Sweet Corn Varieties - What's the Difference?

There are bunches of different sweet corn varieties and more are being developed every year. Sweet corn can be divided into 3 main categories:

  • SU - Normal Sugar
  • SE - Sugar Enhanced
  • SH2 - Supersweet
  • Heirloom

SU, or normal sugar hybrids, these varieties usually have the highest yields. They are generally not as sweet as SE or SH2 varieties, but their flavor and texture is still quite good. SU sweet corn varieties are considered the universal standard of quality for sweet corn and no isolation is needed.

  • Silver Queen - this variety has become the standard that all others are measured against, features large ears that average 8" long and 14-16 rows of white kernels, plants reach 8 feet tall, ready in 92 days, tender and sweet


Corn Seed Packet

  • Early Sunglow - this variety is ready in 63 days and grows on stalks that average just 4.5 feet tall, ears average 7" long with 12 rows of yellow kernels, stalks typically yield 2 ears each, good choice for cool climates


  • Honey and Cream - this bi-color variety features white and yellow kernels, ready in 84 days, good for freezing or canning, ears average 8" and 12 rows of kernels, fairly sweet with a firm texture, plants average 7 feet tall




SE, or sugar enhanced, these sweet corn varieties contain the highest sugar content and are typically very tender, corn stays sweeter longer, good up 2 weeks after harvest, no isolation needed

  • Peaches and Cream - this variety features ears that average 8" long and 18-20 rows of bi-color (white and yellow) kernels, plants average 6 feet tall, ready in 70 days, sweet and tender


  • Kandy Korn - this variety is ready in 89 days on average, plants reach 8-9 feet tall, 8" ears average 18 rows of pale yellow kernels, very sweet and tender and holds well for up to 14 days after reaching maturity, creamy texture


  • Ambrosia - this variety features 8" ears with 14 rows of white and yellow kernels, very plump and sweet, plants average 6.5 feet tall, ready in 75 days




  • Ruby Queen - this unique sweet corn variety features 8" ears and 18 rows of red kernels, red tassels and stalks are very eye-catching, kernels are very sweet and juicy, plants average 7 feet tall and some produce 2 ears each, ready in 75 days, available exclusively through the Burpee Seed Company


  • Ear Of Corn On Stalk

  • Double Delicious - this sweet corn variety is ready in 83 days, 18-20 rows of golden kernels on ears that average 9" long, very sweet and tender, plants reach 7 feet tall, available exclusively through the Gurney's Seed and Nursery Company


  • Bodacious - features 8" ears with 18 rows of golden yellow kernels, very sweet and juicy, excellent disease resistance, plants average 7 feet tall, ready in 75 days, good fresh or for freezing or canning


  • Cloud Nine - this variety is ready in 76 days, plants average 6.5 feet tall, ears are 8' and have 16 rows of white kernels, moderate disease resistance, common to get 3 ears per stalk, very sweet and tender


  • Sugar Buns - very plump and sweet, ears average 7" long and feature 18 rows of golden yellow kernels, ready in 72 days, good choice for freezing and canning, plants average 6.5 feet tall, very sweet, moderate disease resistance


  • Quickie - very early variety, ready in 68 days, plants average 5 feet tall, 7" ears have 12-14 rows of white and pale yellow kernels, good flavor and texture, good choice for cool climates




SH2, or super sweet, these sweet corn varieties feature a very crisp texture and ultra-sweet flavor, usually best within 4 days of harvesting, needs to be isolated from other varieties to prevent cross-pollination to preserve sweetness

  • Northern Xtra Sweet - this early variety is ready in 67 days, plants average 5-6 feet tall, 9" ears average 16 rows of kernels, very sweet and juicy, good for cooler climates, available as a bi-color (white and yellow) or with all yellow kernels


  • Corn On Cob

  • Honey 'n Pearl - this bi-color variety features 16 rows of white and golden kernels on 8" ears, many stalks produce 2 ears each, ready in 78 days, plants average 7 feet tall, All-America Winner, very sweet and tender, good choice fresh or for canning or freezing


  • Early Xtra Sweet - this variety is ready in 71 days, plants average 5-6 feet tall, 9" ears average 14 rows of golden yellow kernels, All-America Winner, extremely sweet and plump


  • Illini Xtra Sweet - this variety is very sweet if eaten shortly after harvest, 8" ears average 18 rows of golden yellow kernels, very good for freezing, plants reach 6 feet tall, ready in 85 days, kernels are tender and juicy


Heirloom, or open-pollinated, these sweet corn varieties are self sustaining and the kernels can be saved and planted the following year, should be isolated from other varieties to prevent cross-pollination, most varieties have historical significance

  • Golden Bantam - this variety is the one that first made yellow sweet corn popular, developed in 1902, sweet with an old-fashioned flavor, plants average 5 feet tall and often bear 2 ears each, ears average 6" long and have 12-14 rows of yellow kernels, ready in 80 days


  • Stowell's Evergreen - this variety dates back to the mid 1800s, very tall plants can reach 10 feet, many stalks produce 2-3 ears each, ears average 8" with 16 rows of white kernels, tender and sweet




  • Country Gentleman - this unique variety is known as shoepeg corn in the South, creamy white kernels aren't lined up in rows but scattered over the whole ear, plants reach 8 feet tall and commonly produce 2-3 ears each, ears are 7", ready in 90 days, excellent choice for roasting


Sunset In Cornfield

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