The corn plant (Dracaena fragrans), also called corn palm. cornstalk plant and false palm, is a popular houseplant, cultivated for its beautiful growth habit – an erect trunk with arching lanceolate leaves, each a with broad yellow to pale green band in center in the case of the most popular cultivar, D. fragrans ‘Massangeana’ – and its surprising ability to resist almost any combination of indoor growing conditions, from full sun to shade.
The corn plant is a “survivor”, able to tolerate the worst kind of neglect. It is, in fact, nearly unkillable! That’s why it’s not unusual to see specimens that are 10, 20 or even 40 years old: a very rare situation indeed for a houseplant!
On the other hand, the corn plant is universally considered a foliage plant, cultivated solely for its attractive leaves. But sometimes it offers you a surprise.
Yes, from time to time, perhaps only after decades of cultivation, it flowers, producing arching terminal panicle of pinkish buds that open into masses of white flowers. They only open in the evening and at night, but then, what a perfume they give off! Intense, heady, sweet, the fragrance invades the whole house. It is so intense that it sometimes becomes intolerable and the owner feels obliged to cut the flower stem off or to stick the plant in a spare bedroom and close the door at night.
A Personal Anecdote
Back in 1984, I was working in a 5-story office building in the Old Port. One evening I stayed on a bit later than usual, then, shortly after 6 pm, an extraordinary perfume began wafting into my office. What was it? I set off in search of the source of the incredible fragrance, finally to find discover it 3 floors below, in the building’s lobby: a corn plant in full bloom. Imagine, blooms so intensely fragrant that they can fill an entire 5-story building with their scent!
Patience Will Be Rewarded
If you want to experience the corn plant’s extraordinary fragrance, buy one… and wait patiently! No one knows what causes this plant to bloom and it can take place in any season, but almost inevitably it occurs only after several to many years. The chances yours will bloom are much, much better, though, if you place it in good light rather than the “dark corner” to which this plant is usually relegated.
Best of luck!
I like to find out what to do with the seed pod that is on the flower stalk after the plant blooms. I see 3 green seed pod on my plant about the size of big marbles and wonder if I can just cut them off and grow them on soil.
3rd year in a row my corn plant has flowered again today it’s amazing
Mine is blooming now, ive kept in small clay pot north facing window, I have had for nearly a decade. Hates tap water (fluoridated water) it cannibalized leaves to bloom, boy is it strong smelling reminds me of jasmine kinda, hard to sit next to.
First time this has flowered, very interesting, maybe time to repot and not keep it bonsai style? However that would also mean a bigger plant with larger blooms next time which would be too fragrant for my small space.
Thanks for your observations.
Good evening. In Louisiana, We have had our corn plant for 31 years and today I kept smelling something wonderful and husband noticed the bloom on the corn plant. Can’t believe it. It is very tall, just shy of 8 feet is my guess. Found your sight to learn about this bloom.
What is the oldest indoor corn plant that you have heard of in your experience? We have one that is over 45 years old. We have to prune it every time the longest stalk reaches our 7.5 ft. ceiling.
What is a “fool proof process” for pruning and replanting a pruned stem?
I’ve had mine for over 20 years from a small plant in a funeral basket. It’s been growing ever since. Our last home has 8 ft ceilings and it hit the ceiling. Then in the last 5 years, we moved it to another home with 12 ft ceilings. It’s now bending over trying to still grow, then all of a sudden, the flowers started. It’s so fragrant and I think the second one in the pot is about to start budding flowers too. I’m so sad that I just had to cut it but it’s so heavy I can’t keep it upright and I don’t have 20 ft ceilings. I’m rather enjoying the rarity of these blooms, but our home is permeating with the fragrance. it’s almost too strong. It kept me up all night and somewhat burning my eyes. Is that normal?
We have tons of these blooming corn plants on our property, we were unaware to say the least….until last week when around 6pm our whole property began to smell like heavenly, intoxicating goodness. I just want to bottle the smell. We have no idea how long the plants have been here by size I would say at least 20 years. It’s been happening nightly and it’s just heavenly.
Please post pictures. I for one would love to see the property of them. And if you don’t mind me asking, where do you live? I’m in Georgia and would love to leave them out side but it gets to cold here. I love my plants but they are so big I have to cut them back when I bring them in for the winter. Bought to have to repot the newest one I grew from the cuttings. lol
The scent, indeed is heavenly. However, mine, an indoor specimen that I have had since a tiny thing, immediately started to die after it’s incredible bloom. There are a few other stalks in the pot, all about four feet tall – mama is about seven feet tall. Any ideas? Experience of the most fragrant flowering and then … death? I don’t know what to do.
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I have a corn plant ~20-25 years old that started blooming a few years ago. I’ve had blooms each year since it started and this year I have a berry (it is outdoors). I’ve noticed that the blooming – when the flowers actually open – always aligns with a full moon. I haven’t seen anyone else mention the moon connection but take note of it and see what you find.
Interesting. I’ll try to look into that!
Mine did not follow the full moon. It just bloomed this evening, about 36 years after being gifted to my daughter who had undergone back surgery. Full moon is two weeks away.
I found your comment interesting because we noticed our 7’ plant flower for the first time on Jan 9th, which was the night of the Full Wolf Moon and the first full moon of 2023. I walked in the door from work and thought my husband had bought me a bouquet of flowers lol. Then we discovered the long stem full of pink buds and white flowers, also dripping in sap I might add. Our entire home is now scented by natures air freshener and it smells amazing! Maybe it’s a sign it will be a lucky year!
