are a beautiful and low-maintenance way to bring a touch of green into your home, improving air quality and lifting your mood.

Dracaena fragrans
Photo: IndoorPlants.comCorn plants (Dracaena fragrans) are a beautiful and low-maintenance houseplants.

It is known for its tall, upright leaves that resemble corn stalks, hence the common name "corn plant." These plants are typically grown as ornamental houseplants and are not the same as the cereal crop corn (Zea mays).

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has studied the ability of various plants, including corn plants (Dracaena fragrans), to remove harmful pollutants from indoor air.

Dracaena fragrans
Photo: IndoorPlants.comThe botanical name for the Corn plant houseplant is Dracaena fragrans.

Botanical Name

The botanical name for the corn plant houseplant is Dracaena fragrans, commonly known as "corn plant." The Dracaena corn plant is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae.

Plant Type

The corn plant is a broadleaf evergreen shrub or tree. Broadleaf evergreens have wide, flat leaves that remain green year-round.


The corn plant is native to tropical Africa.


Decorative corn plants typically have long, narrow leaves that grow in a fan-like arrangement. The leaves can be green, variegated, or striped, adding an attractive element to any room.

Dracaena fragrans
Photo: IndoorPlants.comThe Corn plant has long, glossy, and strap-shaped leaves that range from dark to lime green.

Types Of Corn Plant

Several cultivars of Dracaena fragrans are commonly grown as indoor ornamental plants, including:

  • Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana' - This cultivar has green and yellow striped leaves and is commonly known as the "Corn Plant."

  • Dracaena fragrans 'Lemon Lime' - This cultivar has green and yellow variegated leaves, giving it a vibrant appearance.

  • Dracaena fragrans 'Janet Craig' - This cultivar has solid green leaves and is one of the most common types of the corn plant.

  • Dracaena fragrans 'Warneckii' - This cultivar has green leaves with a white margin and is often used as a tabletop or desk plant.

Dracaena fragrans
Photo: IndoorPlants.comThe Dracaena fragrans is one of the most popular Corn plant varieties.

Corn Plant Styling

There are several ways to style the corn plant to create a visually appealing and attractive indoor display. Here are some tips and suggestions:

  • Choose a pot that is proportional to the size of the plant. A larger pot will allow the plant to grow taller and bushier, while a smaller one will keep it more compact and manageable.

  • Corn plants can be trained to grow as a single stem, giving them a more tree-like appearance. Alternatively, they can be kept bushy and compact by regularly pruning the top of the plant.

  • Corn plants can be grouped with other plants, like ZZ plants, Philodendron, or Pothos to create a beautiful indoor display.


Corn plants grow best in bright, indirect light but tolerate lower light levels. Place your plant near a window that provides bright, filtered light or an artificial light source.

Do not place it in direct sunlight, as this can burn the leaves.


Water your corn plant when the top inch of soil feels dry. Avoid over-watering, as this can cause the plant to become root-bound and stunt its growth. Ideally, keep the bottom part of the soil moist but not wet.

Use a pot with drainage holes.


Dracaena fragrans prefers a temperature range of 60°F to 75°F. It can tolerate a wider range of temperatures but will not thrive if exposed to temperatures below 50°F (10°C) for an extended period.


Corn plants prefer higher humidity but can tolerate average household levels. If the air in your home is particularly dry, you can increase the humidity levels by placing a tray of water near the plant or using a humidifier.


Dracaena fragrans grows well in a well-draining, loose potting mix rich in organic matter. A potting soil consisting of equal parts peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite works well.


Prune your corn plant regularly to control its size and shape. Cut back the top of the plant to promote bushiness and cut off any yellow or dead leaves to keep the plant looking its best. When pruning, make clean cuts just above the leaf nodes, taking care not to damage the trunk.


Corn plants should be fertilized every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Reduce or stop fertilizing in the winter when the plant enters its dormant period.

Height & Growth

The size of the corn plant can vary depending on the growing conditions and the cultivar. However, in general, corn plants can grow to be several feet wide. As indoor plants, they typically reach between 3 and 6 feet tall, although some can grow taller if given the right conditions.

The plant's growth can be slowed by maintaining a smaller pot size, pruning regularly, and providing adequate but not excessive light.


Corn plants are generally considered safe for people unless ingested in large quantities.


Decorative corn plants are toxic to pets.

Common Problems

  • Yellow stripes on leaves can indicate over-watering, underwatering, or a nutrient deficiency. Monitor the soil moisture level and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. If the yellowing persists, consider applying a balanced fertilizer.

Please note the lower leaves may turn yellow and fall off over time. This process is natural as the plant grows and matures and is nothing to be concerned about.

  • Brown leaf tips on the leaves can indicate low humidity, dry air, or fluoride toxicity. Increase the humidity levels by placing a tray of water near the plant or using a humidifier. Avoid tap water high in fluoride, and use distilled or rainwater instead.

Dracaena fragrans yellow leaf
Photo: IndoorPlants.comDracaena plants may shed older leaves to conserve water and nutrients.
  • Root rot can occur if the soil is consistently wet, causing the roots to become saturated and unable to absorb oxygen. Reduce watering and allow the soil to dry out slightly before watering again. If the root rot is severe, you can try to save it by repotting it with fresh, well-draining soil, but in most cases, root rot kills the plant.

  • Pests: Corn plants can be susceptible to spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. Regularly inspect the plant and treat any infestations promptly to prevent them from spreading.

Thrips are tiny, narrow insects that can be a problem for corn plants. They feed on leaf sap, causing damage and discoloration. Thrips can also spread plant diseases and create a sticky residue on leaves, making the plant unattractive.

To control thrips, clean up plant debris and use insecticidal soap or spray with neem oil.

  • Stunted growth can result from insufficient light, low humidity, or over-fertilization. Adjust the growing conditions and consider repotting the plant in fresh soil and a larger pot.

Pruning a corn plant
Photo: IndoorPlants.comPrune away any damaged leaves, careful not to damage the trunk of the plant.

How To Propagate Corn Plants

Propagation of corn plants can be done by division or stem cuttings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are corn plants easy to care for?

Corn plant care is considered fairly simple, and they are a good choice for houseplant beginners. They are slow-growing, low-maintenance, and adapt well to various conditions, making them a great option for those new to plant care or with busy schedules.

How poisonous is a corn plant?

Corn plants are considered slightly toxic to humans and pets if ingested. The plant contains saponins, which can harm dogs, cats, and other small animals. Ingestion of the plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. If you suspect your pet has ingested any part of a corn plant, it is important to contact a veterinarian immediately.

What is the difference between corn plant leaves and corn stalks?

The leaves of a corn plant are long and narrow, with a cylindrical shape and a glossy green appearance. In contrast, the leaves of a corn stalk are flat and wide, with a distinct rib running down the center of each leaf.

Can corn plants act as air purifiers?

Yes, corn plants (Dracaena fragrans) are known to be effective air purifiers. They help to remove pollutants and harmful chemicals from the air in your home, making it a healthier place to live. Corn plants belong to the Dracaena genus, which removes indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.

Articles about this plant