Zea mays


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Key information

Plant type



Half hardy

Skill level


Zea mays

Plant details

Believed to have been first cultivated in Mexico, sweetcorn, Zea mays, was introduced into Europe in the 16th century and soon became a staple crop. Its deliciously sweet cobs can be barbecued to eat hole or boiled with the kernals separated to add to dishes. There are many sweetcorn varieties, ripening early, mid-season or late, and are therefore suited to different parts of the UK.

Grow Zea mays in blocks rather than in rows, to ensure full wind-pollination. It needs full sun, in moist but well-drained, fertile, preferably acid or neutral soils. Tassels at the ends of cobs turn black as an indication of ripeness.

Family: Poaceae

Genus: Zea

Species: mays

Plant type: Vegetable

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light

Hardiness: Half hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 150cm

Spread: 60cm

Reader reviews

captain ge

It looks very delicious.

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