My plant blooms every year. I keep it in the sun room and it must like it. Last two blooms were just after Christmas, this year it didn’t, but here is is May and it is again. Smell at night is sooooo strong, but we just close sun room doors and it is ok. Very pretty and kind of neat.
I’ve had my over 8ft tall plant for over 20 years. So far, it has flowered every 7 years and the flowers opened up every night at 7pm for about 2 hours. This lasted for 2 weeks . I can’t wait for the next time which should be soon I hope.
Let’s hope after 6 years next time! ?
I was given mine from work when office plants looked a little worn the caretake would just replace them. I have had it for 10 years. It just bloomed this week for the first time. I didn’t know they did that so I googled and was brought here. Thanks everyone for sharing. I got to bed early so I didn’t know about the scent. Will sure look for that tonight! How long do the blooms last?
Up to 3 weeks.
I don’t think anyone will see my comment. Ok 2016 we bought a corn plant. It usually stayed on the tiny patio. 2018 I thought it was dying. But I tore off some leaves and it came back even better. 2021 I sprinkled some chia seeds on the bottom. They sprung up nicely. Today 4-20-22 1:11 pm I see flower buds kinda purplish. So years I’m amazed.
Thank you so much for this article! I’ve had my corn plant over fifteen years and didn’t know what was happening when it flowered for the first time! I didn’t understand why the first small blooms I saw yesterday closed back up again! Thank you for the info and fascinating article!
Mine s blooming for the second time in six months, could it be root bound? It is getting rather too heavy too, how do I trip it? I suspect it is 7-8ft talk
Repot into a bigger, heavier pot… or cut it back.
Mine blooms every year during Christmas week. I’ve had mine planted by my front door for 20 years.
You must have ideal conditions! Or a really green thumb! Congrats! ?
Wow. I just noticed this bloom growing out of it this morning which brought me here. And it’s Christmas week. Wow. Interesting
I’ve had mine for about 6-7 years. It has had some small flowers before but just had these stalks with flowers that have a very strong fragrance. It is overwhelming at times. I have 2 in the same planter and both grew a flowering stalk at the same time.
I bought mine at Ikea 6 years ago and it blooms every year. It’s in my sunroom. It starts blooming every fall, end of October.
Congrats on that!
I agree about close to blooming, has it yet?
I know this is an old posting but I have a question. My 20 year old corn plant started blooming when I brought it in from outside in New York. I have a plant light bulb in the fixture about 3 feet above it which I keep on for about 10 hours a day. two stalks with loads of buds but they haven’t opened AND no scent AND I see the sap oozing already. What do you think is going on? I would love another opinion. Thanks.
I just think it’ close to blooming. The dripping sap is a sign the blooms should open soon.
My corn is about 20 years old and I was surprised when it bloomed and even more pleasantly surprised when I discovered that beautiful scent was coming from that plant. I thought my son had bought a very expensive candle. I searched the entire house until I finally discovered it was that flower. What a joy it was.
My dog lives in my sunroom at night. Is this scent strong enough to bother him?
Do the blooms/flowers of the Dracena fragrans have pollen that may cause allergies? There are many tall corn plants in the atrium office building and are blooming this spring. Beautiful but worried about sensitivities.
The pollen is heavy and doesn’t travel in the air. So, no allergy there. However, sensitivity to perfume i sa possible problem. Since that varies so much from one sensitive person to another, I’m not sure how you could check on that. Note the perfume will only be released in the evening, after normal office hours, if that helps.
I’ve had one of these plants since college when we found one doing just fine in our senior apartment, left over the summer, likely unattended for the duration. Not that I’ve tried to, but when other people here say “The plant is nearly impossible to kill!”, they’re pretty much right – it will tolerate a lot of neglect and still come back strong.
I’m also not sure what I’m doing, but unlike some of the posters here, the plant WON’T STOP flowering – every three months or so a new bud appears and shortly thereafter the flowers develop and bloom. We have to put newspaper under it quite often so it won’t stain the carpet since often there is a sticky sap which drips off the stems.
(The plant has always been indoors, and I guess has never been pollinated, so we never had the berries form, and for the few times that I tried to pollinate it – as if I knew precisely how – nothing ever came of it.)
After 12 years of this, I’ve noticed interestingly that there seem to be two general types of flowering stems: one is as depicted in the article, with a long, branch-like growth from the crown of the plant, and many nodes of sappy flowers connected to it.
Sometimes, however, maybe 25% of the time, the “branch” is very stubby, and the flowers appear to be constrained by small leaves which encase them. The flowers are less “full”, and seem plainer and less fragrant (if they smell at all), and the overall extent and breadth of the flowering seems significantly less than a normal flowering event.
(I wish I had photos, but it never occurred to me to take them until I came across this site.)
Is this just some weird vagary of my plant, or is this a known phenomenon with others?
By the way, the plant faces west-northwest, is on an upper floor in the house in Virginia, with direct/semi-direct sun from maybe 3 in the afternoon on, and the room temperature is generally 75 all year round since all the heat from the house collects up there, so I guess it may think it’s in a greenhouse(?). It’s watered maybe once every 2 weeks – it doesn’t seem to want more, and I don’t think it’s every been given fertilizer or anything else but water.
You’re very lucky! Most people only have flowers after many years and it often never repeats. I too once had a single stubby flower stalk. I assumed something had “bothered” the plant as it was starting to bloom and caused it to not develop fully, but that was only a thought. Maybe other readers will know more. And I do suspect your excellent growing conditions are what allows your plant to flower so frequently. Most of us have ours in poor light, dry air and cooler conditions: nothing like a greenhouse!
