- Corn, Ornamental Corn
- Ornamental Corn Uses: Tips For Growing Ornamental Corn
- Ornamental Corn Varieties
- Growing Ornamental Corn
- Harvesting Ornamental Corn
- Ornamental Corn Uses
- How to Grow and Harvest Indian Corn
- Growing Indian Corn
- A Little History
- Saving Seed Is Easy
- Growing And Harvesting Your Corn
- Additional Growing Tips
- Mini Decorative Indian Corn 12 per order
- Gourds, Indian Corn, and Craft Materials
- Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Indian Corn
Corn, Ornamental Corn
The fall is a big decorating season for homeowners, and our lineup of ornamental corn seed varieties is one of the very best. Ornamental corn is easy to grow in home gardens and they are very popular items at roadside stands and farmers’ markets. It has unlimited uses for dried arrangements, wreaths, swags and other crafts.
Home Garden Growing Tips: Ornamental corn can be grown much the same way as sweet corn, using the same cultural and fertilization practices. Specific planting instructions can be found on the variety package.
Fresh Market Grower Tips:
Halloween has now eclipsed all other holidays as sales leader for the grower-retailer. While pumpkins may be king of the hill, there are a host of other products, including ornamental corn, broom corn, cornstalks, and popcorn, that will bring in additional income to both wholesale and retail markets.
If growing everything you sell is already a challenge, seek out other growers in your region who will grow and wholesale fall ornamental products to you directly. If you do sell direct, try to make your location a destination by creating interesting arrangements and product offerings. Create an environment that exudes warmth and charm. Your customers will be impressed and they’ll look forward to returning to your place of business year after year.
Average Seed Count: Refer to each specific variety.
Ornamental Corn Uses: Tips For Growing Ornamental Corn
Ornamental corn plants can be implemented in a variety of decorative schemes to celebrate Thanksgiving or Halloween or just complement autumn’s natural hues.
There are six types of corn: dent, flint, flour, pop, sweet and waxy. The color of the ear has nothing to do with its classification; instead, corn is grouped by kernel type (endosperm). Most ornamental corn varieties are derived from pop type corn as a result of its smaller ears more suitable for indoor decorative purposes. Also called ornamental Indian corn, there are a multitude of ornamental corn plants valued for ear size; plant height; or color of kernel, husk or stalk.
Ornamental Corn Varieties
There are a great number of ornamental corn varieties owing in part to the easy cross pollination among the species. Some, although not all types, of ornamental corn varieties are as follows:
- Outdoor maze varieties – Maze corn, Broom Corn and Big
- Small eared varietals – Indian Fingers, Miniature Blue, Little Boy Blue, Cutie Pops, Miniature Pink, Little Bo Peep, Little Miss Muffet, Cutie Pink, Robust Ruby Red and Little Bell
- Large eared types – Autumn Explosion, Autumn Splendor, Earth Tones Dent, Green and Gold Dent, Indian Art and Shock Dent
Growing Ornamental Corn
Ornamental corn plants, just as sweet corn or field corn varieties, freely cross-pollinate and should therefore be isolated. So, one of the first things to consider when growing ornamental corn, if sowing more than one type, is to maintain a physical separation of 250 feet or greater and plant varieties whose maturation date is at least two weeks different.
Purchase disease resistant seeds or starts from a reputable nursery. When growing ornamental Indian corn, it is essential to have well-draining soil. Areas of sod that have been in fescue are ideal arenas for ornamental corn plants; however, an application of organic insecticide might be wise at planting time as their later harvesting date leaves them especially vulnerable to insect invasion.
Ornamental corn seeds should be planted after soil temps have reached 55-60 F. (13-16 C.) and in most areas between May 15 to May 25 for a September harvest. Sow the ornamental corn plant seeds to a depth of 1-2 inches deep and 8-10 inches apart for small eared varieties and 10-12 inches apart for large eared. Planting rows should be about 30-42 inches apart. Hoe between rows or apply an herbicide to control weeds.
Harvesting Ornamental Corn
Ornamental corn is harvested by hand after the husk has dried and when the ears are no longer green but dried slightly and fully mature. To harvest, break the ears off with a quick downward tug leaving the husk on to finish drying over the course of a week. After the weeks drying period, the husk may be removed for ornamental purposes.
