Vanilla Orchid Plant

Growing Zones in Ground: 11 - 12 / in Pots: 4 - 11

$69.95

Please provide your zipcode to see the available trees.

Size Height Price Est. Arrival
1 Gallon 1 - 2 FT $69.95 Tuesday, December 13th
AccessoriesEssential add-ons to ensure the health and growth of your trees. Accessories ship separately but at the same time as your tree.

Ships on Tuesday, December 13th

Estimated Arrival on to

Ready for pickup on

Description

 

Imagine growing your own Vanilla Beans for making countless treats including ice cream, baked goods, and beverages. Vanilla Beans come from the seed pods of an orchid (Vanilla plantifolia) that grows as a bright green climbing vine on trees in the tropical forests of Mexico and Central America where it originates. They like shade and structure to grow on, and mature plants will grow vines up to 40 feet long with their pointed oval leaves persisting along most of the climbing stem. Vanilla Orchids can be grown outside in USDA Zones 11 to 12, or in pots in Zones 4 to 11.

Vanilla Orchids can be grown on potted totems, in hanging baskets, or outside upon trees, trellises, or arbors. The blooms are medium-sized, most often yellow, cream, or white, and resemble the blooms of Cattleya Orchids. The plants do best in warm, humid locations with continual water and good air flow. In a good location with proper care a Vanilla Orchid can start to bloom and make Vanilla Bean Pods within 4 years. Add the Vanilla Orchid to your home’s edible garden and enjoy a unique climbing orchid that delivers gorgeous blooms as well as Vanilla Beans which are considered one of nature’s most flavorful gifts.

Vanilla Orchid Care

Growing Vanilla Orchids that produce Vanilla Beans is a challenging project that takes patience and some extra activity such as hand pollination, but the rewards are worth it. Plant Vanilla Orchids in a humid warm location such as a greenhouse or tropical yard. The plants need a trellis system or a tall tree to grow upon, so they can reach their mature lengths of up to 40 feet long. Since the plants are growing on structure with the roots clinging to tree bark to trellis frames, they need to be watered essentially every day. After 4 years or so, the plants will be old enough to start blooming. At blooming size and age, allow the plants to dry out between watering for a few weeks at a time.

Vanilla Orchid blooms are only open for one day, with some flowers opening and closing within the same 12 to 20 hour period. In their native jungle habitats, Vanilla Orchid Flowers are pollinated by orchid bees. In the home garden, Vanilla Orchids should be pollinated by hand. Recognizing the blooms and hand-pollinating them in their short open periods is part of the challenge of growing Vanilla Orchids that produce Vanilla Beans. Pollinate the open flowers using a small, soft brush or feather, and transfer pollen among all blooms on the vines. The beans will form as small green pods in a week or so, and will mature to dark green or deep brown within a few months.

Vanilla Orchid Harvesting

Successfully pollinated Vanilla Orchids should produce green pods that look similar to long bean pods. The pods will form between October and March, and the mature Vanilla Beans will be at least 6 inches long. Once the pods are about 6 inches long, pick them carefully by hand and place the harvested Vanilla Beans in the sun during the daylight hours. At night, wrap the pods in a blanket or towel to help moisture condense on the pods. Continue this procedure (called sweating) for 6 weeks.

After 6 weeks of sweating the pods, the Vanilla Beans will be brown and shriveled. Allow the brown pods to dry in a dark, dry location for 3 months. Once the drying time is over, the dried pods can be stored in airtight containers for years. The part that is used is a paste found inside the dried Vanilla Beans. Carefully cut the beans open in a single seam with a sharp knife from one end to the other, and scrape the black Vanilla Bean Paste out with the back of a knife, or a spoon.

Advice

Freshly grown and dried Vanilla Bean Paste is quite potent. Always experiment with a small amount when adding the flavoring to drinks, baked goods, and desserts. With experience adding the proper amounts of Vanilla Paste will be easy. Many recipes include Vanilla Bean Paste, and the paste you harvest from your own pods is exactly this product.

Vanilla Bean Orchids can be propagated by cuttings. Cut sections of growing vines with 6 or more nodes. Remove the lowest two leaves and plant cuttings in small pots filled with sphagnum moss. Be sure to cover at least 2 of the nodes with the moss. Keep the sphagnum moss damp for 6 weeks or until new growth appears. When the new plant begins to grow, you can repot it into a larger container and start to train it onto a trellis.

FAQs

What pests affect Vanilla Bean Orchids?

Vanilla Bean Orchids can be affected by spider mites and mealybugs. Both can be treated with horticultural oil spray.

Will Vanilla Bean Orchids grow in water?

No. Vanilla Bean Orchids need high levels of moisture, humidity, and constant water, but they also need good airflow to avoid rotting stems. A trellis that is watered contilually works best.

Are Vanilla Orchids cold hardy?

Vanilla Orchids are tropical and will not tolerate frost or freezing conditions. Overwinter rooted cuttings indoors if cold weather is possible.

How big do Vanilla Orchids get?

Vanilla Orchids can grow vines that are 40 feet long or longer. In commercial greenhouses, the long vines are wrapped over trellis supports over and over in a draping fashion to let them achieve their long lengths.