How to Grow Sweet Corn in a Pot

Written by edriaan koening
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How to Grow Sweet Corn in a Pot
A regular sweetcorn plant needs plenty of space. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Most annual vegetables and flowers grow well in containers, but some plants such as regular sweetcorn, zucchini and pumpkin can't grow in containers because they take up too much space. Sweetcorn plants need to grow in large numbers to ensure that pollination occurs, making them impractical choices for container gardening. Some dwarf varieties have a more compact growth habit and take up less space. Pots provide enough room for these dwarf varieties to grow.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Place corn seeds in a container, and add water to cover them. Use dwarf sweetcorn varieties such as Golden Midget, Midget Hybrid or White Midget. Wait until the longest sprouts reach about 1/4 inch long.

  2. 2

    Mix 1/2 bushel of #2 size vermiculite, 1/2 bushel of peat moss, 5 tbsp of ground limestone, 2 tbsp of super phosphate and 8 tbsp of 5-10-5 or 6-12-6 fertiliser. This mixture will serve as your potting soil. You can purchase a commercial potting mix, but growing sweetcorn requires large quantities of potting soil and making your own costs less in the long run.

  3. 3

    Fill your pot with the soil mix. Use a large pot with a capacity of 10 gallons, for example garbage cans, tubs or bushel baskets. Generally, a 10-gallon container can fit four dwarf plants. If the container has no drainage holes, drill several 1-inch holes in the lowest part of the bottom of the container so water doesn't accumulate in the container.

  4. 4

    Water the soil mix in the container until water drains out of the drainage holes.

  5. 5

    Dig four holes in the potting soil about two to three times deeper than the average diameter of a the sweetcorn seed. Place each seedling in a hole, and cover the hole with soil.

  6. 6

    Water the soil every one or two days, keeping the soil moist at all times. When the plant emerges from the soil and reaches a height of 4 to 6 inches, water the soil every two to three days for two to three weeks. After that, add about 1 inch of water once a week to encourage the roots to grow deeper.

  7. 7

    Add fertiliser after 10 weeks from planting. Dig a hole about 2 inches in depth and diameter around each plant. Pour 1/2 tbsp of 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 fertiliser per plant, and replace the soil.

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