Ornamental Corn Uses
The primary purpose for growing ornamental corn is for its decorative aspects. The beautiful fall colors of the ears and husks lend themselves to holiday and autumn wreaths, floral arrangements and groupings combined with festive, long lasting miniature pumpkins, gourds and hay bales.
Another of ornamental corn uses is its addition as a late fall, early winter food source for the critters in the home garden. Deer, groundhogs, raccoons and birds all enjoy dining on ornamental corn.
How to Grow and Harvest Indian Corn
One true sign of autumn and all that comes with the changing season is the sight of Indian corn. Indian corn has been a staple of table decorations everywhere for generations. The colorful and historical centerpiece of choice for many is easy to grow in your own yard or garden space. With some basic care, the Indian corn you grow will be something to be proud of.
Step 1: Prepare a Plot
The right season for planting Indian corn is early in the spring time when the temperature is sure to stay at 60 degrees or more. Once you are ready to plant your Indian corn you will need a plot of land for it to grow into healthy stalks. Ideally, you will need a space large enough to hold four rows, each 4 feet long and 25 inches apart. You can accomplish this in a raised garden bed as well. Keep in mind that Indian corn does best in full sun.
You do want to keep the Indian corn separate from any sweet corn you are attempting to grow to avoid cross pollination.
Step 2: Gather Materials
The first thing you will need to do when attempting to grow your own Indian corn is to purchase your seeds. You can do it online or from various seed catalogs. You can also use Indian corn that you may have already purchased from the local farmer’s market or garden store. Simply choose the largest kernels from the cob and place them in a sealed plastic bag; store them in a cool and dry indoor location until you are ready to use them.
Gather all other necessary gardening equipment that you enjoy using or are accustomed to using.
Step 3: Prepare Soil and Plant Seeds
When the time is right, plant the Indian corn in rich soil that good drainage conditions. Plant the seeds at a depth of approximately ¾ inch and 4 to 5 inches apart. Your rows should be approximately four feet long and 24 to 26 inches apart. The point is to plant densely to allow for pollination to occur naturally with the wind. If you want to keep solid colors, be sure to plant the colors away from each other. Otherwise, expect to see some beautiful and unique speckling of the corn.
Step 4: Maintain the Indian Corn
It will take about 3 months or more for the Indian corn to reach its full maturity. In the mean time, you will need to thin the seedlings and keep the soil rich by applying clippings or mulch around the plants. The Indian corn also requires frequent watering.
Step 5: Harvest the Indian Corn
To properly harvest the corn, wait until the husks have no more green. Shuck the corn and air dry.
You will be able to enjoy your home grown Indian corn for the rest of the fall and winter seasons. You can even store it away and use for next year.
Growing Indian Corn
Article: Growing and Harvesting Indian Corn
March 5, 2009
Many gardeners are surprised to learn that there’s no special secret to growing Indian corn. If you can successfully grow sweet corn in your garden, then you can grow Indian corn, too. If you normally use Indian corn as part of your fall decorating scheme, instead of boxing it up and putting it into storage until next year, why not use some of it as seed corn for next year’s garden?
A Little History
Historically speaking, Indian corn, also known as Calico corn or Flint corn, is a grain native to the Americas. The rise of corn as a staple in Western diets came only after Native Americans gave seeds to early English colonists, teaching them how to grow and harvest it. When distinguishing it from other grains, the colonists referred to it as “Indian corn” because it was so unlike any of the grains they were used to eating back in England. Needless to say, Indian corn quickly caught on and the rest is history. Today, the United States uses more farmland to grow corn than it uses to grow any other grain. Advertisement
Saving Seed Is Easy
At the end of the fall season, simply select the largest, best looking ears of corn and put them into plastic bags until next spring. Make sure the bags are airtight and tuck them into a dark cupboard or your pantry. If you’re not using Indian corn for fall decorating, seeds are available online (heirloom varieties are best) or you can find seeds and dried cobs at garden centers, feed stores, harvest festivals, or from farmer’s markets. It’s probably best to avoid purchasing Indian corn from craft stores as the cobs may have been sprayed with shellac or other preservatives, which will compromise the performance of the seeds.
Growing And Harvesting Your Corn
The growing requirements for Indian corn are essentially the same as they are for other types of corn. The biggest difference is probably the length of growing season needed. Start your Indian corn as soon as possible in the spring. Most types of ornamental corn require at least three months or more to reach maturity. Advertisement
Additional Growing Tips
- Plant your corn in full sun as soon as the soil temperature warms up. Temperatures above 60 degrees F are needed for germination.
