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Japanese Striped Ornamental Corn

Zea mays var. japonica

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Japanese Striped Ornamental Corn (Zea mays var. japonica) at Roger's Gardens

Japanese Striped Ornamental Corn foliage

Japanese Striped Ornamental Corn foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  5 feet

Spacing:  18 inches

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  (annual)


Mainly grown for its esthetic appeal, this variety is a must have in sunny summer gardens and large containers; striking striped leaves of greens, creams, yellows and pinks are front and center and give way to small burgundy ears of corn

Ornamental Features

Japanese Striped Ornamental Corn is primarily grown for its highly ornamental fruit. The burgundy fruits are held in abundance in spectacular clusters from mid summer to early fall. Its attractive enormous sword-like leaves remain green in color with prominent creamy white stripes throughout the season.

Landscape Attributes

Japanese Striped Ornamental Corn is an open herbaceous annual with a shapely form and gracefully arching foliage. Its wonderfully bold, coarse texture can be very effective in a balanced garden composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should never be pruned except to remove any dieback, as it tends not to take pruning well. It is a good choice for attracting birds and squirrels to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Japanese Striped Ornamental Corn is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Japanese Striped Ornamental Corn will grow to be about 5 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 18 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 18 inches apart. It tends to be leggy, with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and should be underplanted with lower-growing perennials. This fast-growing annual will normally live for one full growing season, needing replacement the following year.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is native to parts of North America.

Japanese Striped Ornamental Corn is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its height, it is often used as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Massing  Screening  Garden  Container 
Fruit  Foliage Color  Texture  Plant Form  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features