Choclo: The Peruvian Giant Corn Facts and Growing Information

Native to Peru and Ecuador Peruvian Giant Corn – also known as Choclo is a hideously large variety of corn.

How Tall Does Choclo Corn Get?

The stalks reach up to 18 feet in height, a runt in a litter of this cultivar would tower over standard varieties at a whopping 14 feet.

Tall Choclo corn growing in a field.

One would think this would be the tallest corn in the world, but it’s not. Chiapas 234 is the tallest corn in the world and can grow to be 35 feet tall.

Choclo Weight and Yield

In standard varieties of corn, the average weight runs from 25 – 35 grams per 100 kernels [1] In Peruvian Giant Corn the weight per 100 kernels runs from 90 – 95 grams per 100 kernels – that’s nearly 3 times the size and yield.

It is late-maturing corn and is estimated to need 120 – 150 days to mature.

They are not an easy crop to produce, it requires determination and vigilance to grow.

One would think being indigenous to the Andes mountainous they would be adapted to windy conditions, but this is not the case. They evolved in the Peruvian Urrabamba Valley and vicinity which is sheltered and has relatively mild weather.

They do not withstand strong winds and need persistent staking, at 14-18 feet in height that’s a chore and a half.

The plants produce numerous relatively short cobs with gigundous kernels.

What Does Giant Peruvian Corn Taste Like?

The taste is comparable to standard sweet corn. It is not overly sweet – mild to blandly sweet with a creamy texture would be the best description.

Peruvians usually boil them. In Ecuador and Bolivia, they dry them first then burst or “pop” them in oil – somewhat like popcorn.

How to Plant and Grow Choclo

Corn Should be planted in blocks as opposed to rows and should not be planted near other varieties of Corn. Cross-pollination tends to produce poor tasting starchy corn.

Sugar Pearl, as per some suppliers does not need to be isolated as other varieties do – this is just fine for the Sugar Pearl, but not necessarily the other variety.

Peruvian Giant Corn can be seeded directly into the soil, or it can also be started indoors and later transplanted. If starting indoors be sure you have a larger than standard container as it could easily outgrow the container before transplant time.

Whichever mode you choose, Plant it in blocks, at least four rows wide, for proper pollination and well-filled ears.

Choclo Growing Facts and Requirements

  • Sowing depth Approx. 2 – 2.5 inches
  • Germination 6 to 8 days
  • Maturity at 120 – 150 days.
  • Color – White – Pale Yellow
  • Seed Spacing – 12 to 14 inches apart.
  • Row spacing – 3.5 – 4.5 feet
  • USDA Hardiness Zones 3- 9
  • Plant Size 14 – 18 Feet Tall
  • Ear Size – 7 – 8 Inches Long
  • Full Sun
  • Above Average Yields per Sq. Footage – Anticipate 3 or more ears per Stalk.

Corn has shallow roots and uses a lot of nitrogen as well as trace elements. To help your crop get off to the best start possible, prepare the soil first with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

Well, rotted manure or compost is also helpful.

Plant in the northern side of the garden as corn stalks will deny sunlight to the rest of your garden crops, you also might want to grow somewhere it will provide shade to plants that can not tolerate full sunlight.