Updated: October 10, 2022

Corn is an important staple crop worldwide. It is grown primarily for its grain, which is used for food, animal feed, and fuel. As with any plant, corn goes through different stages of growth as it develops. Understanding these stages can help farmers and gardeners properly care for their crops and maximize yields. In this article, we will discuss the different stages of corn stalk plant growth.


The first stage in a corn stalk plant’s life cycle is germination. This occurs when the seed absorbs water and begins to grow. The seed sends out a root that anchors it in the soil and takes up water and nutrients. A shoot emerges from the seed and grows above ground. The shoot contains two leaves that will eventually become the plant’s first set of true leaves.

Vegetative Growth

Once the corn plant has established its roots and its first two leaves, it enters the vegetative growth stage. During this stage, the plant grows rapidly and develops additional leaves. The number of leaves increases with each new stage of growth, with about one new leaf appearing every three to four days. The leaves become larger and wider as they develop.


The tasseling stage marks the beginning of reproductive development in the corn plant. At this point, a spike-like structure called the tassel emerges from the top of the plant. The tassel is covered in tiny flowers called florets, which contain pollen. As the tassel grows, it sheds pollen onto the silks that emerge from each ear of corn on the plant.


Once the tassels emerge from the corn stalk plants, pollination begins. Pollen from the tassels falls onto the silks that grow from each ear of corn, fertilizing them. Each silk leads to a kernel on the ear of corn, so adequate pollination is essential for a good yield. Pollination usually occurs within a week of tassel emergence, and it is important to ensure that the tassels are healthy and shedding pollen properly during this time.

Ear Development

After pollination, the ears of corn begin to develop. The kernels grow larger and fill out, and the ears themselves become more prominent. The leaves on the corn stalk plant begin to turn yellow as the plant transfers nutrients from the leaves to the developing kernels. This process is known as senescence.


The final stage of corn stalk plant growth is maturity. At this point, the kernels are fully developed and ready for harvest. The leaves on the plant have turned brown, signaling that the plant has reached the end of its life cycle. The moisture content of the kernels is an important factor in determining when to harvest corn. Corn harvested too early will have a high moisture content, while corn harvested too late may have lost some of its quality.


How long does it take for a corn stalk plant to mature?

Corn stalk plants typically take between 60 and 100 days to reach maturity, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

How can I tell if my corn plants are healthy?

Healthy corn plants should have strong, dark green leaves and sturdy stalks. They should be free from disease or insect damage.

Can I grow corn in a small garden?

Yes, you can grow corn in a small garden as long as you provide adequate space and sunlight. Corn plants should be spaced about 12 inches apart in rows that are at least three feet apart.

When should I harvest my corn?

Corn should be harvested when the kernels are fully developed and the moisture content is between 20% and 25%. This usually occurs about 20 days after silking. You can test the moisture content by squeezing a kernel; if it pops easily, it is too wet, but if it dents, it is ready to harvest.

What are some common pests and diseases that affect corn plants?

Common pests that affect corn plants include corn earworms, cutworms, and aphids. Diseases that can affect corn plants include gray leaf spot, southern rust, and northern corn leaf blight.