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.