Oct 04

How to Grow -Broomcorn

Wouldn't it be wonderful to just grow your own Autumn decorations, and have no need for something made in a factory far, far away?

Ornamental gourds are one good way, as well as pumpkins and decorative corn stalks.
Here's another you may not have tried:

broomcorn in the home garden

Look up, way up.

Also known as 'sorghum' broomcorn is planted the same way as sweet corn.
One difference you'll easily see is that the broomcorn can get to be 10 ft. tall and more.
It also does not form ears, but is grown for its beautiful 'straw' which can be used in floral arrangements, wreaths and other decorations, or to make brooms.

When the stalks are ready to harvest they may bend down like this one, or you can wait for them to turn brown.

broomcorn stalks falling over when ready

Pick me pick me!

Hanging them upside down will help the straw to dry a little straighter.
You can then remove the seeds to keep for next year or leave attached for the pretty colors.

growing broomcorn for floral arrangements

How pretty.

This is our first time growing sorghum, and we're thinking perhaps we'll hang it on the front of the house with some smaller ears of colorful corn.

decorative or edible corn

What the squirrels missed.

Next year we want to try to grow enough to make a broom; which can of course, double as a Halloween Costume accessory.
Maybe not for Mandolin though.

broomcorn aka sorghum seeds

Mixed colors.

Botanical name: Sorghum bicolor
Days to maturity: long, about 4 months
Spacing: 8-12"
Yield: One stalk per seed planted
Height: 10 ft. or more
Harvest: When stalks dry or bend over
Storage: dry completely or use fresh and discard
Seed: annual heirloom
Tip: Fish fertilizer helps corn and broomcorn grow healthier.

Broomcorn? Yeah...
you can grow that

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    • Avatar of gj
    • SowandSo on October 5, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Can’t wait to see what autumn decorations you will make with broomcorn!

    • Avatar of gj
    • Jennifer on October 5, 2012 at 4:14 am

    Great post! Very interesting. I use a lot of seedheads and such from my garden for decor, but have never heard of/thought of using that. I’ll check it out!

    • Avatar of gj
    • Heather on October 5, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Question. The article says it functions like corn, do you have to plant it away from corn like you have to do different varieties of corn?

    • Avatar of gj
    • gj on October 5, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Great question Heather! Since Broomcorn’s botanical name is Sorghum, and Sweet Corn’s is Ze Mays, I would guess they will not cross as two kinids of Zea Mays would. Mine was planted on the far side of the garden for height’s sake, so I can’t say from experience.

    • Avatar of gj
    • gj on October 5, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Thanks Jennifer, it was fun to try womething new and it certainly got attention!

    • Avatar of gj
    • gj on October 5, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Thanks Sow and So- I just used some narrow wire to attach the corn to the broomcorn stalks, then hun it on the door. I like simple things.

    • Avatar of gj
    • marcia on November 12, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Saw a large serpentine planting of sorghum at Chanticleer in PA last month. Cool stuff.

    • Avatar of gj
    • gj on November 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Oooh I’ll bet it was- they are such pretty plants!

    • Avatar of gj
    • Ronnie on July 29, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Question-My colored broom corn is heading out but don’t see any colors. The seed was colored. Do the colors come out with maturity?

    • Avatar of gj
    • gj on July 31, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    They should, yes. Ours started out a tanish-yellow, then developed into a deep red with hints of yellow and orange. Good luck!

    • Avatar of gj
    • ken on August 24, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Hello!~ was wondering I just got about 250 seeds and live in Florida. If I was to plant now, would I be able to grow them sept-nov/ maybe even into Dec. as long as it doesn’t get to cold~ was wondering since it still has plenty of sun and is still in the 80’s degree’s~ was thinking about trying a few seeds just to see what happens with them~

    • Avatar of gj
    • gj on August 25, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Ken, that’s great you got so many seeds!
    It was my understanding that you can grow in Florida pretty much all year. I would check out Mother Earth News’ ‘What to Plant Now’ and use their online tool for the specific area you live in. Good luck!

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