Can You Grow Corn From Popcorn Kernels?- Yes, You can grow corns from popcorn kernels. Any healthy corn kernel can germinate. It only requires proper temperature and moisture.
Popcorn kernels are not meant for growing. Still, there is a significant chance of germination with these corn kernels.
Only make sure these kernels are not cooked, boiled, or roasted. Otherwise, it is simply a waste of time and money.
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Is it possible to grow corn from commercial popcorn?
Yes, it is possible to grow corn from commercial popcorn unless it is dead. The popcorn you buy is for consumption purposes. Popcorn kernels are mostly hybrid corn varieties. We have grown these for culinary use.
These kernels will not grow if they are already cooked. Therefore, it is a matter of trial and error for growing a popcorn kernel.
If you are planning to grow popcorn kernels then make sure they are viable. Some imported varieties of popcorn are sterile in nature. These kernels are treated with radiation to kill any germ. This radiation treatment kills the living cells inside the kernel. It better to cook and eat them especially if they have popcorn to eat.
Suppose if any popcorn kernel germinate. Still, the chance of getting any healthy yield is very low. It is better to choose a store-bought heirloom popcorn variety to grow. They have a better germination rate than packed popcorns.
What is the problem in growing popcorn kernels?
Any corn that we can pop to eat is popcorn. So there is no specific distinction in botany for popcorn. The difference between any corn and popcorn is a culinary difference. Therefore, It is not right to expect kernels from a similar corn variety inside a popcorn bag.
If you decide to grow these then the difference in species and the viability of each kernel is a problem. Most likely the bagged popcorn kernels are not good for germination. If they are raw then you can expect some growth. But the chances of successful germination are minimal.
Next, even if any seed germinates the chance of healthy growth is very less. Yes if you manage to grow a popcorn kernel into a healthy plant then you will require an open garden space. Why?- because Cornflowers are wind-pollinated. They can’t fertilize on their own. You will require several popcorn plants to get successful fertilization. This requires a 3 x 3-meter square area in the garden. Here you have to plant at least 8-10 popcorn plants at 1 feet intervals.
Finally, even if you have done everything right, the quality of corn kernel produced will not satisfy your expectation. You probably won’t get similar kernels as you have planted. It is mostly due to cross-pollination in the parent plants.
Corn plants grown for seed production are kept separated and isolated from different varieties. The popcorn you bought need not maintain these criteria.
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What to do if a popcorn kernel germinate?
Suppose you have successfully germinated some popcorn kernels. Now it is time to move them out in the garden. You will need at least 4-5 germinated kernels. 1 or 2 plants may not produce any corn earn.
- Place each germinated kernel in the soil at a 1-inch depth.
- Keep a uniform distance of 1 foot or 12 inches between two popcorn kernels.
- Place the kernels in a square pattern instead of a single row. This will help in pollination.
- Water once or twice every week to keep the soil moist.
- Feed the plants with balanced fertilizers.
- Take care of weeds, pests, or any disease.
- Wait for the corn plant to mature and develop corn ears.
- The final task is to harvest the popcorns when the leaves start yellowing or browning.
Can we grow popcorn kernels with other corn plants?
Yes, you can grow a different variety of corn with popcorn kernels. They will grow perfectly fine. But this is strictly not recommended due to the chance of cross-pollination.
Corn pollinate through the wind. they can’t do self-pollination. It means a corn plant can only form fruit if it gets pollen grains from another plant. If it gets pollen from another variety then you can have unexpected results. This can change the normal kernel development.
This can cost you economically especially if you grow corn for seed production. Your corn seeds can hybridize unintentionally.
Will the popcorn grown from kernels taste the same?
Nope, definitely not. You can indeed grow popcorn from a popcorn kernel. But it will not taste the same as the kernel you have previously collected.
This is mostly due to cross-pollination that occurred in the parent plants. They were not grown isolated from other corns. Actually, they don’t have to. Farmers grow popcorn varieties for culinary use. they don’t want to use the kernel for growing corns. Therefore, they ignore any cross-pollination between the varieties grown alternate in the fields.
This cross-pollination may result in popcorns with different tastes. It is for sure that they will not taste sweet as popcorns are not meant to.
Why do gardeners prefer store-bought corns over packed popcorns to grow?
Store-bought corns are determinant and of the same variety. They are mostly an heirloom variety of corns. Some of them can be popped as popcorns.
These varieties may have a higher germination rate than packed popcorns. A common problem with packed popcorn is that they are packed with oil and butter. They are sometimes pre-cooked or boiled before packaging. This will end any chance of germination.
Sometimes preservatives are also used to cure the seeds for healthy consumption. They can germinate but the chance is very low. Also, the quality of the plant and final yield is unknown. Therefore, most gardeners prefer store-bought corns over packed popcorns.
Can you grow corn from popcorn kernels? Write your opinion in the comment section. Check out this before leaving- Common Tuberose Pests and Diseases with Solution.
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