If the flower has been successfully pollinated, the ovaries will begin to swell and eventually produce a bean. Learn how to grow vanilla orchid in the home interior. It took 300 years for someone to discover that the flowers were pollinated by a bee native only to Mexico, which meant that hand pollination would be required to grow it elsewhere. The orchid’s high moisture needs open it up to become a victim of root rot, so the plant should be repotted annually and have its roots examined. Vanilla planifola is the scientific name for this flavoring that originated in Mexico. The home bathroom is a good place for humidity and heat as long as you have a fan for air circulation. To accomplish this the plant needs food. To learn more about what bright, indirect light is, click here to read my post demystifying this term.

The plant responsible for the vanilla beans used to flavor many desserts and sweets is an orchid, known scientifically as Vanilla planifolia. Vanilla orchid care does require vigilance for spider mites and mealybugs. Vanilla orchids can be fertilized using a weak-strength fertilizer applied when watering or as slow release pellets in the substrate. To see how manual pollination can be done with a toothpick, watch the video below. Growers recommend taking cuttings that include at least a few nodes (places where leaves and roots grow) as longer cuttings increase the success rate and length of time needed for rooting. While Vanilla planifolia does have specific needs to successfully grow in a home, it is a fairly easy houseplant once you know what its requirements are. Remove the two lowest leaves on the cutting. Additional information: There are 2 other species of orchids that are also used to produce commercial vanilla beans: Vanilla tahitiensis and Vanilla pompona. At least one node should be touching or just below the soil surface to encourage root growth. True vanilla has a fragrance and flavor unmatched by cheaper extracts and is the product of an orchid pod or fruit. You will know the bean is mature when the bean begins to yellow on the end connected to the vine. The tropical forests that host Vanilla planifolia provide it with ample humidity, warmth, bright shade, and fairly frequent rainfall. pods in eight to nine months. Once a bean is harvested, it goes through an extensive process to produce the vanilla bean used for baking. The variegated plants grow much slower than the all-green plants, making them less desirable for commercial vanilla bean production. It’s not difficult once you know what to look for. A Natural Curiosity is also a participant in affiliate programs such as ShareASale, GoAffPro, and others.

Use a toothpick to push the pollen from the male part to the female part (see the video below for step-by-step instructions). Good orchid growers know that planting vanilla orchid properly is the first step to a healthy plant. When the moisture meter reads a 3 (the line between dry and moist), it is time to water. To maintain moisture, water the plant when the first 2 inches of potting medium are dry. — What is Vanilla planifolia like as a houseplant?— How Vanilla planifolia Grows in Nature— How Much Light Does a Vanilla planifolia Need?— How to Water Your Vanilla planifolia— What Potting Medium Does a Vanilla planifolia Prefer?— How to Fertilize Your Vanilla planifolia, — How to Propagate a Vanilla planifolia— What Pests or Diseases are Vanilla planifolia Vulnerable to?— What does Vanilla planifolia require to produce blooms?— How Do You Pollinate Your Vanilla planifolia to Grow Vanilla Beans?— How Vanilla Beans are Processed for Use in the Culinary World. You will need a stake or pole on which to train the vine. It is commonly referred to as the Vanilla orchid, the Vanilla Bean orchid, and the Flat-leaved Orchid. Click to read last week’s article: 5 Reasons Why Houseplants Still Die in My Care, *By signing up you consent to receive email from A Natural Curiosity. The orchid was brought back to Spain, but no one could figure out how to get the orchid to produce its signature beans. It is native to Mexico and was known to the locals for thousands of years before a Spanish explorer happened upon it in 1520. Monitor vanilla orchid buds because the flowers, once they open, last for less than a day and need to be pollinated within a few hours of opening. Both root and stem rot are typically the result of overwatering, lack of light, or poorly draining soil.

Vanilla orchids enjoy bright, indirect light. The easiest way to raise an orchid is to use a greenhouse or room with carefully controlled heat and light. I prefer to use a moisture meter because it gives me a clear answer about the moisture level of a plant’s potting mix. To check for roots if the node is below the soil surface, lightly tug on the cutting.