Browse corn varieties at our Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners website.
all varieties on the market are hybrids. It is difficult to maintain
vigor and sweetness in open-pollinated varieties.
differences in kernel color (white, yellow, bicolor), ear size,
sweetness (explained below) and days to harvest - early (55 to 70
days), midseason (71 to 85 days) and late (more than 85 days). Days to
maturity are only estimates, and will vary considerably depending on
growing conditions, most notably heat.
Sweet corn hybrids come in different levels of sweetness:
(su) - These hybrids are flavorful, stress-tolerant, and vigorous
growers. But they aren’t as sweet as other hybrids and their sugar
starts turning to starch quickly after picking. Hence the tradition of
getting the water boiling before picking and shucking them.
(se, se+, EH, Everlasting Heritage) - Fall between normal and
supersweet hybrids in terms of vigor, stress tolerance, flavor,
sweetness, and how quickly their sugar changes to starch. They do not
need to be isolated from normal hybrids.
shrunken) - These hybrids contain two to three times more sugar than
normal hybrids, and the sugar in their kernels changes to starch very
slowly after harvest. But they aren’t as vigorous as normal hybrids,
are more easily stressed by cold and other problems, and often lack the
corny flavor or normal hybrids. They must also be isolated from Normal
and Sugar-enhanced varieties pollinating within 10 to 14 days by at
least 25 feet (250 feet for larger commercial plantings), or the
kernels will be tough and starchy.
Other improved genetics
- In recent years, corn breeders have come up with a host of other
varieties that are often different combinations of these three basic
types. They include Synergistic types (Sweet Breeds, TripleSweets),
Augmented types (Gourmet Sweet Brand, Multisweet, Xtra-Tender Brand),
Table Sweet, and more.
Figuring out which of these varieties
need isolation from others can be complicated. Look to your seed
company for specific information, but in general, keep su and se types
isolated from sh2 types:
su and se types:
- Normal (su)
- Sugar-enhanced (se, se+ EH)
- Synergistic types (Sweet Breeds, Triple Sweet)
- Table Sweet
- Supersweet (sh2, shrunken)
- Augmented (Gourmet Sweet Brand, Multisweet, Xtra-Tender Brand)
you plan to grow corn in the traditional “Three Sisters” planting of
corn, beans and squash, choose another type of corn that you won’t
harvest until the ears are fully mature and dry. These include popcorn,
ornamental corn or field corn (dent, flint and flour corns grown for
meal or animal feed). That way, you won’t have to walk on squash vines
or disturb climbing beans harvesting sweet corn while the other crops
are still growing.
Broom corn - traditionally used for making brooms - is a different species, Sorghum bicolor.
or baby corn can be grown from regular hybrids or those developed
specifically for early harvest. See Growing Information.
Some varieties recommended for New York:
Early sweet corn:
Midseason sweet corn:
Late Season sweet corn:
Northern Extra Sweet