Why is my corn not growing tall is one of the most common questions gardeners ask. This happens due to heat stress as the plant isn’t receiving enough care. Insufficient light, water, nitrogen, and too hot or cold weather will also affect the height of the stalks.Why Is My Corn Not Growing Tall

Our gardening experts will help you overcome these mistakes, so you can avoid the common problems growing corn to produce the perfect kernels.

Why Is The Corn Not Growing Tall?

The corn is not growing tall because it can be a short corn hybrid, which can also happen if there is a lack of light and water. The reason they won’t grow tall can also be because of humidity stress, having compact soil, and the lack of nitrogen.

– Short Corn Hybrid

The average height of a corn stalk is seven feet tall, but some varieties naturally have shorter corn stalks that can be about two feet tall. This would show you that, if you don’t see your corn developing as it should, it might be the nature of the plant. This doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the plant care guide, but you’ve just picked a unique variety.Why Is Corn Not Growing Tall

– Lack of Light

Receiving enough light is very important for your corn plant. The plant won’t grow its big leaves that produce energy unless it receives at least six hours of bright sunlight, but with the absence, you will see that they aren’t as healthy looking as they should be.

This plant is native to Mexico, so it can tolerate more heat than other plants, which is why providing it with bright, direct sunlight won’t scorch the leaves. However, when the plants are still young, they might be shaded by taller plants, shrubs, and trees, especially if you don’t plan your vegetable garden landscape well. In this case, your corn might not receive the light it needs to look healthy.

– Lack of Water

Corn is a plant that requires regular deep watering, especially when it starts to grow its cobs. Without enough water, you’ll notice that the leaves are curling, turning yellow, and drooping. When left neglected, the leaves will dry and fall off the plant.

At the same time, the lack of water will stress your plant, so it won’t be able to grow its long stalks, and the cobs will be small or might not appear at all. So, if you’re asking why is my corn not sprouting, it might be caused by a lack of water. If you see that your corn cob not fully developed, this will probably be the reason.

Older corn plants are more tolerant of dry conditions than young ones. You will see how it’s crucial to provide your young stalks with enough water. Otherwise, your corn plant will experience stunted growth and be too short, and it won’t develop as good as you want it to.Corn Not Growing Tall Solved

– Humidity Stress

Different corn varieties can tolerate various levels of humidity. In general, corn doesn’t require high humidity levels. But when the weather is too dry, the plant will be stressed. This is more common in indoor environments. So, if you ask why isn’t my indoor corn plant growing, the answer might be due to low humidity.

High humidity levels minimize transpiration, and this keeps the plant well-hydrated. Moisture is the number one factor that affects corn, so if you grow your plant in dry weather, the stalks will be too short. Continuous lack of humidity will eventually kill your corn.

Cold drafts will also influence the amount of humidity this plant receives. Corn stalks must be protected from cold drafts, especially when young. The young plants are too weak to handle these drafts so that the plant will grow fewer leaves. With fewer leaves, the plant won’t have enough energy to produce food, as a result, it will be shorter.

– Temperature Fluctuations

As native to tropical climates, corn prefers a temperature between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In extremely hot or cold weather, the plant will experience stunted growth.

Corn stalks grow most during a later stage. Planting your corn too late means that the temperature might drop before the stalks can achieve their optimum height. Cool temperatures can make the leaves smaller and will also affect the growth of the stalks.

Too much heat can also affect the growth of corn. The extra heat dehydrates the plant, and the foliage scorches. This means the plant will have less energy to grow new leaves and taller stalks. So, it’s common to have shorter stalks in hot weather.

– Compact Soil

Corn thrives in loose, loamy soil that allows water, nutrients, and air passage. Compact soil can inhibit the fibrous root system from growing correctly, weakening the plant. As a result, it might have shorter stalks.

Compact soil has poor draining, so the roots will always be damp. This can lead to the formation of root rot, which inhibits healthy growth and impacts the foliage. Root rot makes the root system mushy and unable to absorb nutrients so that the corn won’t grow tall.

– Lack of Nitrogen

Nitrogen-deficient soil might prevent the corn from growing tall. Corn thrives in nitrogen-rich soil; without enough nitrogen, your corn won’t grow tall.

This might be caused by overwatering or heavy rains that lead to nitrogen leaching. At the same time, a lack of moisture can prevent corn from absorbing water-soluble nitrogen. This prevents the corn from reaching its optimum height.

How to Encourage Corn to Grow Taller?