How about the fruit of this corn plant that looks similar to real corn but in small size, is different fromthe flower. Is this regular!
It’s very rare that the plant bears fruit, as it is rarely pollinated indoors. But perhaps yours is outdoors in a tropical country.
I received my corn plant 13 years ago on the death of my husband from a dear friend now deceased. I have nurtured this plant as well as some others n remembrance of my husband. Today I see some strange looking buds at the top of it. It is nearly 8 ft tall. I looked it up and discovered these r flowers which will have a heady perfume. Since My smell sense is not as good as it use to be can this effect my two precious furbabies who have a very keen sense of smell. So excited over my surprise of the buds.
The scent of a corn plant in bloom is not harmful to animals.
I wouldn’t think so unless they already have allergies. Mine bloomed at night and the smell is very strong. I would be thankful that my sense of smell wasn’t so good if I were in your shoes. Thanksgiving family didn’t want to sit in the room with my 2 blooming plants because the smell was so strong.
We’ve had ours about 5 years and this is the first time ours has bloomed. We were unaware that they even did that. The smell initially and for the first few days was so strong that it really smelled pretty bad. Now after about a week in, it doesn’t smell as strong and does have a fairly good fragrance. We had one a few years back before we got this one that we had for probably 10 years and it never did bloom.
Two of mine has been in bloom for the past few days after 20 years, does any one know how long the blooms last. The smell is amazing a very strong. I was pleasantly surprised with the smell.
I took close up photo’s of the blooms but no way to post a pic here. The blooms put out a very sticky sap that got in my hair when I was cutting them back to bring in the house for the winter since they can get so large. I cut them back often and either replant the cuttings or toss.
Blooms last about 2 weeks.
I know my cornplant is 40 to 50 years old. It bloomed first time this year. I have recently read that they hate flouride so I’m using filter to remove flouride before watering it. Hoping it will bloom again. I need to cut off a couple shoots to replant. Would be nice to give a baby plant to the college room-mate who blessed me with the 2-feet tall plant back then. It is now more than 8 feet tall (with a few turns/twists), and 2 shoots plus the blossoms. Scent is so wonderful!
Don’t worry about the fluoride. It really makes very little difference to the plant.
Mine bloomed for the second time in 47 years!! Now the flower is dying. Is there a proper way to remove the dead flower?
Just cut it off at the base.
I’ve had my corn palm since 2003 and it’s starting to bloom for the first time, thanks so much for sharing this information!
We just noticed a bloomer (well a budder) in one of our office rooms that isnt used much. the buds are white with pink lines running vertically. All buds are still closed. The base of each flower cluster is dripping a sticky exudate. The flower stalk must have been here for a while bc it is about 18″ long with about 25 flower clusters. I cut open a bud but no smell yet. Anyone know how long before it will bloom? It is friday 430 pm and I want to know whether to wait around in hopes it will bloom tonight or comeback tomorrow or sunday or will it be still in bud til monday or later?
The bloom will last a few weeks, so wait until you see some open flowers before hanging around in the the evening. Test it out. It’s quite amazing!
Mine just bloomed, think it is about 15 years old and we have 5 other plants that were started from cuttings of the mother plant, I noticed that flowers also made a sticky nectar which was very sweet, I am thinking maybe in the wild they attracted ants or some night flying insect to pollinate.
It’s considered to be mostly moth pollinated. There are quite a few that are just as good at pollinating as bees, but they do it at night.
So i read your post a few months back when i couldn’t figure out what the smell on on my lanai and patio was only to discover it was my corn plant. I love that smell and felt honored that my plant was so happy in its new location that it bloomed for me. Well… Here we are a few months later and new blooms!!! Thanks for the good info.
Congratulations on getting to bloom again so rapidly! It must really lover your conditions!
I’ve had my corn plant for 16 years (don’t know how old it was when purchased at Home Depot) and noticed about a week ago there was a bloom. I’ll be taking photos of the flowers once they occur. Exciting stuff because I never knew this plant could bloom.
So exciting, congratulations!
We just discovered our plant blooming tonight. The scent just kept getting stronger and stronger. Quite a surprise!!
I started with one plant many years ago. Knew nothing about them. It is now HUGE!! Have made several plants from the original. One of the “babies” is a bloomer!!! Omg. It has bloomed 3 times now in 5 years and just WOW!!!! Amazing. I feel really blessed. ??
How do you get babies from your corn plant?
I’m going to assume she took cuttings. Cut off the root the top; the mother plant will then branch and fill in again. The other possibility is that her plant produced offshoots from the ground at the base of the mother plant. It does that sometimes. They can just be cut free and replanted.
Mine just bloomed for the first time! I’ve had it for 13 years. I water it once a month in the shower. I’m so excited
A renter poisoned my 26 year old Corn/Palm plant (I am guessing) because it was dying after I evicted her. I transplanted my plant with all new soil in January 2020 and she has lost all of her leafs. Do you know if there is anything else I can do? My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, my phone is 303-668-78006. Thank you for any help you can give me! ~Patrick
You can only water very, very modestly (only when the soil is dry) and wait. There’s nothing else to do! But plants are tough and some recover from pretty serious damage!
Just keep watering. Mine looked like a dead stick. My friends kept asking why I was watering a dead plant. But I kept at it. Months later a small green shoot. Now it is 13 feet tall and crowning the ceiling
Mine flowering for the second time after ten years. The greatest thing about this plant, it creates an amazing heavenly sweet fragrance at night and i love it so much! Looking forward that it will blossom again in the near future after this, as the blooming time is unpredictable.
