5 Reasons Why Corn Plant Stalks With No Leaves? [Troubleshooting]

Corn plants (also known as Dracaena plants) are a bit sensitive to environmental fluctuations and it’s very frequent for them to lose all of their leaves in a slight inconvenience. So, it readily becomes a challenge for the gardeners to keep the issues in check. 

Overwatering, underwatering, too much exposure to sunlight, over-fertilization and pest attack are the 5 major reasons why your corn plant stalk has no leaves. 

Here, the good news is, in this article, I have addressed all these problems in detail so that you can know the symptoms one by one and find out what is exactly causing your corn plants to drop leaves.

In addition, at the end of the article I’ve included a basic and easy caring guide for your corn plant that will come in handy all the time. So without losing any time, let’s get right down to business–

The Reasons Behind The Corn Plant Dead Stalk With Control Measure

Corn Plant Has a Dead Stalk

1. Overwatering

When the plants are overwatered, it causes the root rot fungus to attack. You see, the roots that are attacked by the fungus become unable to breathe. Moreover, it becomes very hard to get rid of them. 

Because of too much watering, your corn plant will eventually end up having no leaves on the stalk. You will also notice the leaves will turn dark brown around the edges and the soil near the stalk will be wet and very stinky. 

Here, the good news is, even if all the leaves have fallen off of your plant, you can still save it if you quickly come to its rescue.

Control Measure

In this case, you have to save the corn plant from the wet soil as soon as possible. So, you have to lift the plant gently from the pot and replace the whole soil with a good houseplant soil mixture (our pick: Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix). Also, make sure you choose a pot that has adequate drainage facilities.

Now it’s time to observe the roots. If it looks mushy and black with an awful smell that confirms the presence of root rot fungus.

But before planting it in the soil you need to trim out the rotten portions of the root with a sharp knife that is sterilized with a household bleach solution. However, be sure to dry the knife completely before starting to cut the roots.

After cutting all the infected roots, rinse the healthy roots with gentle running water. Also, make sure you trim some of the leaves so that the rest of the limited roots don’t feel extra pressure while maintaining the root-shoot proportion. 

Then, treat the healthy portion of the root with the best fungicide that’s effective against root rot fungus. (Our pick: Monterey LG 6145 70% Neem Oil Ready-To-Spray Insecticide, Miticide, & Fungicide)

Now you have to plant them in a new pot with fresh and dry soil followed by light watering. After that, it’s better to not water it for a few days as long as the soil is moist. 

Eventually, when the roots have properly recovered, you will notice that the new growth of leaves has started to emerge. 

Besides, make sure you dispose of the infected soil safely away from all the healthy plants and after finishing working with the cutting tools make sure you sterilize them again with a bleach mixture for a few minutes. 

2. Underwatering

If you haven’t watered your Dracaena plants for a long time then you will gradually notice that the leaves are dropping from the stalk and the stalk is becoming bare. In addition, the soil will look dry and the leaves will turn light brown and crispy around the edges. 

Control Measure

In this case, you have to feed your plant with small amounts of water to make the soil moist. If you add a bulk amount of water suddenly in your under-watered corn plant, it will do more damage than good. 

After that, keep monitoring the plant for a few days and snip off the brown tips of the leaves because they are not going to recover back to green. Eventually, after a few days new growth will start to occur.

3. Too Much Sunlight

Sometimes when your corn plant is left exposed to direct sunlight for longer than usual it starts to burn the leaves and makes scorch marks on the leaf surfaces. Also when the humidity around the corn plant is low the plant will continue to lose leaves. 

Control Measure

In this case, you have to relocate your corn plant to a more shaded location and make sure the soil doesn’t get too dry. 

Because under the scorching sun, the plant loses its moisture more quickly so if you haven’t watered them in a while then there are more chances for them to die under the hot sun.

Also, you have to increase the humidity around your corn plant. For this, you can group some of your houseplants together and their collective transportation and evaporation will raise the humidity around them.

Again, you can use a slightly larger tray filled with pebbles and enough water under your corn plant pot. In addition, remember to keep the top of the pebble layer dry and make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the pot. 

This pebble tray will supply the necessary humidity to your corn plant. However, you have to check the water level of the plant very often and refill the tray with water as required. 

Besides, you can also get a humidifier in your house if you don’t want to maintain the pebble tray regularly.

4. Over Fertilization

You see, potted corn plants have limited soil and as a result, a slight overdose of fertilizers can result in a white crust or salt buildup on the soil surface. So, if your corn plant has started to lose leaves just after a few days of adding fertilizer then the reason is clearly evident. 

Control Measure

In this case, lift up the plant from the soil and put the roots under running water to wash out the extra salts. 

Add an all-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer once a month during the growing season at half-strength.

Also, allow enough water in the pot after removing the plant so that it can reach out all the excess and unused salts from the soil. Once the soil has flushed out all the extra water through the drainage hole you can plant the corn plant back in the soil. 

Also, make sure you don’t put any fertilizers on the plant for at least a couple of months.

