When to Plant Corn in North Carolina? Things to Know!

Written by

William Golder


Dorian Goodwin

when to plant corn in north carolina

Corn has become a dietary stable in numerous regions of the world; it ranks among the most popular vegetables in the United States. To survive, modern corn species rely solely on human farming.

This starchy grain longs for warm earth and sunlit conditions for optimal growth and development. Typically, it is sown from spring to summer, around from April 15 to September 15.

Read on to know when to plant corn in North Carolina!

Best Time to Plant Corn in North Carolina


1. Season and climate

When considering the appropriate timing for planting corn, take note of your climate conditions first. Typically, corn flourishes in warm temperatures ranging from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. So, before sowing in early spring, ensure the average temperatures remain consistently above 60°F (15°C).

Aside from corn’s love for sunny conditions, corn also requires abundant rainfall and a long cultivation period. Thus, North Carolina’s humid subtropical climate, characterized by scorching summers and gentle winters, is perfect for corn cultivation.

2. Planting period based on frost dates

1. Indoor Corn Planting (From Seed)


You can start sowing corn early if you intend to add it to your summer garden. Since corn is sensitive to frost, plant the seeds indoors. This is typically done about two weeks before the final frost dates, which fall from mid-March to the start of April.

To do this correctly, cover your planted seeds with a plastic bag to keep the moisture and heat locked in. Place them under a sunny area, possibly on a windowsill. It is better to have a greenhouse since you can place them in a temperature-controlled environment to facilitate faster germination.

The only drawback of this method is that seedlings have to acclimate to outdoor conditions later on. Make sure you subject them to a hardening-off process before transplanting to the ground to avoid them withering or dying. This should be done after the risk of frost has subsided.

2. Outdoor Corn Planting (From Seed)


If you wish to follow the traditional outdoor planting, it is advisable to wait two weeks after the risks of all frost have concluded. Generally, mid-April to early May presents a secure timeframe for corn planting outside.

Additionally, during this time, the soil temperature is sufficiently warm to support seed germination. A helpful tip to enhance the germination rate and process is to soak the seeds overnight in lukewarm water before planting.

Always remember that corn is a frost-sensitive crop that needs 130 frost-free days or more to flourish. To calculate the perfect cultivation time, refer to the table below!

3. Frost Dates Table

Places in North Carolina Last Frost Date First Frost Date NC Growing Season
Charlotte April 5 October 30 207 days
Raleigh April 3 November 4 214 days
Asheville April 13 October 26 195 days
Durham April 9 November 1 205 days
Greensboro April 5 October 31 208 days

3. USDA hardiness zone


Corn thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones from 3 to 11. Fortunately, North Carolina belongs to zones from 5B to 8B, making it a compatible place for corn planting. Since the spring-to-summer timetable might differ according to zones, this chart will help you determine the best months to plant corn in your area!

USDA Hardiness Zone Final Frost Dates Planting Time
Zone 5 Around April 30 Mid May to Mid September
Zone 6 Around April 21 May to September
Zone 7 Around April 3 May to June
Zone 8 Around March 28 Mid April to August

Corn Varieties Suitable in NC


Since North Carolina falls under USDA Hardiness Zones 5-8, you can cultivate the following varieties in your area!

  1. Sweet Corn– this corn variety is naturally yellow, white, or a blend of these hues;  it also has a subtly sugary flavor.
  2. Field Corn– is occasionally referred to as “Dent Corn” because of its notable dent that develops on the kernel as it dries.
  3. Country Gentleman– this variety stands out due to its distinctive feature: irregularly positioned white kernels rather than rows.
  4. Double Red– the unique trait of this variety is that its stems, foliage, and cobs all have shades of purple.
  5. Popcorn– a flint-type corn that has been chosen genetically for its capacity to pop upon exposure to heat.
Variety USDA Hardiness Exposure Planting Season Blooming Season Days of Maturity
Sweet Corn  




Full sun


Spring to Summer



60- 100
Field/ Dent Corn 55-60
Country Gentleman 80- 100
Double Red 85
Popcorn 90- 120

Corn Planting Guide

1. Plant requirements


1. Soil

Plant your seedlings with a spacing of 8 to 12 inches to ensure they receive ample sunlight in well-drained soil with a pH level ranging from 6.0 to 6.8. Blend in a few inches of mature compost or other nutrient-rich organic material to enhance the soil’s quality.

2. Sunlight

Plant corn in a sunny area, away from tall trees that could cast shadows on your crop. Since corn varieties are mainly tall, consider placing them on the North or East side of your garden to make sure that shorter crops receive adequate sunlight.

3. Water management

Corn needs about an inch deep worth of water weekly, particularly when tassels emerge on stalks. Be cautious not to stress corn during cross-pollination to prevent kernels from missing. Remember to water at the soil level to avoid washing off pollen from the flowering tops.

2. Harvest time


The corn harvest season starts when corn ears are full, and the silks turn brown and dry. Start checking around three weeks after the first silk appears. Begin harvesting when kernels are developed, and silks are dry. Remember that timing varies based on corn variety, usage, and local climate.


I hope we have given you insights and strategies to empower you and answer your queries regarding when to plant corn in North Carolina. Do not hesitate to return to this guide anytime, as this was made to stand as your corn-planting companion.

We look forward to witnessing your corn plants healthily sway in the North Carolina breeze. Enjoy planting your first kernels!

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