I have 2 Corn Plants & one of them has grown so tall, it’s now in my 10ft ceiling living room & quickly running out of space & I have no idea if it will ever stop!
My question is about replanting. In my mind, as a plant gets bigger it should be replanted into larger pots which is what I’ve done over the years, but now I’m thinking that has only promoted further growth. So do they actually need to be replanted or could they actually sustain a healthy life in a smaller pot forever?
Read this: it will answer your questions: https://laidbackgardener.blog/2020/01/11/basic-houseplant-care-repotting-versus-potting-up/
Mine bloomed 2 years ago what a gorgeous smell it gave off. I took pictures as I don’t know if it will ever happen again.
Congratulations. And no, it might never happen again. It’s very rare.
After 30 years we saw the blooms. Totally surprised! Definitely fills the house every night with the strong aroma.
Mine bloomed and I am beyond excited!
Congratulations, it is exciting!
Mine bloomed like crazy. It smells like Jasmine.
It’s too bad you can’t capture scents with a camera, isn’t it?
I would be too. Congratulations!
Will they ever bloom again?
Maybe… but it just doesn’t happen frequently, as you now know.
How about the fruit of this corn plant that looks similar to real corn but in small size, is different fromthe flower. Is this regular!
Mine blooms too! It bloomed after 16 years in 2019, and now again! 3 buds, I am soo excited
Ours just bloomed after 35 yrs last week also! It’s so amazing!
Such a wonderful thing! They do bloom again. Mine is blooming for the second year in a row.
Ours bloomed after 43 hears. Amazing. I didn,t know what it was at first and then we started to smell this wonderful scent in the evenings, finally figured out it was the plant! Love it!
Congratulations! Ours took 40 years.
Mine took 7 years to bloom. Live on southern coast and plant sits in natural light patio in humid heat.
Thanks for the article on cornstalk blooms. Mine has bloomed two years consecutively. Are the blooms edible?
I doubt if that has ever been studied. The leaves are considered “slightly poisonous”, but that doesn’t mean the flowers are as well.
My corn plant has bloomed twice in the last year. I must have the worst nose for flower fragrance because I don’t notice a smell… good or bad. My family gets mad at me for all the other times I say the house smells bad (usually kitchen greasy smells… yuck) My plant is in a bath corner with windows on each wall but the window cover is a shade that when opened has a filtered light coming through on one side. Faces south and west. May be coincidence but both times it has flowered I’ve put a bit of my Epsom salt bath water in the corn plants pot.
I cut the 1st flowering stalk off when the flowers started to fall. I’ve waited this 2nd time and have watched it change from the flowers to the flowers with a sticky looking goo and now it has large green ‘balls’ on the stalk. Do you know what the balls will become? Or are these the true smelly flowers and the 1st Round was just ‘fluff’?
The green balls are what’s left of the flower cluster, hidden while the flowers were in bloom. Outdoors in the tropics, where insects could pollinate the blooms, they would have possibly produced seeds, but you’ll find they’ll simply die and turn brown over time.
I live in Costa Rica and we use this plant to line property borders, for live fence posts and to retain soil. I literally have a few thousand around my property and in the dry season when it blooms you can smell this in the air st night. I go out and cut a flower every few days or so and put it in a vase in the living room for my wife. She is Tica. She loves waking up to the smell. It’s so good that it makes me hard when I smell it. She gets moringa oil and mixes the nectar together to make hair conditioner. Her hair is so soft, thick, shiny and dark brown that it glistens in the sunlight and smells of dracena fragrans.
Hi! So glad I’m not the only person thrilled and surprised when a corn plant bloomed! The flowers are turning brown now and the fragrance is giving my boss hay fever so I need to cut the stem. There’s a very small leaf right at the base of the stem, and another little leaf a few inches above that and then there’s the long stem where the flowers are. Do I cut the stem off just after the second leaf or right at the base after the first leaf? (Hope that makes sense?!)
You could cut it at either spot. By cutting it just beyond the outer leaf, there is a very small chance it might just produce a branch there, although it is very reluctant to branch.
I thought you would appreciate this. I bought my Corn plantsabout two years ago, And I this month found the blooms. And excited he stay plucked them off thinking they were seeds that I could plant. So I’ve been cultivating them with love all this time and plucked them off right before they bloomed. Blond moment LOL. I wondered if there’s any use now that I have plucked them off they are not opened yet but looks like they were just about to I didn’t even know that they bloomed into more blooming flowers I just thought they grew to this point LOL. Is there anyway I can plant them Or made them with my other corn plantsor something?
Totally ignorant here. Will sticking them in a bowl of water floating still cause them to bloom? Thanks.
Well, I suspect you’ve guessed that there really isn’t much you can do. Certainly, nothing will grow from flower buds. Just maybe they might open if you leave them floating in water, but only if you plucked them fairly recently.
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I just bought mine this summer and I have flower buds now! I’m so excited. I had no idea this was a possibility. And now after reading having a plant bloom is rare I feel so honored!
I’ve lived in this house for 30 years. It came with a large corn plant in the corner of the covered patio. It was several years old even then. About once a year I need to cut it back because the stock grows into patio cover (8′ high at least)
It’s blooming now, in December (So. Cal. )
1st time in all these years! The fragrance in the evening is so strong.
