How Do You Grow Painted Hill Corn?

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Painted Hill Corn

Growing Painted Hill Corn

This variety of corn almost looks like candy! Maybe this is where candymakers got the inspiration for candy corn, right? Whatever it’s history may be, having the Painted Hill Corn (Zea mays var. saccharata) in your garden will add so much more fun and color into your vegetable garden!

How Do You Grow Painted Hill Corn?

Choosing the Right Variety

When growing Painted Hill Corn, it's important to choose a variety that is well-suited to your climate and growing conditions. Look for varieties that have a short maturity period and can handle your local weather conditions.

Preparing the Soil

Before planting, prepare the soil by removing any weeds or rocks. Loosen the soil using a garden fork or tiller to create a loose and fertile bed for the corn.


Plant the corn seeds in rows, spaced about 12-18 inches apart. Make sure to plant them at a depth of about 1-2 inches. If you're planting multiple rows, leave a distance of at least 30 inches between each row.


Keep the soil consistently moist during the growing season, especially when the corn is actively growing. Water deeply and avoid watering the leaves to prevent disease. Aim to provide around 1 inch of water each week, either through rainfall or irrigation.


Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 formula, at planting time. Side-dress the corn with nitrogen-rich fertilizer when the plants are about knee-high to promote healthy growth.

Managing Weeds

Regularly check for weeds and remove them to prevent competition for nutrients and water. Consider using mulch around the plants to help suppress weed growth and conserve moisture.

Pest Control

Keep a lookout for common corn pests such as corn borers and aphids. Use organic pest control methods like insecticidal soaps or introduce beneficial insects to control populations. Monitor the plants carefully and take appropriate action if pests become a problem.


The corn is ready for harvest when the silks turn brown and dry, and the kernels feel plump and juicy. To harvest, simply twist or pull the ears downward until they break away from the stalk. Eat fresh or store in a cool place.

Tools and Supplies

  • Garden fork or tiller
  • Corn seeds
  • Balanced fertilizer
  • Nitrogen-rich fertilizer
  • Organic pest control methods

Growing Painted Hill Corn: Tips For A Rich, Healthy Harvest

If you’re looking for a unique corn crop to bring your garden to life, Painted Hill Corn is an excellent choice. This variety produces vibrant, colorful corn heads that add both flavor and excitement to any meal. Plus, unlike many hybrid corn varieties, Painted Hill Corn is certified organic and non-GMO, so you can feel good about the food you’re feeding your family. Read on for our top tips for harvesting a full and healthy crop of Painted Hill Corn.

Choosing The Right Area To Plant

When selecting a spot to grow your Painted Hill Corn, make sure you have a warm, sunny location as this variety loves the sun and thrives in heat. You should also look for an area with well-draining soil, as this type of corn is prone to root rot in overly-saturated soil. Before planting, add organic compost or manure into the soil to ensure your corn has plenty of nutritious access to the nutrients it needs to grow.

Timing The Planting

Painted Hill Corn is an early- to mid-season variety, so you should time your planting accordingly. It’s best to wait until the soil is warm, usually a few weeks after the last frost of early spring. Plant your seeds a foot apart in rows, spacing each row about three feet apart. Don’t cover the seeds with more than a few inches of soil, as they need light to germinate.

Proper Watering And Managing Weeds

As your Painted Hill Corn grows, be sure you’re adequately watering it (about one inch of water per week). It’s also essential to watch for weeds. Some weeds can steal the necessary nutrition from your corn, so it’s best to use your hands to diligently remove them as needed.

Harvesting Your Corn

Expect to harvest your Painted Hill Corn between 55 and 75 days after planting (depending on the temperatures in your area). When you’re ready to pick it, look at the ears of corn – the husks should be a creamy yellow color and have a slightly sticky feel when touched. Gently peel back a couple of the husks to check the kernels – if they’re plump and yellowish-white, your Painted Hill Corn is ready to be picked.

The Perfect Side Dish For Every Meal

With its unique flavor and beautiful, vibrant colors, Painted Hill Corn is a crowd-pleaser that's perfect for everything from salads and salsa to grilled corn on the cob and more. When grown correctly, it can easily supplement your garden harvest for months in the year.

Keep these tips in mind next time you’re looking to add a little something extra to your garden. We’re confident you’ll be glad you took the time to plant this delicious, organic corn!


1. What is Painted Hill Corn?

Painted Hill Corn is a unique variety of corn that is prized for its vibrant and colorful kernels. Each kernel of Painted Hill Corn features a stunning array of hues, including shades of red, yellow, blue, and purple. This corn variety not only adds a pop of color to your garden but also makes for an eye-catching addition to floral arrangements and decorations.

2. How do I grow Painted Hill Corn?

Growing Painted Hill Corn is quite similar to growing regular corn varieties. It requires a sunny location with well-draining soil. Start by preparing the soil by adding organic matter and ensuring it is well-fertilized. Plant the corn seeds in rows, spacing them about 12 inches apart. Make sure to water the plants regularly and provide ample support by staking them if needed. Painted Hill Corn typically takes about 75-90 days to mature.

3. Can Painted Hill Corn be grown in containers?

While Painted Hill Corn is traditionally grown in gardens or large plots, it can also be grown successfully in containers. Ensure that the container is at least 12 inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the corn plants. Fill the container with well-draining potting soil mixed with compost. Place the container in a sunny spot and water regularly. However, note that the yield may be smaller compared to growing in the ground.

4. When is the best time to harvest Painted Hill Corn?

The best time to harvest Painted Hill Corn is when the ears are fully mature and the silks have turned brown. You can gently peel back the husk to check the color and readiness of the kernels. The husks should be dry and papery. To harvest, hold the corn stalk firmly and twist the ear downward, avoiding any jerking or pulling motion. Enjoy the vibrant colors and delicious taste of your Painted Hill Corn!

5. Can I save seeds from Painted Hill Corn for next year?

Absolutely! Saving seeds from Painted Hill Corn is a great way to grow this unique variety again in future seasons. To save the seeds, leave the ears on the corn stalks until they are completely dry. Remove the husks and store the dried ears in a cool, dry place. Once the ears are thoroughly dry, strip the kernels from the cobs and store them in a sealed container. Make sure to label and date the container for future reference.

Painted Hill Corn is a beautiful and flavorful addition to any garden. By following these simple guidelines, you can successfully grow, harvest, and save seeds from this stunning corn variety.

Painted Hill corn may require some extra effort in planting and harvesting, but with some patience and extra care it can be a rewarding addition to your garden. It is a beautiful heirloom variety that will bring a unique flavor to your table. If you're looking for something special and delicious to grow, Painted Hill corn is the perfect choice.

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