All About The Marvelous Glass Gem Corn That You Must Know!

It was some time ago that a picture of the glass gem corn that is basically uniquely colorful corns created a massive sensation on the web. These corns looked so exciting and dreamingly drool-worthy that everyone wanted to know everything about them. We are going to attempt the same for you as you will find out that we have detailed out everything about these magically colorful corns in the following portions of the article.


glass gem corn

It was the mechanism of selective plant breeding that presented to us the resplendent corn variety called the Glass gems. You may think that these are synthetic corns but they are completely real and natural corns that derive their existence from the heritage corn crop varieties. This corn variety flaunts vibrant multi-colored corn kernels that look like rainbow strains.

The name of Glass Gems was given by the second developer of this corn variety, Schoen, and it was specifically meant for the pink-purple and blue-green variety. Many names have been given to these multi-color corns and some of the common ones include Circus colors, Deep blue, True rainbow, etc. These are also referred to as the Flint corns sometimes due to the hardness of the kernel’s outer layer.

This colorful corn is generally not eaten directly because it has high starch content. Thus, it is first ground into cornmeal and then used for making different dishes like grits, tortillas, pizza bases, popcorns, etc.

Other than for consumption purposes, the crops and plants of these corns make up to be great ornamental pieces. The colors can be experimented with as per the wish of the grower and it only requires the replanting of seeds taken from the target colored corns.

Little historical briefing on the glass germ corns

The emergence of this extremely stunning and dreamy gem corn owes to the efforts of one single man Carl Barnes who was a farmer hailing from the city of Oklahoma and was known to be keen about experimenting with his crops. It was the same efforts from his side that led to the invention of this colorful corn variety which was later developed upon by another farming enthusiast.

Corn has been a staple crop for the American indigenous population since ancient times and a lot of the tribal groups used to grow their varieties of corn on their lands. These corns slowly lost their relevance and went dormant as commercial agriculture took over the scenes and high-yielding varieties were favored more for higher productions.

Barnes has started observing the native American ancestors of the corn crop and cornered one specimen of each type that he found every time. He saved the seeds of these varieties and replanted some of them that belonged to the colored cobs group. With time, resultant crops started to yield the rainbow pattern corn and the rest is history.

The species was further developed by a fellow farmer of Barnes, Greg Schoen, who grew bigger batches of this corn species. He even experimented with the color combinations further and developed newer strains that have more amazing patterns and even more vibrant colors. It has been known by one account that Barnes had the rainbow corn variety developed by crossing between the Osage red flour corn variety, Greyhorse Osage corn variety, and the Pawnee miniature popcorns variety.

Guide on growing the amazing glass gem corn

glass gem corn

Just like the looks of this corn crop, to witness the growth of the corn is also delightful. So here are we are, with a guide to direct you about how you can raise your crop of gem corn.

Get the seeds

Now, you can choose to buy the seeds of one variety of these colored corns or many different varieties to grow them together. If you are in regions like the US or Europe, you can get the seeds easily from local stores or you can even order them from online websites/stores.

Choosing the right variety which picking the seeds is equally important. This is because the maturity period of these corn varieties is usually longer and they might not be able to get the growth window in the areas with shorter seasons. So choose the variety according to the season length and climate of your area.

It is the short season varieties that are usually good for growing at homes.

Basic requirements of the corn crop

This exotic plant doesn’t need too much to grow as you might think and you just have to arrange the following basic needs of it:

  • Sunlight is needed by this corn plant in plentiful amounts and you must make sure to arrange a place for them that receive direct and full sunlight.
  • You can choose from a range of soils to grow this corn as it can acclimatize itself to various pH levels. The soil must be fertile, properly draining, and moisture-retentive too.
  • The wind isn’t a very good friend of this glass corn so keep them a bit sheltered against high winds.
  • For the areas with a colder climate and shorter warm seasons, arrange greenhouse structures or high tunnels for the plant to grow in.

Method of starting the corn plants

Depending upon the climate of your area, there are two ways you can start these plants.

Starting indoors

For the colder areas, this is the better method where you can sow the seeds in controlled conditions. Fill a good quality potting in a seed tray and sow the seeds evenly spaced in it. Spacing is very important as that prevents root clashing by providing them enough room for growth.

Once the seedlings are ready, you can transplant them outside when the soil has warmed up thoroughly till about 60 degrees F.

Planting them outdoors

Sow around 3-4 seeds together into a warm and fertilized soil in a hole. All such seed clusters must be spaced at about 3-4 feet from each other. Move the young plants when the spring arrives and frost is completely gone.

Keep a space of at least 6 inches between each plant of glass corn. It is preferable to plant the younglings in rows as that facilitates easier wind pollination of the crop and leads to higher yields. The rows must have a space of about 30 inches between each other.

Caring for the corn plants

Here are some useful tips that you must follow to give the right care to the growing corn plants:

  • Water the plants nicely enough to keep the soil moist always but not waterlogged. Make sure that they get around one-inch water in a week.
  • These plants need average feeding and will do well when fed with any balanced liquid fertilizer after the cobs emerge.
  • Use any good organic material to mulch the corn plants so that they get a slow and steady supply of nutrition all along the growth season.
  • You can follow the ancient ‘Three sisters planting scheme’ to optimize the growth of corn plants. This involves growing the three crops of corn, pumpkins, and beans together as they help each other nutritionally and structurally.

Harvesting and storing the corn crop

Once the corn reaches full maturity, its husks and stalks start to brown and dry out. This is when they are ready to be harvested. Simply, detach the husks away from the main stalk by twisting it in the downward direction at one go.

You can peel the cobs and dry them further to ensure longer storage for them. Press the kernel and if it feels hard enough, then it is nicely dried and ready for storage and usage both.

Preparing to eat these glass gem corns

Who doesn’t think of popcorns when talking about corns but the popcorns of this variety won’t be colorful as you may expect. You can make glass gem corn edible popcorns only when the cobs are dried off enough after being harvested so that the corn kernels start falling off it themselves. This happens due to the moisture content drying up completely and that in turn allows for the corns to be popped.

Here is the simple way to pop these corns:

  • Heat some coconut oil in a big deep pan or pot. Check if it has warmed enough by test popping one corn kernel.
  • Put the dried corn kernels into the oil and cover the lid.
  • Keep removing the pot away from the heat every 30 seconds till the corns are all popped. Mix salt and butter for amping up the taste.

You can make cornmeal from these corn too. Just add the desired quantity of corns to a blender and blend at slow to fast speed till the consistency is achieved. This cornmeal can be stored for about a year easily in cool and dry conditions.


This was all about the amazing glass gem corn that is a delight to not just watch but also to grow and eat. You can have your crop of glass corn by following the guide we gave rightly and prepare the kernels as you may like to have them.

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