I bought my Corn Plant about three years ago. It bloomed last December and it is blooming again this December. When it first began to bloom last year I thought it had a fungus. But once the buds came into view, I was elated. The aroma is wonderful. It is a strong, sweet smell, but I love it. I’ve never trimmed it, but it has sprouted another branch on the side of a stalk. I hope to have it a long time. I have a 16 yr old Peace Lily and hope to have my Corn Plant just as long.
My corn plant/dracena is 49 years old. It was a gift to my husband when he was hospitalized for a heart attack when he was 42. He kept it in his office for many years, and always told me that he and that plant started life together,after the heart attack he quit his job at that 60 hour/week pressure cooker law firm and went to a small practice. When he retired it came home and he faithfully watered it each Friday, always telling me that this plant was keeping him alive, and that if it died, he would too. He was afflicted with dementia during his last 3 years, but was faithful to watering his plant until he had to go to an assisted living for the last year. The morning he died I noticed a small white but on the plant, and within 3 days there were or 6 clusters of beautiful flowers with a divine fragrance. It bloomed for about 6 weeks.
The plant was then 42 years old, and had never bloomed until the day he died. coincidence? I think not, I believe it was his way of telling me that he was fine. Oddly, I cut a few branches to root a couple of years later, and one of them, while rooting in water, bloomed. It bloomed the day my beloved brother died. Go figure. I choose to believe.
Still going strong. I keep it trimmed to about 5 feet, it would grow to the ceiling if I let it. It is precious to me.
Maureen Eichman, I also Believe! I’ve had Corn Palms for many years in Florida but have never noticed blooms nor aroma, although they grew well. The Corn Palm I now have is about 4 yrs. old, we now reside in NW AL. & I’m just now experiencing blooms for the first time ever! Yes, I Believe God gives us many signs…sadly, we miss so many of them by not paying attention or simply thinking it coincidence. Smile…
This is a very cool post. Thank you so much for sharing
Our corn plant blooms now, not sure if it’s every year, but the blooms produce a sticky mess on our hardwood floors, so after reading that no harm is done by cutting off the blooms, sadly, I believe that’s what we’ll do. The smell is powerful and not really pleasant, but it’s so cool to see the blooms.
It’s too bad it’s not summer: you could have put it outside for a week or so until its over!
We have had our constalk for 23 years, someone was throwing it out, so it’s gotta be every bit of 30 years. Last year I topped the plant by 2 feet & we moved locations & tada!!! We have flowers. 3 groupings, I love the smell. Smells like jasmine. I wish they lasted longer…
Can I cut the flower of the Corn Plant?
Certainly. Removing the flower stalk will not harm the plant.
We’ve had our corn plant around 5 years. This is the second time it has bloomed (always in the summer) and we have two blooms this year. We put our house plants outside for the summer. I have not seen the sticky nectar dripping like others have said. Not sure if it shows up when the blooms open or is also present when the blooms are forming. I think our blooms will be opening in the next few days. We do have ants on our plant. I’m sure they are drawn by the sweet nectar. Was wondering if this plant is like peonies, from what I understand they need ants on them for the blooms to open. But I guess that cannot be, as several people have indicated that their plant is in the house and they wouldn’t have ants in the house. But am also thinking that is why I’m not seeing nectar, because the ants are eating it. And as with most, we were shocked and did not know that corn plants bloomed the first time ours did.
Yes, the ants can be eating the nectar, but also, outdoors, nectar will largely evaporate (it’s mostly water). Indoors, the isn’t as common.
I bought my corn plant in 1976.
It was about a foot tall and I put it in my dorm room. It moved with me, apartment to apartment , house to house.
Around 2000, it was 8 feet tall and bloomed.
Yep. It was very very fragrant. It was in a west facing window.
One time only in 40 years.
And yes. I still have Plant.
Hi, first time here. I came looking for this specific information. That scent is gorgeous, and I was shocked to say the least when I realised my happy plant flowered. I have only had it for about 18 months. It finally found a happy existence on my back patio, regrown the burnt leaves and of course, flowered.
Given what you’ve written, can I assume that it may not necessarily happen again in a hurry?
Well, you never know, but for most people, it only happens very rarely!
My 17 year old corn plan that is as high as the ceiling now has bloomed 3 times. The first time was 4 years ago, then it skipped a year, then it bloomed last year and now this year again. Always in April. The first time after about a week I had to cut it off it was so strong. Last year I was in France and didn’t get to enjoy it. This year I’m into day maybe 4 of strong smell and contemplating its fate….I love the experience though! SO COOL! Thanks for this article!
I am shocked! I bought my corn plant in 1978. It has been through many moves. We moved to a very light-filled home 3 years ago and it got very healthy and taller. Before that, it had lived in our canyon home in a dark corner for 12 years, but still hit the ceiling.
I noticed a flower stalk for the first time the other day. The first time in 41 years! It’s still in the bud stage and I can’t wait for the flowers.
Yesterday, I start to close the blinds for the picture window, notice something strange to my right, here is my Dracaena (I had no idea), a person I know with plant knowledge, I sent her a picture, she told me so I looked up and found your web site.
I have had the plant prior to building and moving into my home, back on August 30, 1992, so the plant it over 27 years old, I cut it back constantly, the last time, I had it tagged up the wall and it finally outgrew the corner and was keeled over after maxing out at the ceiling, yes, it has never bloomed before, yesterday it did.
Mine has bloomed! It has several times over the past 5 years it seems to bloom after I’ve had a baby. I think I neglect all my plants for a few months after childbirth then they start getting my attention again and bloom. I assume they think it’s spring as they are finally getting water. I have left the blooms on and they have wilted there ins now little green balls growing from the dead blooms. Is that a seed pod?
