Vanilla tree – Vanilla is not a tree, the mistake happens because it’s vine that grow on thee, can be grown from stem cuttings with a good size and at least 2 growing nodes. Vanilla tree is not actually a tree, but a kind of flowering vine under the orchid family.
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Vanillas are climbing plants that prefer high humidity and bright, indirect sunlight. They also require ample water and extremely warm temperatures. You can grow your own vanilla plant at home if you can provide the right growing conditions. Your vanilla plant will produce pods in around 3 to 5 years after planting a cutting.
How to grow a Vanilla tree:
- Since growing a vanilla plant usually takes years, it does not make sense to try to start from seed. You will need to purchase a plant from a reputable grower.
- Choose a container that is slightly larger than the pot the plant arrived in. you could also use a pot that is twice the size of its original pot.
- Fill your pot halfway with a potting mix specifically made for orchids. You could also use a mix of half bark and half general purpose potting mix as an alternative.
- Lightly squeeze the bottom of the plant bag to release your vanilla plant. Be careful not to pull the plant out by its stem. If it is root-bound, gently pull at the bottom of the root ball with your fingers to release some of its roots.
- Your vanilla plants will be needing support to climb on. Gently push your stake into the pot near the base of the vine. Be careful not to nick the vine and avoid getting too close to the main roots. You may use multiple stakes if your vine is large.
- Keep the top layer of the soil damp and avoid soaking the entire pot. Lightly mist the entire plant daily or every other day.
- Place your newly planted vanilla in an area with regular warm temperature, high humidity and bright indirect sunlight. You can place it in a greenhouse if you have one. If you plan to keep it indoors, find a room with sunny window. Make sure the window has bright but filtered sunlight.
- An orchid fertilizer suits your vanilla plant. Feed it every two weeks during the spring and summer months.
- In order to produce vanilla bean pods, your plant needs to be pollinated. You can hand pollinate its flowers in the absence of bees and other pollinators. This process is best done in mid-morning. You will see vanilla pods starting to form within one week if the pollination is successful.
- As soon as the tips begin to turn yellow, you can harvest your vanilla beans. This usually happens approximately 8 to 9 months after pollination.
- In order to store and use your harvested beans, you will need to sweat and sundry the bean pods for about a month until they become dark brown and leathery. Wrap the vanilla beans in a blanket for 36 to 48 hours. After this, sundry the vanilla beans for up to a month. Once they turn dark brown and obtain a leathery texture, you can store and use them in your kitchen.