Most corn comes in just yellow or white, but Indian corn is much more variable. Some varieties are a single color in shades of white, red, blue and black, but most are multi-colored. These calico-patterned ears with a patchwork of white, blue, red, gold and yellow kernels result from cross-pollination with plants of solid-colored cultivars.
These colorful cultivars are used primarily for decoration in autumn, and especially in conjunction with Thanksgiving. They can be used in wreaths, centerpieces and other decorations, along with dried flowers or other plant material. There are cultivars that produce regular-sized ears as well as some that have small, 2-4 inch ears.
This type of corn grows the same as regular sweet or field corn. However, when trying to produce solid-colored corn follow the planting instructions to avoid planting cultivars too close together, which will result in calico-colored ears. Another difference from growing sweet corn is harvesting. The ears used for ornamental purposes should remain on the stalks until the husks are no longer green and then should be cured in a warm, dry area for about a week. They can then be displayed or stored for many weeks or months at room temperature. If keeping the ears for decoration in subsequent years, or for seeds to grow plants the following year, be sure to store in animal-proof containers mice love them!.
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