Your instinct could well be correct: the corn plant does seem to bloom better after a period of negligence (although I can hardly recommend mistreating a plant as a gardening technique!). Yes, those green growths could be seed pods. Wait until they turn brown and open them to see if there are seeds.
How long after the buds on the plant before they open up?
Depending on the state the buds are in when you first notice them, it can take from a few days to several weeks.
We have two corn plants inside the house and they bloomed at the same time. One has 5 stalks of flower and the other one has 3. Just imagine how overpowering the scent was and thanks to your article I knew I could cut them before we all got dizzy with the scent. It’s winter time so we could not take the plants out. We had the plant for 3 years and finally it bloomed. I was just sad I was not able to see the flowers fully open.
Our corn plant, age uncertain, has sat in our south facing picture window for the past 1.5 years. We moved it to a corner next to the window (no direct sunlight) in mid November, and left it there. Just after thanksgiving it bloomed and started drooping. I thought it was in the throes of death and trying to reproduce, so I moved it back to the window, and cut off the dried blooms. It is now fine. We never smelled anything.
I notice a new growth on our plant and wonder what it was a few weeks ago and tonight the smell was awesome and could not figure it out. so I got on the net and found this website that answered all my questions. My plant is around five to six years old around 3 feet tall.
I am excited to say I have read your interesting article (thank you ???) because my flowering and intensely fragrant blooms precipitated my search for some answers. We have cared for this plant for about 17 years and have moved a couple times. It’s never bloomed before and it has happened right amongst our holiday season – what a beautiful gift ?
I’ve had my Corn Plant maybe 4 years but it was a mature plant from a very good nursery. It is way too tall now and I thought maybe I should cut back in the spring. It is normally outside but is in due to cold weather. Good sunny window. Alas! It’s blooming! No smell yet but this is the first day.
Don’t be afraid to cut it back. It will soon grow a new top.
My corn plants seem to bloom once every 8 or so years. Usually a few months after bringing them in from their summer vacation outdoors. I do think they prefer more light than most people give them. They also seem to do well with a companion in their pot – it also makes the planting more attractive. I love the fragrance of the flowers! It spreads throughout the house and makes me think of summer!
I just wanted to add that I’ve had these corn plants for about 27 years. When they get too tall I air layer them and cut them back. I’ve given away a number of plants. I currently have two plants that were cuttings at one point. One is about 7 feet tall (blooming now) the other is only about 4 feet tall. And I have also wondered if stress makes them flower.
Yes, stress can indeed help stimulate blooming. In fact, in many plants reluctant to bloom, a bit of stress can help. However, with the corn plant, a major change (like bringing yours indoors) only stimulates blooming occasionally.
My Dracaena just started flowering / budding but my wife and I don’t care for the strong odor. We normally just cut off the flowering segments and throw them away but since we like the plant itself, is there a way to propagate these flowering segments in soil to grow a new plant?
No, you can’t propagate from flower stems. You’d need to cut the top off the plant and root that.
Glad to hear all of this information! It took awhile for us to remember this plant bloomed. Had to cut off the flower though, way to pungent. Great information! Love my corn palm.
Thank you for this blog. I have read everyone’s messages. Now I know what to expect. I was very surprised when mine started blooming. My plant is only about 5 feet tall. I have had it for at least five years. I didn’t realize that they can grow taller. How can I take a clipping from the plant to start another?
Just cut off the top, say about 20 cm, remove a few rows of lower leaves to expose some bare stem, then insert into a pot of moist potting soil. It will take a while to root, but should do so successfully.
My corn plant has bloomed several times in the six years we have lived in Florida. It is about 15 years old. I keep it in our “florida” room during the summer and bring it in the house when it starts cooling off so I can bring outside plants into my florida room for the winter. It seems to bloom when I move it. From the warmer more humid environment to a little cooler less humid. Not sure if it’s related. Just interesting. Ours has three separate blooms on it now. Can’t wait till they open. They smell wonderful!
The change in environment can indeed help stimulate bloom, especially cooler air. It’s not really good for the plant per se, but it can react by blooming. Plants often bloom when they’re stressed.
2 days ago I noticed an unusual crop of leaves at the top of my corn plant and today i looked and there is a stalk of buds! I want to see what happens next but I am leaving the house for 30 days and I don’t want to miss what comes next! How long do the flowers last?
Over a month… and yours is not yet in bloom, so you should be good.
They will have bloomed and be gone within 30 days. Make sure the petals don’t fall where pets can get them.
Eee, eeee, eeeee!!! I just noticed the corn plant I’ve had so long I don’t remember how long or where I got it is BLOOMING!! The plant had been two sorry, spindly looking stalks for forever, I finally cut them off and rerooted those, and left just the ones on the bottom, and those are blooming. It’s also got more light where it is now. I can’t WAIT for the smell! Free air freshener… LOL Going to bookmark this page for all the other helpful info. So excited… ::wiggles happily::
I have owned my original corn plant since 1979, bough at a “plant party” which were popular back in the day. Mine has finally bloomed! I cannot believe it! It started blooming 14 days ago and the flowers had no scent. Just this evening we started to smell the flowers. Yes, it smells very nice and yes, it is very powerful! May have to cut the flowers off before Thanksgiving so we can smell the turkey!
I’ve personally owned one for 9 years after it was handed off to me at over 6 feet tall and several years old. It is now 10 feet, with no signs of stopping and is right now, flowering for the first time!!! Smells amazing!!! It’s so tall, however that it is now at my ceiling and I’d love to know how to properly cut off the 4 branches that stem from the single trunk to repot them without killing the whole tree??
