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Vanilla vine under shade with green vanilla beans
~ To grow a new vanilla vine you need a cutting from another vanilla plant. It's not possible to grow vanilla from a seed.
~ The vanilla plant requires a tropical climate similar to the area where the plant is normally grown. It is sensitive to light, heat, and moisture.
~ An ideal environment is indirect sunlight with ample humidity, away from cold temperatures.
The temperature should be consistently around 80 degrees F. The plant must have shade cover - no direct sunlight
~ Provide a post in your pot. The vanilla bean will grow as a vine and needs a host to grow on.
~It must have distinct moist and dry periods during year. It takes 3 years for a vine to be mature enough to bear flowers.
~ The vine must be stressed by depriving it of water for 6-8 weeks to trigger the growth of flowers. Vanilla flowers will only appear on 'downcomers', shoots bent over pointing towards the ground.
~ Vanilla flowers are yellow to greenish-yellow with long tubular flowers; almost like a stretched out daffodil. As each flower blossoms, one by one, you need to pollinate them by hand to grow vanilla beans.
~ To pollinate, remove the lip of the flower. Take the pollen from the anther area of the flower and place it in the nectar, which is located in the stigma, a flap on the top right column behind the flower.
The next day there will be another. Buds, flowers and infloresences appear in the same group together
~ Pollinated flowers will quickly produce green beans. These must be left on the vine for 6 months to allow the vanillin to develop. If you pick them too early there will be no vanilla flavour
~ When the tip of the green beans starts to turn yellow it's the time to pick them.
Wild vanilla vine growing straight up a tree - no flowers