Corn Growth Stages

Typical corn plants develop 20 to 21 total leaves, silk about 65 days after emergence, and mature around 125 days after emergence. The specific time interval, however, can vary among hybrids, environments, planting date, and location. The length of time between each growth stage, therefore, is dependent upon these circumstances. For example, an early maturing hybrid may produce fewer leaves or progress through the different growth stages at a faster rate than described here. In contrast, a late-maturity hybrid may develop more leaves and progress through each growth stage at a slower pace.

Almost all pest management decisions for corn are based on the vegetative stage. These are identified by the number of collars present on the corn plant. The leaf collar is the light-colored collar-like “band” located at the base of an exposed leaf blade, near the spot where the leaf blade comes in contact with the stem of the plant. Leaves within the whorl, not fully expanded and with no visible leaf collar are not included. For example, a plant with 3 collars would be called a V3 plant, however, there may be 6 leaves showing on the plant.