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How Do I Choose the Best Popcorn Seeds?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated May 16, 2024
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Growing your own popcorn can be a fun and economical activity for your family. When you are choosing popcorn seeds, it is important to know how long each variety takes to mature. Each type pops differently, so you should find out a little about each one first. The size of the stalks vary, which means the amount of space you have for growing this crop can be a factor. Ears of popcorn ears vary in color, and the right one can depend on how you plan to use them.

Popcorn seeds take anywhere from 85 to 115 days to fully develop. They may normally be planted after the danger of last frost. You can find out when the last frost normally occurs by consulting an almanac, which will also tell you when the first frost might be expected. This information can help you calculate the number of days in the growing season and then choose a variety that will mature within that period.

Some popcorn seeds produce kernels that are fluffier and uniform in size when popped. Robust Hybrid, for example, is a type of popcorn that is normally very large after popping. Others are known for having most of the popcorn kernels pop, and two examples of this are Strawberry and Japanese Hulless. If you are concerned about the size or quality of the kernels, you may want to choose one of these seeds.

Varieties such as Lady Finger may only reach around 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 m) tall. Robust Hybrid,on the other hand, can sometimes grow as tall as 9 feet (2.7 m) high. Growing a taller specimen could be difficult if you have power lines or trees overhead because these objects might interfere with the plant’s growth. In this instance, you may want a smaller variety so you do not have to worry about the popcorn growing too high. Taller plants normally produce a higher yield, so if you have enough space to accommodate them, these might be a better choice.

While most popcorn seeds produce yellow kernels, some may result in red, blue, or purple corn instead. This does not normally affect the quality or taste of the kernels when they are popped. You could want to use popcorn ears for decoration, so a colorful one could be a good choice for this. The color of the kernels is normally listed on the package, so it can be a good idea to read this information if you are looking for a decorative variety.

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Discussion Comments
By Reminiscence — On Oct 01, 2014

I've had a lot of dental work over the years, so I have to be careful when it comes to snacks like popcorn. The hulls can get stuck between my teeth and gums and cause all sorts of problems. If I could grow my own hulless popcorn in my backyard garden, I think I could actually eat it more often.

I suppose the only way to prepare homegrown popcorn would be the old fashioned way, with hot oil in a pot. Maybe a hot air popper would work, too, but I doubt it could be done in a microwave. I might just try buying the hulless popcorn kernels from a farmer first and then see if I like it well enough to grow it myself.

By RocketLanch8 — On Oct 01, 2014

I would have never thought of planting my own popcorn, since I live in the city. After reading this article, though, I think it would be interesting for an organization to grow some in a communal garden and sell the popcorn as a fundraiser. I can see people paying a fair price for red, white and blue popcorn on the 4th of July or something.

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