The Growth Cycle of Sweet Corn

Written by cyn reed
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The Growth Cycle of Sweet Corn
Sweetcorn grows tall during its life cycle. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Sweetcorn cycles through specific growth stages, which begin as soon as the seed is planted. Knowing these stages helps growers address proper timing of events such as fertilising, insect control and harvesting.


A corn seed will start to grow as soon as it is planted in moist soil. Once it absorbs at least 30% of its weight in moisture, it begins the process of germination.

Vegetative Growth Stages

Corn first goes through a series of vegetative stages of growth, beginning with VE, which is the stage where the radicle, or root, emerges, and progressing through stages V1 and onward. V1 indicates the emergence of the first leaf, V2 the second leaf, and so on, until stage VT, at which time the leaves have all grown and the corn plant's tassels appear. These stages take approximately 60 to 80 days, depending on variety.

Reproductive Stages

Reproductive stages of growth take another 25 to 45 days, depending on the variety of sweetcorn. During the reproductive stages, the corn develops silks, the kernels blister, inner kernel "milk," or starch, develops, the kernel becomes thickened to a doughy consistency and the corn develops fully into physiological maturity.

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