Growing Sweet Corn

By Staff

The term “sweet corn” is actually a broad phrase that includes a number of different sweet corn varieties. This summer, shake up your garden plot — and wake up your taste buds! — with one of these terrific sweet corn crops. The chart below categorizes sweet corn crops by type and variety, providing descriptions and optimal growing conditions for each. For more on sweet corn varieties and growing tips, read All About Growing Sweet Corn.





Cultural Tips




Early Hybrids
65 to 75 days

Small plants grow to less than 6 feet tall,and bear one or two small to medium- sized ears per plant.

Best bets for cold climates or for growing in small gardens. With ample water and fertilizer, early hybrids can produce high-quality sweet corn.

‘Early Sunglow’,
‘Fleet Bicolor’,
‘Spring Treat’,
‘Sugar Buns’

Main Season Hybrids
75 to 90 days
Vigorous, stocky plants typically load up with two big ears each. The best-flavored,
most productive varieties are in this group.
When growing in average soil, fertilize with a high-nitrogen plant meal or other organic fertilizer when plants are 1 foot tall, and a second time when the tassels emerge.

‘Illini Xtra-Sweet’,
‘Marai Bicolor’,

Open Pollinated/ Heirloom
75 to 90 days
Plants vary in size, with some up to 8 feet
tall. Expect one or two ears per plant. Sugars rapidly convert to starches as the kernels mature. Check ears daily as they approach ripeness.
Wide Spacing helps older strains prosper with less fertilizer than hybrids. The tall stalks can double as
trellises for snap beans, and provide filtered shade for pumpkins or winter squash.

‘Black Aztec’,
‘Double Standard’,
‘Golden Bantam’,
‘Luther Hill’,
‘Texas Honey June’