When corn plants emerge, it's not uncommon for seedlings to have a purplish tint or some uneven early growth. These observations often worry some corn growers. However, when the purple color disappears—usually after the six-leaf stage—so do growers’ concerns. The ultimate goals of corn production are harvestability and yield, and current evidence shows purple seedling color does not relate to either.
Concern about purple seedling color is understandable. If there is something wrong, growers want to know the cause of the problem. What causes corn to turn purple? Is it bad? Will it affect crop development or yield? What can or should be done about it?
This article discusses factors that can influence purpling in corn seedlings and explore another seedling condition; uneven early growth. It is important to remember that while both these conditions occur during the seedling stage in corn growth, they are not correlated.