How Long Does It Take for Corn to Grow

Growing corn can be a rewarding activity. But, the time it takes for corn to grow varies a lot. This depends on the environment it's in. So, what makes corn grow faster or slower? Finding out could help you get a better harvest. Let's explore what affects corn growth time, from planting to when it's ready to harvest.

Understanding Corn Growth Stages

Corn goes through several growth stages from a seed to a tall plant at harvest. These stages are vital for knowing how to care for the corn.

The growth of corn can be grouped into early and later stages. The early stages are about formation, while the later ones are about making seeds.

In the first stages, the main part of the plant is hidden under the ground. It slowly starts to show above the soil. The plant starts needing more nutrients and water around its tenth leaf.

  • Vegetative stages (VE to VT): These stages focus on leaf and stem development, with the plant's growing point below the soil surface initially.
  • Reproductive stages (R1 to R6): These stages involve the plant's reproductive processes, such as silk emergence, kernel development, and physiological maturity.
  • The corn plant typically develops around 20 leaves in total, with one new leaf unfurling every 3-4 days during the early growth stages, and up to one new leaf every 2-3 days as the plant matures.

Knowing about the growth stages helps farmers and experts with planting, growth, and harvesting. They can do a better job of taking care of their crop by watching how the corn develops. This leads to a better harvest in the end.

Planting and Germination Factors

Getting corn plants to grow well depends on key things. These include planting the seeds at the right depth. It's also vital to manage old plant bits on the ground and make sure there's good soil moisture. Corn seeds need to go 0.8 to 1.2 inches into the ground. When soil is dry, you might plant them 2.5 inches deep. This helps them find enough moisture to grow. If there's too much leftover plant material, it can keep the ground from warming up properly. This can make the plants grow unevenly.

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How wet the soil is really matters for corn to start growing. If there's too much water, the ground can get hard. This hard layer can stop the seeds from pushing through. Corn usually needs between 60 to 100 days of good growing weather from when it's planted to when it comes up. Whether it's ready to grow depends more on how warm the soil is than the air.

  • Corn seeds must soak up about 30% of their weight in water to begin growing.
  • It usually takes 115-120 days after planting for corn to start growing, which is about 65 very warm days.
  • The quickest anyone's seen corn grow after planting was in 4 days, when the soil was 75°F every day.
  • The slowest anyone's seen it grow after planting was in 35 days, with soil at 50°F every day.

The part of the corn seed that becomes a root shows up two to three days after planting in warm, damp ground. If it's colder, the root might take longer to show up. Then, the first bit of the plant you can see, called the shoot, comes up. This can happen within a few days, but it might be longer if it's chilly. Very cold weather can even slow down the whole growing process.

Knowing how corn grows helps farmers do things at the right time, like using fertilizer and watering the plants. Doing these tasks exactly when needed can really boost the amount of corn they get. If farmers don't understand when corn plants need care, they might use weed killers at the wrong time. This mistake could hurt the crop and the farm's earnings.

Minimum Soil Temperature for Corn Germination
50°F (10°C)
Thermal Time from Planting to Emergence
115-119 Growing Degree Days
Ideal Soil Temperature and Moisture for Emergence
7-10 days

How Long Does It Take for Corn to Grow

From the time we plant corn to when it's fully grown can change a lot. But, usually, it takes about 90 to 120 days. During this time, corn goes through different stages of growth, each with its own length.

After planting, corn starts to pop out of the ground in 10 to 20 days. This all depends on how warm or cool the soil is. If the soil is a comfortable 60°F, it will sprout up faster.

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The next 60 to 80 days are all about growing leaves and stems. This is the plant getting ready to make corn appears fluffy on top. This fuzzy part starts after about 60 to 80 days.

Then, it's time for the corn to really start making those delicious pieces we eat. It goes from about 60 to 70 days after the fuzzy part starts. This is when the corn is almost done growing.

There's a total of about 100 to 120 days for corn to fully grow in the main U.S. corn-growing areas.

Corn Hybrid
Days to Maturity
'Honey and Cream'
84 days
73 days
'Silver N Gold'
65 days

The time it takes for corn to grow is affected by many things. Things like how hot or rainy the weather is. Also, the type of corn you plant makes a difference. By knowing how corn grows, farmers can do their best to get a good harvest.

Crop Care and Management

To grow a great corn crop, you must take care of it well. Corn needs a lot of water but can dry out fast. Its water needs also change as it grows. By keeping an eye on the soil moisture with tools like the NDMI index in EOSDA Crop Monitoring, farmers can water their crops just right.

Keeping the corn free from weeds is also key. Weeds steal nutrients, water, and sun from the corn, especially early on. Using the MSAVI index helps farmers check on weed growth and get rid of them if needed.

Adding the right kind of nutrients like nitrogen and potassium helps the corn too. A good fertilization plan boosts the crop's health and how much corn it produces.

Crop Care Aspect
Recommended Practices
Crucial for corn's water needs
  • Monitor soil moisture using NDMI index in EOSDA Crop Monitoring
  • Provide at least 1 inch of water (rainfall or irrigation) per week
Weed Control
Critical in the first month of growth
  • Use MSAVI index to monitor and manage weed growth
  • Implement effective weed control measures
Necessary for plant health and yield
  1. Apply a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 before planting
  2. Side-dress with nitrogen and potassium during the growing season

Watering, weeding, and feeding the corn are three big things that farmers can look after. By doing this, farmers can help their corn grow well. They can then enjoy a big harvest.

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Environmental Factors Affecting Growth

Corn's growth is greatly affected by the weather, soil, and climate. It needs certain temperatures and moisture. The best temperatures for its growth are 77 to 91°F during the day and 62 to 74°F at night. Corn also needs enough water, ideally 18 to 20 inches, during the growing season.

In addition, corn likes soils that are well-drained and have a slightly acidic to neutral pH. Conditions like imbibitional chilling, large temperature changes, and cool, moist soils can harm its growth. For example, in South Dakota, corn reaches a critical growth stage by early to mid-June.

Between the V6 and V8 stages of growth, applying more nitrogen is most helpful. By the V11 stage, nutrient problems may start to appear if not fixed. Specific corn hybrids can produce multiple ears, but this might affect leaf growth if nutrient issues arise by the V11 stage.

Pests, heat, and the lack of water or nutrients can slow corn's growth. Adjustments to Growing Degree Units (GDUs) can change how quickly it grows. Things like how much residue is in the soil or the type of seed used also matter.

Knowing about these environmental factors is key for farmers and agriculture pros. It helps them manage their corn crops better for a good harvest.


Corn takes 90 to 120 days to grow from planting to ready. This timing depends on the weather and how the crop is managed. Knowing the stages of corn's growth is key to a good harvest. You need to plant it right, water it properly, control weeds, and give it the nutrients it craves.

Watching the weather and changing how you manage your corn can lead to better harvests. It’s important to think about when corn grows best, what affects its results, and how to manage it well. With smart planning and understanding corn's needs, farmers can grow top-notch corn. This way, they can meet what buyers and the market want.

Growing corn well is all about finding the best conditions, acting at the right times, and keeping a close eye on it. With good knowledge and flexible plans for each year, farmers can keep the corn crop flourishing. This work helps make sure there’s plenty of corn, an important crop, for everyone.

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