In case it matters, the conditions in which it’s blooming… it’s been sitting directly in front of an air conditioner which had been operating 24/7 through a very hot new England summer. The air conditioner has been turned off for the past couple weeks after running for about 3 months nonstop. Apparently the tree is loving the new warmth and showing it! The roots are showing a bit and Id like to put some more soil on top. Any advice on best soil to buy?
Any houseplant potting mix will be fine. The corn plant is NOT a picky plant!
First, you can cut the whole thing nearly to the ground if you want to and it won’t kill it. It will simply grow back (slowly) from just below the cut. When you do cut back, do so much lower than you think you want or you’ll soon be in the same situation again.
The branches you cut off can be easily rooted. Take about an 8 to 12 inch tip cutting, remove the lower leaves and root in moist potting soil as shown here. https://laidbackgardener.blog/2017/03/06/rooting-cuttings-step-by-step/ It takes a while (the corn plant is very slow to do anything), but it will work.
My suggestion? Wait until March before you prune/take cuttings. It’s less stressful for the plant under spring/summer conditions.
When I went off to college in the late 90’s my mom gave each of my sisters and I a piece of her corn plant. Twenty plus years later each of us still own each of our beautiful corn plants. I happen to be the only one to have my corn plant bloom flowers. Not even my mom’s original plant has bloomed! Mine started to bloom about 5-6 years ago – at first once/per year and then every other year. I never know when to expect it. I love the fragrance that it leaves throughout my entire home air freshener has NOTHING on this plant. My reaction is always the same when I discover that there is a bud soon to be flowered. I take pictures of the growing flower bloom daily until it dies. Truly a stunning and fragrant sight. My corn plant that has grown to be over 7ft tall and its bloom continues to amaze me. I find that it will only bud if the very top of the plant is shorter than the window or glass door it is in front of. When I moved the plant where it was in front of a window but the very top of it had no direct sunlight exposure it didn’t bloom. I relocated to a home with very tall windows less than two months ago and couldn’t believe that after a year of nothing, it is budding again. This baby cannot be put in a corner!!! 🙂
What a charming story!
I think you’re onto something regarding the windows. I have had my corn plant for a little over a year and it must really love my NYC apartment with a 10 ft tall wall of windows and filtering roller blinds. My plant grew from around 5 feet tall to almost 7 feet tall. It has thrived! A few days ago I noticed an extremely strong, aromatic smell when I came home. I thought maybe some fruit had spoiled in the fridge or maybe a neighbor was using some strong cleaning products. I just now finally got around to looking at the side of the plant facing the window and there it was – a huge stalk full of these fragrant flowers coming out of the top. I suspect that it is has something to do with the fact that the entire plant gets bathed in filtered, indirect light because of the size of the window (and I leave the roller blinds down 80% of the time). I had no idea these plants flowered so of course I had to search online to find out what the heck was going on. I’m relieved that this isn’t an omen of climate change or the end of days!
Most indoor plants don’t really get as much light as they would like, so when they do, they react very postively. I agree with you: your plant is really loving the improved lighting!
Thank you, this explains why my plant is suddenly bloooming. I’ve had it for over 24 years and I’ve placed it at different locations throughout my home. This Fall I’ve placed it under a high stain glass window and was rewarded with blooms two days before Christmas! I never knew these could flower.
The scent, though beautiful, is really overwhelming. I may have to cut some of the flowers off just to cut down it’s reach.
LOVED this article. LOVE my corn plant. I’ve had it 30 years; just a baby the year we got married. I’ve never sustained a houseplant anywhere close to this long. Its survived relocation twice and a house fire! We just moved back in and it bloomed – we were SHOCKED, by the speed at which it grew, that the flowers are so pretty, and that the fragrance is COMPLETELY overpowering. (it’s next to our bed in a corner with 2 windows and is easily 8 feet tall) I had just cut it back a month prior! While AMAZING; we did have to cut the blooms – wow – it Felt like we were in a funeral home with about 1,000 flowers – Easter X 10 people. Crazy fun experience. Just like marriage – it can still surprise us after 30 years!!
I live in the tropics of Far North Queensland and my Happy Plant blooms here in the “Winter” months (June, July, August).
The perfume from the flower spike(s) is truly outstanding and fills my large garden with an exquisite fragrance!
This plant is tough as boots but always rewards with love and care.
What happens when the flowers die, so I just cut the bloom stalk off????
Yes. Cut cut it off at the base.
My corn plant just bloomed for the first time in over 19 years! I got it from my dad’s funeral in 1998! My husband just started putting coffee grounds in the pot this past year. It must like coffee as much as we do!
Or it simply matured! (I don’t see how coffee grounds can help it in any way!)
I’ve had mine about 15 yrs, gifted and it started to bloom about 4 yrs ago.. couldn’t figure out what the smell was around the house, and some white gooey flowers on my floor till I looked it up one day and there it was… I researched a little further and BOOM…
This yr it’s way much for us, 3 blooming stocks the dog is sneezing up a storm so, I went online to see if I cut them off without hurting the plant … and here U were … I did cut the blooms and placed them in a bowl, and put them in the basement where they will do good thank U for all the info and the conversation of others who have a corn plant/palm
Mine just started blooming after 10 years or more… however the leaves seem to dry up quicker now – is it possible because of the flowers?
It might possibly have a bit of an effect, as flowering does require some energy, but I doubt if any leaf loss will make a distance in the long run.
