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Vanilla flower

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Vanilla vine under shade with green vanilla beans

Flower small

~ 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.

Vanilla vine growing straight up a tree

Wild vanilla vine growing straight up a tree - no flowers

HOW TO GROW VANILLA