Growing sweet corn in Missouri
Sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. rugosa) is one of the most popular summer vegetable crops grown in Missouri. Like peppers, pumpkins, squash and beans, sweet corn is native to the New World where it has been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. Sweet corn is a monecious plant, which means it has a separate male and female flower on each stalk. The tassel is the male flower, which produces the pollen, and the ear is the female flower (Figure 1). For kernels to form on each ear, pollen from the tassel must be deposited on the silk of the ear. Sweet corn is wind pollinated, although bees are often seen collecting nectar and pollen from the tassels. For small plantings of sweet corn, a series of short rows rather than a single, long row will improve the chances for efficient pollination. Sweet corn typically produces one or two ears per plant.
Archive version. For most recent information see extension.missouri.edu.