- Plant kernels in rich soil in a well-drained location. Use grass clippings or straw to mulch around the base of emerging stalks. Seeds should be planted at a depth of 1/2 to 1 inch deep and initially spaced 4 to 6 inches apart. When seedlings emerge, thin to 8 to 12 inches apart. Water in well. Continue to water deeply throughout the season, especially during ear production.
- Corn is pollinated by wind. To aid in cross pollination, plant corn in dense blocks consisting of at least 4 rows that are each 4 feet long (rows spaced 24 inches apart).
- Corn varieties all cross pollinate readily with one another. Plant different varieties that you don’t want to cross pollinate (such as sweet corn) two weeks apart, or spaced a minimum of 100 feet apart preferably, on opposite sides of the garden.
- Harvest your corn in the fall until the husks have lost all their green. The kernels should be firm to the touch and dry. Pop husks off the stalk and hang the cobs up to air dry for a week or so after shucking.
Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? October 9, 20130 found this helpful
I did everything you said to do, but when I picked it the ears were not filled out and the corn was not colored. What happened?
Reply Was this helpful? October 9, 20160 found this helpful
That happened to me a bit this year. I got several filled out ears but many that weren’t. I takes time for the color to come out, and if you pick too soon, the kernels may appear white. I tried hand-pollination – taking tassels and “dusting” the pollen onto the silks.
(You can do a google search of “corn hand pollination” to find out more.) I think it did help with some ears, but I still had several ears that weren’t completely filled out. I may have to plant earlier next year to give the corn more time to mature. We’ll see! Reply Was this helpful?
Mini Decorative Indian Corn 12 per order
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- Indian Corn, Size: Mini Indian Corn, Type: Decorative Indian Corn with Husk – Grade A, Color: Natural Indian corn variations, Length of Corn without husk: 2-5 inches each, Buy More and Save: 6, 12,or 300 Indian corn per order
- Also Available: Grade B Indian Corn – Most corn is 2-5 inches long. This is corn with missing kernels and not up to our high product Grade A standards. Great for seeds, projects that don’t require all the kernels in the cobs.Grade C
- Indian Corn – Most corn is 2-5 inches long. Most corn will have at least 15 missing kernels. Great for seeds, bird feeders, or projects that do not require the husk or all the kernels in the cobs.
- Mini Indian corn is a natural product. There are no two exactly alike and they are all beautiful.
- Return Policy Note: You may return most within 5 days of delivery for refund. All returns must be pre approved and be given a return authorization number (RAN) and correct return address to be accepted. To allow returns we can only do so for a short window because of the delicate nature of our dried plants and flowers.
Gourds, Indian Corn, and Craft Materials
Please note that prices listed below do not include shipping and prices may change without notice. We also offer volume pricing. Please contact us for current pricing and shipping information.
Small or Large dried gourds
Ornamental Types Mini Pear, Nest Egg, or Spoon.
Hard Shell Types Indonesian Bottle, Apache Dipper, Banana, Basketball, Chinese Bottle, Mini Bottle, Kettle and Mini Kettle, Bushel Basket, Flat Bushel, Cannonball, Corsican, Martinhouse, Maranka, Penguin, Santa Clause, Banana, Short and Long Handle Dipper, Zucca, Goose, Big Apple, and African Wine Kettle
Minature Indian Corn
Mixed color single ears, husks pulled back, packed any count 3 – 6 in. average
Baby ears 3 in. & under
Also available: All blue or pink ears
Single ears, no husk, sold by the pound 3 – 6 in. typical (approximately 9 to 12 ears per pound)
Bunches of three, without tags, packed any count
Contact Us for current pricing
Large Indian Corn
Mixed color, No. 1 single ears packed any count, husks pulled back Over 7 in. long
7 in. & under
Mixed color, No. 1 ears, bunches of three, packed any count
Contact Us for current pricing
Mixed colors – taken from miniature or large Indian corn, your choice $7.50 per lb.
From mini Indian corn, mixed color $0.08 ea.
From large Indian corn, mixed color $0.12 ea.
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by Gary Mount
One of the things that I like best about farming is that just when I am getting complacent – feeling that I know all about farming- some new knowledge or new crop comes along that puts me in my place. I become challenged, intrigued and determined to learn all that I can.
