Zea mays var. saccharata

Botanical Name: Zea mays var. saccharata

Common Name(s): Sweetcorn (mealies)



Sweetcorn is the home gardener’s version of green mealies, both of which are easy-to-grow, warm-season crops. However, green mealies require much more space than sweetcorn and are not recommended for the average home garden.

Family: Poaceae

Botanical Pronunciation: ZEE-uh

Frost Hardy
Non Indigenous
Full Sun
Moderate Watering
Pruning Required

Common Pests and Diseases

Cutworms, caterpillars, streak (a viral disease that appears in late sowing, causing pale, longitudinal stripes on foliage).There is no chemical remedy for streak; destroy infected plants as soon as it is noticed.






To check for maturity, choose cobs where the silks have turned brown.Pull open the husk from the top and press the grains with a thumbnail.The cob is ready to pick if the kernels exude a creamy juice.Kernels from overripe cobs are tough and doughy.


Water regularly and feed by applying a side dressing of nitrogen fertilizer when seedlings have started to grow well; repeat when tassels appear.Keep the rows weed-free.


Central America

Planting Instructions

Grow sweetcorn in short rows next to each other to promote better pollination.Prepare the soil well with organic matter and general fertilizer before sowing seeds directly into rows, 25mm deep and 150mm apart in the row.

Soil Conditions

Prepare the soil well with organic matter and general fertilizer.


Three 2m-long rows are ample for a family of four.Sow every three weeks in season.

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