Growing Corn Stages: Step By Step Guide

corn growing stages

There are two main stages which are the vegetative stage and the reproductive stage.


This stage is identified by the number of collars seen on the plant. The vegetative development of corn is staged by the leaf collar. Explained below are the stages in the vegetative growth stage:

I) VE: Here, corn seedlings emerge from the soil with the absence of leaf collars. This can occur 4-5 days after planting under normal conditions. It can take up to two weeks or more if planted under cool or dry conditions

II) V1-V5: Here, there is an appearance of a round-tipped leaf on the first collar followed by an elongation of nodal roots. The plants become 2-4 inches tall and rely on energy in V2. In V3, the plant makes a switch from kernel reserves to photosynthesis and there is a control by the nodal roots. In V4, there is a control of broadleaf weeds and in V5, there is a determination of the number of potential leaf and ear shoots

III) V6-V8: After about 4-6 weeks after VE, the growing point grows above the soil surface which causes an increase in susceptibility to frost, hail, or wind damage. At V7, there is rapid growth and stem elongation. The plant reaches a height of 60cm in phase V8

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IV) V9-V11: Following 6-8 weeks after VE, corn growth steadily begins with a rapid period of growth and dry matter accumulation. At V9, the tassel is noticed to be developing rapidly although still yet to be visible and every 2-3 days, there is an appearance of new leaves coupled with the development of ear shoots

V) V12-Vnth: At this phase, the plant is nothing less than 4 feet tall. There is a high demand for nutrients and water to meet growth requirements. All leaves are full-sized and half-exposed to sunlight. Here, the plant is about 2 weeks away from silking at V15. The tassel, though not visible, is near full size.

VI) VT: After emergence, the corn enters a critical period where successful pollination is needed to make conversion of potential kernels into viable developing kernels. This begins about 9-10 weeks after emergence. Here, the plant has reached full size with the tassels being fully visible and the silks emerging in 2-3 days. There is an occurrence of pollen shed which continues for about 1-2 weeks.

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Below are the phases in the reproductive stage:

I) R1 SILKING: Silking is known to be a critical stage when determining the yield potential. Once the silks are visible, the plant is in the R1 phase. Pollination occurs at the base and moves towards the tip

II) R2 BLISTER: 12 days after silking, the silks darken and dry out. Kernels appear white and form a little blister containing clear fluid. Each kernel contains 85% moisture and develops an embryo.

III) R3 MILK: Here, the kernel turns yellow and the clear fluid turns milky white as there is an accumulation of starch. This occurs about 20 days after silking. There can also be cases of shallow kernels, stalk cannibalization, or perhaps lodging.

IV) R4 DOUGH: In this phase, the starchy liquid inside the kernels possesses a dough-like consistency. This occurs about 26 days after silking.

V) R5 DENT: Almost all the kernels are dented and continued about 55% moisture. This occurs about 38 days after silking. The cob appears white, pink, or red. Silage harvest may begin. Learn more about harvesting corn seeds.

VI) R6 BLACK LAYER: At this phase, physiological maturity is reached, coupled with the kernels attaining a maximum dry weight at 30 to 35% moisture. There is a determination of total yield.

Frequently asked questions

Below are some of the frequently asked questions about corn growing stages:

What is V3 stage in Corn Growth?

The V3 stage of corn growth is referred to as a stage in which corn has developed 3 visible collard leaves.

How many stages of vegetative corn are there?

Corn has 2 different stages of growth. These are the vegetative and reproductive phases. On the other hand, the vegetative stage is further subdivided into v1, v2, V3, V(n), and Vt.

How long does it take for corn to sprout?

Corn is usually planted 10 days to 3 weeks after all the dangers of last spring frost have passed. Then, the corn will sprout usually 10 days to 2 weeks of planting.

Why do farmers leave a raw of corn?

Farmers usually leave rows in the field so that adjustors will have full information about what is happening in the field. The rows are also made to improve soil quality.

Should you soak corn before planting?

It is not necessary you must soak corn before planting. However, soaking the corn in water helps speed up the germination process. To soak your corn seeds, place the corn in water at room temperatures and allow them to soak overnight.


I hope this article provides you excellent tips about the growing stages of corn. I would like to hear from you about corn growing up stages. Let me know if you have any questions.

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