5. Pest Attack

Aphids, spider mites, thrips, and mealy bugs suck the sap from your corn plant’s leaves and severe infestation causes the leaves to turn yellow and drop off. 

To look for pesky pests you have to check both the upper side and underside of the leaves along with the stems. You can also use a magnifying glass to spot them as they are very tiny creatures.

The pests will make sucking spots that gradually will turn brown from yellow. In a severe case, soon the leaves will wilt and drop off from the stalks. 

Control Measure

When you notice the insects you have to quarantine your corn plant away from the other healthy ones to prevent further infestation. And cover the corn plant’s soil with plastic. Now hose down your plant with a moderately strong speed of water to lodge off the pests.

After that use a good insecticide that is suitable for houseplants and safe for humans as well. Be sure to apply it during the morning period and never use it under the hot scorching sun as it can burn the foliage. 

You can also use neem oil and insecticidal soap for more natural control. The homemade recipes are given below–

#Recipe 1:- Neem Oil Recipe:


  • 1 tablespoon of neem oil 
  • 1 liter of water 


  • Mix neem oil and water together and pour it into a sprayer
  • Now spray 2-3 times every week on both sides of your corn plant leaves and stems thoroughly until the pests are gone
  • You can also use it once a week as a preventive measure
  • Once all the pests are killed, get your corn plant placed with the rest of your indoor plants

#Recipe 2:- Insecticidal Soap Recipe:


  • 5 tablespoons of liquid mild soap
  • A gallon of water 


  • Mix them and pour them into the sprayer.
  • Spray on both sides of the corn plant leaves and stems once  every one or two weeks as long as necessary

Note:  All the homemade insecticide recipes aren’t always safe for your plants. Sometimes they can cause a negative reaction with the corn plant. This is why you have to use a small amount of the homemade recipes in a single leaf first. 

If it reacts negatively such as by burning or curling the leaves then dilute the solution with some water before applying it in bulk. If it still doesn’t suit your corn plant then leave that particular recipe out.

A Quick Caring Guide For Corn Plant Stalk With No Leaves

Corn Plant Stalk With No Leaves Care

  • When planting the corn plants make sure the soil mixture contains perlite, vermiculite or sand in them. These ingredients will improve soil aeration and prevent root rot.
  • Choose a pot for planting that is perfectly in proportion with the plant’s height.
  • Water them every 2-3 weeks during the summer season and never allow the soil to stay dry for too long.
  • During winter water is only once a month. Don’t water it in one go, rather pour the water slowly maintaining a half an hour interval.
  • In both cases make sure the extra water seeps through the drainage holes.
  • It’s better to avoid adding any fertilizer in the first month.
  • Add a good all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer once every month diluted at half strength during the spring and summertime.
  • During winter completely avoid any fertilizers at all because in this period the plant is in the dormant stage.
  • Never apply fertilizers under the scorching sun as it can burn the leaves
  • Also, avoid over-fertilization because excess salts in the soil can damage the roots.
  • Corn plants need bright and indirect sunlight to grow best. So, avoid exposing them to harsh and direct sunlight.
  • While moving it to a window take your time and slowly move it a few feet every week to make it gradually well-adjusted to the bright light condition. 
  • Keep them in a temperature range between 55-75°F (13-24°C). However, keep it far away from air conditioners and heaters. 
  • Repot the plant in a bigger pot every 2-3 years to help it grow more.
  • Prune all damaged and infected foliage from time to time to keep it looking handsome.
  • In a dusty environment gently wipe off the leaf surfaces with a damp cloth to clean them and help the plant absorb more air. 

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Will corn plant leaves grow back?

A slight pruning of the plant can help it grow. You can cut off the top 5-8 inches and the plant will slowly grow from that point. While pruning you have to remove the dead and dying leaves also to help the plant send more energy to the growing portion. 

Can a Corn plant with no leaves survive?

The corn plant can survive without leaves for a few days but it’s very important for the plant to produce new leaves. Because without the leaves the plants will not be able to photosynthesize and make food for themselves.

Is my corn plant stalk dead?

If the stalk is dead then it will have no living leaves and besides the stalk will turn gray in color also. In a few days, the stem will become very brittle and it will easily crack under finger pressure. Moreover, the dead stalk will get completely separated from the roots and as a result, it can be very easily pulled out.


There is no point in growing a corn plant that has no leaves but if you have a clear idea why its stalk is losing leaves then you can easily deal with the issues on your own. 

Just keep providing a regular watering and fertilizing schedule and soak them under the sun as much as they need. Soon your corn plant stalks will grow new lush green leaves again. 

I hope this article helped guide you in the right direction to find out what is wrong with your corn plants and provided you with the easiest way of solving the most pressing issues.

If you have any further questions regarding the corn plant ask away in the comment section without any hesitation. I will get back to you with your answers as quickly as possible.

James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg

James Rivenburg is the founder of plantandpest.com, a passionate gardener with valuable experience and knowledge gained through trial and error. The website has a large community of followers who trust his tips and techniques and have succeeded with his advice. He is always Committed to helping others create a beautiful and healthy garden.

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