How to Revive a Dying Corn Plant: Expert Tips and Tricks

Is your corn plant looking weak and unhealthy? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with expert insights on how to save a dying corn plant and bring it back to life.

Understanding the Causes of Corn Plant Decline

Before you embark on the journey to revive your dying corn plant, it is crucial to understand why it is struggling in the first place. There are several common reasons why your corn plant may be deteriorating. Let’s explore them together:

1. Insufficient Watering

Corn plants are not drought-tolerant. If the soil lacks moisture or the sunlight is intense, your corn plant may suffer and eventually die. Symptoms of drought-stressed corn plants include dry or brown leaf tips and patches on the leaves due to excessive sunlight. Assess your watering routine and sunlight exposure to identify if your corn plant is suffering from drought.

2. Lack of Nutrients

Nutrient deficiency can weaken and ultimately kill your corn plant. Nitrogen deficiency, for instance, can result in yellow or pale leaves, while insufficient potassium and magnesium cause wilting. Pay close attention to the nutrient needs of your plants, ensuring they receive the necessary fertilizers and amendments.

3. Unsuitable Temperature

Corn plants are tropical plants and cannot tolerate cold temperatures. If the temperature drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, your corn plant may exhibit signs of weakness, such as dropping leaves and falling stems. Low temperatures can also cause the leaves to become rough and flaky. Consider the season and weather conditions to determine if your corn plant is suffering from low temperatures.

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4. Disease

Corn plants are susceptible to various diseases, including soft rot and root rot, which can be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms such as wilting leaves, bad odor around the stem base, and yellowing of the plant indicate potential disease issues. Pests like fungus gnats and aphids can also attack your corn plant, particularly if it is suffering from root rot. Regularly amend your soil and potting mix and avoid overwatering to prevent diseases from affecting your corn plant.

5. Overwatering

While drought can harm your corn plant, overwatering can be equally damaging. Excessive water can lead to root rot, loss of leaves, weak stems, and even death. Corn plants do not require frequent watering but appreciate adequate moisture. Assess your watering practices, ensure proper drainage, and avoid overwatering your corn plant.

6. Insufficient Light Exposure

Corn plants thrive in bright light and can suffer if they do not receive enough of it. Signs of insufficient light include long and weak stems, one-sided growth, and pale leaves. Ensure your corn plants receive at least six hours of direct sunlight or supplement their light requirements with grow lights if necessary.

7. Natural Life Cycle

Keep in mind that corn plants are annuals and do not survive the winter when grown outdoors. They may also have a leaf lifespan of two to three years. If the lower leaves of your corn plant are dying, consider that it may be part of its natural life cycle.

Now that you are aware of the potential causes of your dying corn plants, let’s explore how to revive them.

Effective Techniques to Save a Dying Corn Plant

Reviving a dying corn plant requires a systematic approach. Here are some recommended tips and tricks to help you bring your corn plant back to life:

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1. Identify the Problem

Before taking any action, diagnose the problem affecting your corn plant. Determine if it is due to overwatering, lack of sunlight, disease, or nutrient deficiency. Assess the soil quality, temperature, and any history of plant loss. Once you know the root cause, you can proceed with the appropriate solution.

2. Trim Dead Parts

If your corn plant is suffering due to drought or sunburn, create the right growing conditions and promptly remove the dead and wilting parts. Leaving dying leaves and stems on the plant can attract fungi, further damaging the plant. After reviving your corn plant, always prune off the dying parts to encourage new growth.

3. Repot the Corn Plant

For corn plants affected by overwatering or disease, repotting is crucial. Transfer them to new, well-drained soil or potting mix. Ensure the substrate is free from diseases and properly sterilized. You can amend the soil by adding perlite to improve drainage, preventing the development of root rot.

4. Rinse the Roots

In cases where your corn plant is suffering from root rot or similar soil-related issues, rinsing the roots is beneficial. Gently wash the roots with clean water, allow them to dry, and then replant them in a suitable substrate.

5. Combat Pests

Prevent pests like spider mites, thrips, and scale from infesting your corn plants. Regularly clean the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and small pests. Utilize pesticides and fungicides from a gardening shop to repel pests and fungi, ensuring your corn plant remains fresh and healthy.

6. Propagate New Corn Plants

If all efforts to revive your dying corn plant prove futile, there is still hope. Look for the healthiest part of the plant and attempt propagation. You can propagate corn plants by taking stem cuttings or planting mature seeds.

7. Create an Ideal Environment

To ensure the long-term health of your corn plants, provide them with a suitable environment. Consider the following requirements:

  • Temperature: Corn plants thrive in temperatures between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer them indoors when the temperature drops below 60 degrees.
  • Watering: Maintain consistently moist soil, avoiding both under and overwatering. Ensure proper drainage to prevent root rot.
  • Light: Corn plants require ample light. Keep them near a window with adequate sunlight, and supplement with a grow light if needed.
  • Nutrients: Use an organically rich substrate and fertilize your plants during the growing season. Amend the soil with compost every two years.
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Extra Care Tips for Thriving Corn Plants

Growing corn plants successfully requires extra care and attention. If you choose to cultivate them indoors, consider the following tips:

  • Suitable Potting Mix or Soil: Utilize a store-bought potting mix for indoor plants or create a mixture of loam and sand for soil-based growth. Ensure proper drainage capabilities and amend with compost as needed.
  • Humidity Requirements: Maintain humidity levels between 40 to 50 percent. Provide adequate airflow and ventilation to prevent excessive humidity or consider utilizing a dehumidifier if necessary.
  • Pruning: Regularly prune yellowing leaves and trim excess height from the stem. Propagate cuttings in suitable soil to generate new plants.

Potential Issues to Be Aware of

By applying the tips mentioned in this article, you can prevent most corn plant problems. However, it is important to note that corn plants are toxic and can cause stomach upset. Keep your children and pets away from the leaves to avoid any health complications.


With the insights and techniques provided in this expert guide, you are now equipped to grow thriving corn plants and revive any dying specimens you may encounter. Remember to maintain proper watering, light, and nutrient conditions, and promptly address any problems that arise. By following these guidelines, your corn plants will flourish, bringing beauty and vitality to your home. So, get ready to embrace the rewarding journey of nurturing and growing corn plants! For further information, visit the Ames Farm Center.