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How Many Ears Of Corn Grow On One Stalk

Corn is a delicious vegetable that originated in Mexico some 9,000 years ago. Since then, we have created so many new and yummy varieties and flavors to grow and eat each year. Corn is relatively easy to grow, a nice summertime crop. You may notice that corn will usually have multiple ears growing on one stalk. But really, how many ears of corn grow on one stalk?

Around six to ten ears of corn can grow on one stalk. The amount of ears of corn that grow on one stalk always depends on the variety of corn being grown. However, environmental factors can determine how many ears end up growing.

To learn more about how many ears of corn grow, what variety of corn, what environmental factors can change that, and more, keep reading!

Varieties of Corn and How Many Ears They Produce 

There are six main varieties of corn, and from those main varieties stems many other different types. Each variety grows with different flavors and looks and has different growing patterns. Let’s look at each main variety and the number of ears they produce. 

Variety of CornEars Produced
Sweet Corn-
or sugar corn, is the traditional corn consumed
by humans
1-3 ears
Dent Corn-
or “field corn” or “grain corn”, commonly grown for
making ethanol and animal feed, although
still edible for humans but not eaten right off the cob
Up to three
Flint Corn-
“heirloom corn” or “indian corn”, a variant of maize
used to make polenta, hominy, soups etc. grows
in all different beautiful colors
forms entirely hard starch
2-6 ears
Pod Corn-
another variant of maize, not for consumption
ornamental corn
2-6 ears
Popcorn –
has a hard outer shell, needs to be heated for
consumption
2-4 ears
Flour Corn-
looks like normal sweet corn, but used only
ground up for flours, breads etc.
forms entirely soft starch (hence why it’s
good for breads)
2-6 ears
Varieties of corn and how many ears they produce on average

Corn Stressors 

Certain things can cause corn great stress, which would affect the yield or how many ears of corn grow on one stalk.

Drought

Drought is one of the biggest things that can ruin a crop of corn. Corn requires a lot of water to produce delicious corn cobs. On average, corn needs about 1 inch of water a week. 

Lack of Nutrients

Corn is like a diet of high calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. If they do not have these nutrients, they won’t have what they need to produce ears of corn.

Weather

Corn is a wonderful summertime crop. It enjoys warm, sometimes rainy days with temperatures of 75-85 degrees F. Corn is very cold sensitive, and if the soil temperatures get too low, it will affect the yield and quality. The wind is another thing to look out for when growing corn. Although their stalks are hardy, strong winds can knock them down easily. 

Disease

Diseases like root rot, blight, tar spot, and common rust are all diseases that will attack corn crops.

Pests

Armyworms, cutworms, some beetles, nematodes, ants, and more are pests and bugs that you should look out for in your corn crop. 

Lack of Space

Like all plants, corn needs proper amounts of light every day to grow a good amount of cobs. If you have planted too many stalks close together, only the tops of those stalks are getting good sunlight and may only produce 1-2 cobs.

How To Avoid Corn Stressors

To get the highest yield possible, with the most ears of corn on one stalk, avoiding things that will stress out corn crops is important. 

Water

I previously mentioned that corn needs about 1 inch of water a week. Watering your corn a little bit every day is key if you want good healthy corn cobs. This is especially important if the weather is very warm. 

Nutrients

Since corn needs high sulfur, calcium, and magnesium, putting down fertilizer that is high in all three before you plant it is essential. This will help the plant along the way. If you feel the plant is looking a little meek, you can hand-feed liquid nutrients no more than once a week to give the plant an extra boost. 

Weather

Controlling the weather, well, it’s impossible, unfortunately. There is a wide window in which corn can happily grow, which is helpful. Ensure to plant during the right time of year to avoid any frost issues. If there is weather above 90 degrees, you can do a few things. Put mulch down around your corn to hold in moisture and some cold put shade cloth around your plants, and make sure you

water at least once a day early in the morning. Luckily, corn will be alright for a few days in temperatures above 95. Anything above that for long periods will affect your yield. Trellising corn to protect against the wind isn’t commonly done. So if the wind is an issue in your climate, it’s better to plant corn where the wind will somewhat protect it. Plant them closer together and by larger trees or fences. 

Disease

Luckily corn is a very strong plant and can withstand diseases and even cure itself. Most of the time, these diseases will appear later on in a corns life, and it will be possible to harvest most of the corn before it gets damaged. However, disease early on will affect the yield if it goes untreated. 

Pests

If beetles or ants make their way into your corn, it can be crazy and overrun. These pests will eat through everything. Using neem oil and Diatomaceous Earth spread around your garden can save you from these pests. I also like using the vinegar method. This involves a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water with a tablespoon or two of oil mixed in a spray bottle. You can spray this one of your plants twice a day, and it works wonders. 

Space

This can easily be avoided by properly planning out where your plants are going to go when you put the seeds in the ground. Typically, corn should be planted 10 inches apart in a hole about 2 inches deep. If you have rows of corn, the rows should be at least 2 feet apart. This will allow ample space to get the most sunlight to every stalk. 

Can One Corn Plant Keep Producing After Harvest?

A commonly asked question is if corn will keep producing once harvested. The answer to this question is no; once one plant produces however many ears of corn, that is it for the season. Unlike beans or tomatoes, the plant will continue producing for a whole season. 

Final Thoughts

Most of the time, with all varieties of corn, you are likely to get at least 1-2 ears of corn on one stalk. However, it is very common to get at least four ears with many varieties. In recent years, scientists have been making genetically modified corn varieties that are guaranteed to grow larger quantities of ears of corn on one stalk.

Most of these varieties are a type of sweet corn because that is usually what people are looking for at the grocery store. Cumberland, Expedition, Inspiration, and Octane are all versions of sweet corn that will produce many ears on one stalk. Happy gardening!