Zea mays japonica

Departments - Culture

A how-to production guide

June 6, 2011

Zea mays japonica
‘Field of Dreams’ is a real eye-catching ornamental corn with a strong white stripe running through the pink tinged green leaves. More compact and branching than existing varieties, it is ideally suited to use as the centerpiece of a mixed container or in a landscape display bed. Plants reach a height of 60-72 inches and spread of 12-18 inches. Plants can take warm temperatures and are relatively drought tolerant.

  • Seed can be sown into 128 or larger plugs or directly into finished containers. Use a well-drained growing medium with a pH of 5.8-6.5 and an electrical conductivity of 0.75 mmhos. If sown in plugs, do not allow the plants to become root bound because this will impact the plant height and habit. The seed should be covered. A starter fertilizer charge in the germination mix is recommended.
  • Maintain a growing medium temperature of 72°F-75°F and keep the medium moist until radical emergence (one to two days). Keep the medium evenly moist throughout the plug stages. Temperatures can be lowered gradually (not below 60°F) to slow growth and control height. Damping off can occur when the medium is kept too wet and cool. Plugs can be fertilized with 100-150 parts per million nitrogen from a well-balanced fertilizer.
  • Germination usually occurs in seven to 10 days. 128 plugs are ready for transplant in one to two weeks. Plants can be finished in 4- to 6-inch pots.
  • Don’t allow the temperature to drop below 50°F to avoid iron and phosphorus deficiency. Warmer temperatures result in a shorter crop time and taller plants. Grow plants under high light levels to improve plant quality, encourage branching and foliage color.
  • Maintain an evenly moist medium. Water stress can lead to narrow leaves, shorter plants and reduced ear size. Feed with 150-225 ppm nitrogen from a well-balanced fertilizer. Avoid an excessive nitrogen level which can reduce leaf variegation.
  • Growth can be controlled by light level, water management and temperature. Aphids are the only potential pest problem.