Each year I seem to find another new and interesting crop to grow but this year’s most interesting crop is one I have been growing for many years-Indian Corn. That’s the old-time name for it, coming from the colored varieties grown by western Native Americans and ground into flour. In fact Pam and I were once recipients of blue cornbread baked by Fred and Donald Fox of Princeton from flour they ground themselves on a bicycle-powered grinder.
Today’s politically correct name is Ornamental Corn, but somehow Indian corn seems better. A friend who described himself as the Indian Corn Champ of Pennsylvania approached me this year. He has been breeding Indian corn since he was ten years old and actually put himself through college by growing Indian corn! This might seem far-fetched except that some 15,000 ears of Indian corn grow on one acre. Figure 25 to 50 cents an ear- you get the picture.
It has become difficult for my friend to continue his Indian corn work on his family farm in Pennsylvania. Not only does he now live near me here in New Jersey, but also he works about eight days a week. He and I formed a “partnership.” All around the edge of the Terhune Orchards pumpkin patch this year are a total of eight different varieties of his Indian corn – giant, miniature, popcorn, red, multicolored, green husk, purple husk. All summer he has been checking the corn. Each type is planted in four rows and is by itself so that the wind can blow pollen from one plant to another- thus pollinating each kernel on each ear, but not onto another type of Indian Corn. That would result in a genetic mix-up and unpredictable looking corn.
It turns out that genes are everything in corn growing and especially Indian corn growing. My friend has been checking for genetic traits such as disease and insect resistance, color of the husk, height, size of the ear and relative maturity date. In September, he will harvest some of each and check for color of the kernel and shiny or dull appearance. Amazingly, regular yellow field corn and red Indian corn only differ by 1 or 2 genes. Then he will make the final choice of what seed to save to plant again next year. Hopefully this year’s seed will yield a better result than last year’s, next year’s seed will be better than this year’s, and so on.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Indian Corn
The sound of rustling leaves and the aroma of smoke from wood-burning fireplaces are hallmarks of autumn. Really, the fall harvest season wouldn’t be complete without ears of Indian corn embellishing the decor in homes and businesses. From wreaths to centerpieces, Indian corn seems to be everywhere in October and November. Everywhere, that is, except on a dinner plate. It’s corn, but can you actually eat it? And where did it come from?
According to folklore, these colorful ears were named after the indigenous people of North America. They’d been cultivating it for years when they introduced it to the Europeans who arrived in the Western Hemisphere in the 15th century. But “Indian corn” isn’t exclusive to the North American continent. Experts say that it grew in China, India and South America for centuries. And our ancestors didn’t decorate with it — they ate it.
Unlike the typical niblets or corn on the cob that you serve at mealtime, Indian corn isn’t sweet. It’s also got a pretty starchy texture when it’s cooked. You could compare it to hominy, which is used to make grits. Indian corn can be ground to make flour, or the whole kernel can be reserved for popcorn. Ears with larger kernels are typically used for flour or cornmeal production, while those with small, pointy kernels are perfect for popcorn.
But Indian corn’s texture and composition aren’t the most unusual things about it — its color is. Most of us are used to seeing bright yellow or golden ears of corn. How could blue, red, gold and yellow kernels co-exist on the same cob? The Indian corn you commonly find at the grocery store is one of several hybrid varieties developed within the last 50 years. These calico-patterned or speckled varieties of Indian corn result from cross-pollination of single-shaded plants. In addition to the multicolored ears, there are solid ears in shades of white, ruby, blue and black.
With names like Strawberry Popcorn and Blue Corn, who could resist trying to plant Indian corn in their own garden? Luckily, it’s pretty easy to grow — both the big ears and miniature 2- and 4-inch varieties. You can buy the seeds at garden supply centers or get them through mail-order. Pay close attention to planting instructions; planting rows of solid-colored corn too closely will produce calico-colored ears. But if you’re the adventurous type, let the seeds fall where they may.
If you’re growing Indian corn for ornamental use, be sure to wait until the husks are no longer green to pick them, then let the ears dry for about a week. Once that’s done, you can store them at room temperature for four to six months. Some people like to coat Indian corn with lacquer to give it a shiny appearance while others prefer the plant’s natural look. And if you want to have another Indian corn harvest next year, at the end of the season, pick the largest, healthiest seeds from each cob and store them in metal, animal-proof containers.