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Zone
Zones 2-43, H1, H2
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Zea mays

Ornamental corn
Poaceae (Gramineae)
Annuals, Ornamental grasses and grasslike plants, Decorative fruit or berries

Some kinds of corn are grown for the beauty of their shelled ears rather than for eating. Calico, Indian, Squaw, and Rainbow are some names given to strains with bright-colored kernels—red, brown, blue, gray, black, yellow, or mixed colors. ‘Indian Summer’ has brightly colored, edible kernels. Grow ornamental corn well away from sweet corn; mix of pollen can affect the latter’s flavor.

For ornamental display, grow like sweet corn, but let ears ripen fully; silks will be withered, husks will turn the color of straw, and kernels will be firm. Cut the ear from the plant, including 1 1/2 in. of stalk below the ear; pull back the husks (leave attached to the ears) and dry thoroughly.

Zea mays japonica includes several kinds of corn grown for ornamental foliage. One occasionally sold is ‘Gracilis’, a dwarf corn with bright green leaves striped white.

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