Did you know that the Mass Cane Plant, also known as the Corn Plant, gets its name from its striking resemblance to the foliage of corn? The long, green leaves with light-yellow or light-green stripes truly capture the essence of cornstalks. With its stalky stems and multiple canes that reach the top and create new stems and a crown of leaves, this plant is a captivating beauty that deserves a place in your home.
Not only does the Mass Cane Plant add a touch of elegance to any indoor space, but it also excels at purifying the air. It is one of the most effective and efficient plants in eliminating indoor pollutants. So, without a doubt, it should find a spot among your houseplants. Read on to discover more about this remarkable plant and how to care for it.
Mass Cane Plant Care Basics
Before we dive into the exciting care tips, let’s get to know this plant’s background a little better. Now that you’re familiar with the essentials, let’s delve into the fascinating world of Mass Cane Plant care.
Best Potting Mix
To ensure optimal growth, make sure to use loose potting soil with good drainage for your Mass Cane Plant. A standard potting mix for houseplants will suffice, as long as water can flow freely through it. Additionally, adding peat moss to the potting soil can enhance organic matter and improve drainage. If the soil seems too dense, incorporating perlite will help increase water drainage.
The watering requirements of the Mass Cane Plant depend on the amount of light it receives. In bright sunlight, it may need to be watered once a week. However, if it’s placed in a shady or low-light area, watering can be less frequent. It’s important to note that most varieties of Corn plants do not require excessive watering. The soil should be kept somewhat dry between waterings to prevent root rot. Be sure to promptly drain any excess water in the saucer to avoid waterlogging.
Here’s a pro tip: Since Mass Cane Plants are sensitive to salts and minerals present in tap water, it’s best to use filtered water, rainwater, or distilled water for optimal results.
Indoors, the Mass Cane Plant thrives in bright to moderate light. However, if the light is too low, the leaves may lose their vibrant color variegation and the plant’s growth may be stunted. Natural light brings out the vivid yellow striping of the Massangeana variety, so placing it in a north-facing window will yield the best results. During the summer, it’s important to protect the plant from direct sunlight to prevent leaf discoloration and damage.
Temperature & Humidity
The Mass Cane Plant thrives at temperatures between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit (15-24 degrees Celsius). If the temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius), the edges of the leaves may turn light grey or brown. However, keep in mind that a plant harmed by the cold doesn’t necessarily mean it will die. Avoid placing the plant near open windows during winter to protect it from the wind and cold.
Humidity is crucial for this tropical plant. While it prefers high humidity, it can still thrive under average moisture. If you notice the tips of the leaves turning brown, it’s a sign that the plant needs more humidity. Increase humidity by misting the leaves frequently or using a humidifier. Placing the pot on a tray filled with water and stones can also help, but ensure that the bottom of the pot stays above the water level. You can also wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to hydrate them.
When it comes to fertilization, less is more for the Mass Cane Plant. Excess fluoride and boron, often present in fertilizers, can be highly toxic to these plants. As long as you provide them with a rich organic soil, they don’t require heavy feeding. Feed them every other month during the growing season, or top-dress the plant with rich compost at the beginning of the growing season.
If you’re interested in multiplying your Mass Cane Plant, you’ll be pleased to know it can be easily propagated through stem cuttings. Spring or summer, when the parent plant is actively growing, is the best time to plant a Mass Cane cutting. Follow these steps for successful propagation:
- Select a healthy stem with a few buds.
- Cut at least 3 inches of the stem just below the horizontal groove.
- Place the cutting in a pot filled with new soil, ensuring the buds remain above the soil level.
- Water the stem immediately, and for better results, you can dip the cutting’s end in rooting hormone powder.
While the Mass Cane Plant can reach impressive heights of 50 feet in its native African setting, it is typically grown as a houseplant in the United States, reaching a more manageable height of 4 to 6 feet.
These plants thrive when they’re root-bound, but there comes a time when repotting is necessary. Look for signs such as roots breaking through the drainage holes or the plant raising itself. Repot your Mass Cane Plant every year or two, using a slightly larger container with fresh potting soil (2 to 3 inches larger and deeper). Carefully remove the plant from its current pot, remove any dark, mushy roots, and place it in the new pot with the correct potting soil. Water thoroughly and care for it like a new plant, and you’ll see it thrive.
Pruning the Mass Cane Plant is a simple task. Remove any discolored or sick-looking leaves at the node, where the leaf attaches to the cane, using sterilized garden shears. To maintain the desired form, trim any new sprouts or side shoots. If your plant grows too tall, you can cut a section of the top horizontally across the stem. And here’s a pro tip: If you want to grow another Mass Cane Plant, you can propagate the cuttings!
Mass Cane Varieties and Similar Plants
The Mass Cane Plant, scientifically known as Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana,’ is one of six popular varieties of Corn plants commonly grown as decorative houseplants. If you’re looking for other plants similar to this beauty, we’ve got you covered! Here are a few varieties you might consider:
Dracaena fragrans ‘Bausei’
This variety features long, lance-like leaves that can reach up to 2 feet in length. The leaves cling to the comprehensive and woody stems, with a single creamy center/stripe running the length of each leaf. When cultivated in containers, this plant can reach a maximum height of 4 feet.
Dracaena fragrans ‘Lindenii’
Similar to the Massangeana variety, this plant showcases glossy, dark green leaves with a white line through the center. Its leaves have an arching habit. To maintain its container height of 3 feet, regular pruning is necessary.
Dracaena fragrans ‘Warneckii’
This variety’s leaves grow in a random pattern, hanging firmly down the stems. It can reach a height of 5 feet and is a low-maintenance indoor plant. Upright growth, large leaves with white flecks and cream borders, and an overall impressive appearance make it highly desirable.
Common Diseases & Pests
Mass Cane Plants possess saponins that make them resistant to most fungal infections. However, improper watering can leave them susceptible to root rots and leaf spot infections. Here are a few pests and diseases that you should be aware of:
Spider mites, mealybugs, scale insects, and thrips are common pests that can harm Mass Cane Plants. Infestations can be identified by symptoms appearing under leaves and on stems. To eliminate these annoying pests, you can use a neem oil solution.
Fungal infections can also affect Dracaena Corn Plants. Symptoms include leaf patches and sluggish growth due to root rot. Proper watering techniques, such as allowing the soil to partially dry between waterings, can help prevent these diseases.
Now armed with these valuable insights, you can confidently take care of your Mass Cane Plant and watch it flourish in your home. Remember, the Mass Cane Plant is not just a stunning addition to your indoor space but also a powerful air purifier. So, bring this marvel of nature into your home and enjoy its beauty and benefits for years to come.
For more information and to explore a range of beautiful plants, visit the Ames Farm Center.