To encourage corn to grow tall you should grow the right and provide enough light for it. In addition, you must also water the plant in a sufficient way; you should also maintain the proper temperature, adjust the soil compaction, and make sure to fertilize it properly.Solutions to Corn Not Growing Tall

– Grow the Right Variety

If you have caught yourself asking, my corn is short and tasseling, then you should consider that you might be able to encourage corn plants to grow taller if you’re not growing a short variety. There are several hybrids of corn, and you should research to pick a suitable variety.

If your corn doesn’t naturally grow taller, you might need to choose another corn hybrid. There’s nothing to do if the type you’re growing has naturally shorter stalks. Now a common question arises. Will short corn still produce, you must know that whether you’re developing a naturally short variety or your plant is experiencing stunted growth, this doesn’t affect the yield.

– Provide Enough Light

Planting corn in your backyard garden will succeed if you imitate the growing conditions of the plant’s natural habitat. This plant will achieve its best growth in full sun. Getting at least six hours of direct sunlight most days will be enough to grow sweet corn in perfect shape.

When the plant is still young, you may need to provide the plant with some protection, as the intense sunlight scorch the young leaves. Yet you should also know that, at the same time, these young plants need enough light to grow, and when you position them right from the beginning, you will see them thrive.

– Water Your Plants Adequately

Corn requires regular watering and is prone to underwatering issues when young. As a matter of fact, young plants require more watering, or the plant won’t reach a good height, and the stalks will be too short, because water is what is needed to see them growing.

Without enough water, the plant will grow slowly or not grow at all. Watering your young plants regularly is crucial to help them stay healthy. For the best results, you should water your corn deeply once a week. This will be better than providing the plant with little water every day.

If you’ve been neglecting the plant for too long, you can soak it or deep water it until the excess water drains through. After that, you should water your corn weekly, just not in an excessive way.

– Maintain Good Temperature and Humidity Levels

Corn doesn’t suffer except when the weather is too dry. If the soil lacks moisture, the plant will be unable to grow long stalks. During the different sweet corn growing stages, keep the plants close to each other because transpiration can help the plants retain some moisture.

The corn kernels won’t grow without enough water, so you must regularly water your plant. If you notice that the leaves are curling, you should water your plant more often, and this will help the crops maintain proper amount humidity as well.

Keep corn protected from cold drafts that cause dehydration, so you can try and cover the soil with plastic to retain heat if the temperature drops too low. Cold drafts negatively affect younger plants, so you should plant them in protected locations to maintain the foliage’s health.

Corn might face several growing problems in cold temperatures, including diminished foliage size, small cobs, and stunted growth. Decreased leaf development won’t immediately impact the size of kernels or cobs. However, with smaller leaves, the plant will have less energy and won’t grow to its optimum height.

– Adjust Soil Compaction

This plant thrives with deep, regular watering, but the soil should be loose. It thrives in loamy, slightly acidic soil because high compaction levels will dampen the root system. Poor drainage leads to root rot formation, modifying the leaves’ health, and this can hinder the growth and cause it to have a stunted growth as well.Soil Compaction for Corn

Corn has a fibrous root system that can’t penetrate through compact soil. As a result, the plant won’t be able to access nutrients and water and will experience stunted growth. Compact soil can make corn plants suffer because of overwatering and poor access to nutrients and water. This is why you should mix some perlite with the soil if it’s too compact or grow corn in loamy and loose soil.

– Fertilize Regularly

Corn is a heavy feeder, so you should ensure the soil has enough nutrients to support the growth of leaves, stalks, and cobs. In most cases, corn might grow short stalks because the soil lacks nitrogen, or you plant it next to other heavy feeders.

To achieve better growth and healthy stalks, add compost or manure to the soil in the foil before sowing the corn seeds. Adding a fish emulsion is another good option because it provides the plant with all the necessary nutrients.

Once your plant is about eight inches tall, apply nitrogen-rich fertilizer. You might need to add more when the plant produces tassels to guarantee healthy growth and keep the plant healthy.


Cultivating corn is easy once you’ve imitated the optimal growth conditions of its natural habitat. Yet, many plants face stunted growth, which can be reversed and fixed, so here’s a recap:

  • Some plant varieties are shorter in nature, so do your research before picking a variety to grow. This can also happen when you grow the plant in the wrong soil.
  • Inadequate water and light exposure can prevent the corn stalks from growing tall.
  • This plant thrives in humid, warm conditions. Finally, you might be growing a short corn hybrid that naturally doesn’t grow tall stalks.
  • You should plant corn in loose soil and fertilize it regularly.

By following these tips, you’ll guarantee your plants’ healthy and steady growth reaching the right height.

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