Monday, April 1, 2013

Corn Plants: a how to guide

It's never done more than cast a shadow until now.
(By a not-so-green-thumb-green-thumb.)

I’m not completely horrific when it comes to houseplants. They like me, I’m not entirely sure why—unless it’s because they all enjoy being ignored. If it’s one thing I’ll remember to do, it’s not think about my plants for weeks on end, so I guess that equates a win-win relationship... they’re notoriously long lived for something I by and large set in a corner and walk away from.

Aside from attempting to re-pot most of them once a year (and sometimes that doesn’t happen, see previous paragraph re: ignoring plants), I don’t do much with them. I try to leach my violets every spring because I was raised to leach my violets every spring, but that’s about as fancy as I get. I kill things, too—like poinsettias (sorry, Emilia)—but for whatever reason most plants like it here at Chez Lannis.

So. Corn plants—the houseplant. They’re a type of dracaena, or so tells me. We always called them corn plants in our house—and I’d imagine that’s thanks to the similarity in appearance to actual corn plants... like, those in farm fields. But that’s an assumption on my part.

I’ve never had one bloom before, but I have now—or at least it’s started to—so allow me to impart the wealth that is knowledge, because I never would have figured this out on my own, hence I feel obligated to share...
See? Blooming!

Step 1. Buy corn plant.

Step 2. Place somewhere with bright light.

Step 3. Water occasionally. Maybe. Definition of occasionally: about once a month (but don’t forget that maybe.)

Step 4. Fertilize inconsistently. Definition of inconsistently: maybe once a year? It’s too inconsistent to remember, frankly.

Step 5. Wait ten years or so. This is a ballpark estimate. Realize you will have to water and fertilize said plant in that time. Perhaps re-pot maybe once in there, but history has shown this is probably a luxury.

Note: If your corn plant gets absurdly tall and you’d like to cut it back, I recommend a serrated knife. Hack away—yes, saw it in two! points for gusto!—then stick the raw edge into the soil with the least amount of ceremony possible. Watering now would be a good idea. Your weirdo sadomasochistic plant will grow. Trust.

Step 6. Get one of these:

It's called a Moghedien.

Yep. You’ll need one of these, because sometime in the last six months or so, I caught her using the corn plant’s pot as a litter box (hence the rags covering the soil in the first photo). Apparently cat shit has the ideal nutrients necessary to force your corn plant into bloom. Who knew?

Full disclosure: To recreate the exact conditions we have here at Chez Lannis, you’ll need to train said cat to use the corn plant as a scratching post. Apparently corn plants are the subs of the plant world—another fact for the who knew? category.

If you can’t find a cat to do this, I will gladly loan out Moghedien. She doubles as a great mouser, but warning: she’s also known for cleaning her muddy paws on white duvet covers, and bossily sticking her ass in your face—especially when you’re writing on a laptop.

Anyhow. That’s all there is to it... if you follow these instructions, I’ll guarantee (haha! No I won’t) hope your corn plant blooms for you.

Still waiting to see what the flowers look like when they open, but with my luck, they’ll probably drop before then...

Or somewhere amid my ignoring, I’ll forget to notice...


  1. ...and if you can't find a Moghedien, I have a Daisy that would be happy to shit in your corn plant...and you can ignore her, too.

    No. Still haven't gotten rid of her.

  2. I'm surprised she simply hasn't expired yet...

    Oh my god, SHE'S IMMORTAL!