trolleyShop online as usualarrow rightcashbackEarn cashbackarrow rightgiftGet paid in days, not months

Fast Cashback & Exciting Wins Await!

Experience the thrill of shopping like never before with Not only do you earn fast cashback on your purchases (paid in days, not months), but every buy also gives you a shot at winning amazing prizes. It's shopping, redefined. Dive in now and make every purchase count double!



4 Things To Know About Growing Corn From Kernels

Written by Dale Richardson - Updated: June 23, 2023

Stay Updated with Expert Tips!

Love our DIY guides and solutions for common household problems? Get expert advice, tips, and exclusive offers in our newsletter. From garden hacks to home maintenance and special deals, we've got it all. Join our growing community now!

We care about your data in our privacy policy.

Is a kernel of corn a corn seed? Are there different kinds of corn kernels? What will happen if I put a kernel of popcorn into the ground? We will answer all these questions and more as we discuss how to grow corn from kernels.

A corn kernel is a corn seed. There are 5 different types of corn: sweet, popcorn, field, flint, and pod. For each type, there are hundreds of different varieties to choose from, so do your research and find the best corn kernels to grow in your area. To grow corn in your garden, you can buy kernels from a certified seed company, or you can make a trip to your local grocery store or farmer's market. You can also grow a rare, heritage variety. Then you are all set to grow this vegetable/grain/fruit in your own garden.

When you buy a cob of corn, it has around 800 kernels arranged in 16 rows. These kernels are the part of the corn that you eat. A corn kernel is a corn seed, and each of these kernels will grow into a new corn plant. If you plan on planting corn kernels in your garden, here are 4 things to consider.

  1. Types of Corn
  2. Sourcing and cultivating kernels
  3. Rare kernels
  4. Is a kernel of corn a vegetable?

1. Types Of Corn

There are six different types of corn, and they all grow from kernels harvested off the cobs. These types are sweet corn, popcorn, dent, flint, field, and pod.

Read Next: How to grow corn to feed your chickens.

Sweet Corn

This the type of corn grown for eating fresh on the cob, canned, or frozen. It is the sweetest type, and if that not enough for you, it also comes in super sweet. Sweet corn is the most commonly grown corn in the home garden .


Popcorn is the second most commonly grown corn for gardeners. This type has less sugar and more starch than sweet corn and will pop up very nicely when heated. This type is popular for self-sufficient growers because it can be dried and stored for years, and the dried kernels can be either popped and eaten or planted back in the garden.


Image by Carmen Edenhofer

Field Corn

There are many different types of field corn, but the most common is dent corn. Dent corn has even more starch than popcorn. This type is used to make flour and cornmeal, and there are many varieties of dent corn available on the market. Most corn fed to livestock is generally a variety of dent corn.

Other varieties of field corn are also used to make ethanol. These varieties would be a little harder to source for the home gardener, but if you are looking at being truly self-sufficient, this is the way to go.

Flint Corn

Flint corn is usually grown as an ornamental corn. Its kernels become very hard when they are dry, and they are usually very brightly coloured.

Pod Corn

Pod corn is much less common, and many places do not even list it as a type. It is grown in South and Central America, and is more akin to a wild grass. Instead of the kernels growing right on the cob, the kernels form inside small husks.

2. Sourcing And Cultivating Corn Kernels

Most seed companies sell corn kernels. In this case, it is often a good idea to shop from local suppliers as they will sell varieties that are more suited to your specific local. For example, corn needs a fairly long season of warm days, and if you order a variety from another country it might not form mature ears in your growing season.

You can also grow corn that you buy at the grocery store. We go into more detail about how to grow supermarket corn kernels in another article.


Image by Global Crop Diversity Trust

3. Rare Kernels

Corn has been grown for over 10,000 years. Throughout the centuries, corn has been bred and crossbred to produce many different varieties with "improved" characteristics. But we should not forget about the ancient varieties that our ancestors grew . These heritage varieties have many qualities that are superior in the self-sufficient garden.

First and foremost, the ancient Mexicans did not have access to seed catalouges, so they had to save their own seeds to grow every year. If you are striving to be more self-sufficient, then these varieties will let you grow and cultivate your own stock year after year. There are also many seed exchange programs out there that promote the cultivation and sharing of these disappearing varieties.

Who owns the seeds?

4. Is A Kernel Of Corn A Vegetable?

What is corn? Is it a vegetable, a grain, or a fruit? There are many differing opinions on the matter, but it is actually all three. A whole cob of corn is usually considered a vegetable, as is a kernel when it is eaten fresh, frozen, or canned. However, if the kernel is dried, such as for popcorn, or ground into cornmeal, then it is considered a whole grain. To further complicate matters, most whole grains are technically fruits because they come from the flowering part of the plant.

I personally like the unscientific classification that if you would put it on ice cream it is a fruit, otherwise, it is a vegetable. So corn seems more like a vegetable to me as I haven't seen corn flavoured ice cream yet (but I would probably try it if they made it).

One More Thing Before You Go!

Craving more DIY insights? Don't miss our expert guides and exclusive deals. Subscribe now and get the best of home and garden tips straight to your inbox. Join our community and stay in the know!

We care about your data in our privacy policy.

Get Cashback Faster & Earn Free Fraffle Tickets

Shop at your favourite stores and enjoy cashback in days, not months. Plus, sign up today to get 5x Free Fraffle tickets!

ALDI logo
B&Q logo
Adidas logo
Argos logo
North face logo
Currys logo
Pets-at-home logo
AA logo
AO logo
BT logo