My indoor corn plant bloomed and was a surprise and joy to me and friends. Now it has stopped blooming and flower parts are turning brown should I leave them alone or cut them off?
When the blooms are brown, just cut them off.
Yay! So grateful for this blog and all the comments! My corn plant (I was told it was a Dracaena) has bloomed! I live at 7830 elevation in Lake Tahoe, NV, so I was surprised that my two potted plants, acquired at a yard sale last July, would even survive the winter much less bloom! Definitely a night blooming, sweet smelling, odd looking stalk with tiny white flowers. I am excited it bloomed for me it’s first year living in our house.
Excited to find this blog and continue to learn more about my house plants and outside deck flowers for our short summers.
Loving greenery inside,
I have had several corn plants … one lived 30 years. One I have now did bloom. It did not open at night and did not give off perfume. After it open I am getting yellow on some leaves and one totally died. Is that normal? Thank you. btw the rest of the leaves look normal. 😀
That doesn’t sound normal, but I can’t point out the exact reason. You might want to consider repotting into a fresh mix (for the one with yellow leaves) or supplying a bit more light.
My incredible Corn plant..I have only had it for 8years..it surprised me with these amazing blooms..I am beyond excited..I had no idea what was growing out of them. What a beautiful fragrance..and the flowers are something to behold..
How could I post a photo to you???
Send an email to email@example.com. You can add a photo to that.
I was gifted my plant by a friend that had a bit too many in a cluster. His has grown several feet and currently stands inches from the ceiling; and mine is very full with long broad leaves coming from two stalks. Yesterday I noticed what looked like a slightly different growth of the leaves. At inspection, I thought the girth and shape seemed like a bloom. Thanks to the internet I found this site and was able to read about this rarity. I am excited to see and smell this fragrance few even know can exist. Thank you for providing the resource, and I’m glad everyone has shared their experiences.
FINALLY, my mystery is solved all thanks to this website! About 5 days ago we started to notice a very strong fragrance when walking thru the family room & kitchen but we wrote it off to the new perfume spray my husband had just got for our dog. The smell was gone by the morning, but then returned with a vengeance that evening making the kids & I think that their Dad was really overdoing it with the dog spray. But as they continued to watch TV while I was washing dishes, I just happened to look out toward the window & noticed a partial flower on the backside of the palm tree which immediately drew my curiosity. So I went over, turned it around & let out a very loud WTF?! as I was in absolute shock over what I saw. I’ve had this palm for 15 years & had NEVER seen anything like this. It quite literally just popped out of nowhere & I couldn’t believe how long it was, having about 15 individual flowers on a long stem…how did I not notice this & how long has it been growing? My kids immediately thought it was something poisonous & that the strong smell was it’s way of infecting us (kids, lol). But I must say it was alarming so I immediately got on the internet to search for answers but for the life of me I couldn’t recall the type of palm tree it was so without that I couldn’t find anything that looked even close to the flowers on my palm. But then today, 5 days later for some unknown reason, the name just popped into my head….CORN PALM!!! And with that I went back to my computer & here I am, soooooooo relieved to know this is normal & it’s not some creepy parasite that’s invaded my beautiful palm!
So I say all of that to ask….
1. Do the flowers eventually die & then you just cut off the stem?
2. What is the clear, gooey, sticky stuff coming out of the flowers?
3. Once it blooms, will it continue to do this on a regular basis or is it a once in a 10yr kind of occurrence?
Thank you so much for creating the site!!
1. Yes. It’s very unlikely they’ll produce seeds, so they’ll die and dry up, then you can cut off the stem.
2. The gooey stuff is nectar. It’s sugary sweet and, in the wild, would feed the type of moth that does the pollinating.
3. Blooming is never regular with this plant, but yours is now mature and will likely bloom again within a few years, not necessarily after a decade.
I’m glad you enjoyed the text… enjoy your corn plant!
My corn plant bloom about two three years ago and the flower was blue and they look and smell like a lilac so is it didn’t look like I’m the pictures Are there different kine of corn plants
Yes, but I can’t think of any that would have blue flowers.
My corn plant has started to bloom only after 2 years of owning it! I had no idea they wouldn’t even bloom until this happened and someone pointed me to your article.
Probably you either bought a particularly mature corn plant or your growing conditions are exceptional. Congratulations!
Hoo Boy! My plant, although fantastic, makes me worry about the fragrance. It is still in the bud stage but I am particularly sensitive to floral fragrance. Most times it makes me nauseous. I do hope I will not react to my corn plant.
Will send pix when I can figure out how to download them from my camera.
I would like to thank you for this article on corn plants. I have owned my corn plant for 18 years and it is blooming!
We didn’t even know what was going on with the plant until I read your article.
After 18 years a plant is blooming? Doesn’t seem like a good survival strategy to us…
It is still in the bud stage with clear dripping sticky stuff coming out.
I will take pictures,, there are 6 bloom stalks!
Thank you again and you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
!8 years may seem like a long time, but in the wild, this plants is a slow-growing, understory plant that can live for many decades. It waits until it is ready before it blooms!
Glad to hear that it is not unusual! I’ve had my corn plant for 21 years and it just started blooming!
We have had this Draecena for less than a year. It was repotted when webpurchased it. It has been indoors and three feet from an eastern window in middle Georgia. It is healthy, beautiful plant, but the one stalk of blooms (in early December) are giving off a fragrance that is too strong to keep it in the house. If we remove the blooming stalk, will the fragrance stop? Please HELP!
Yes, just cut it off. That will do no harm to the plant. Or stick in a a closet at night.