Vanilla planifolia!!

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Queen Bee, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Well-Known Member Supporter

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    :dance: A few months ago I asked about vanilla extract on here.. A few days later, a friend who owns an orchid greenhouse in another town, came to visit and I was telling her about the vanilla extract thing... Well, Monday she called and said she was making a del. to a florist in the area and was leaving me a pkg there.. Thinking it might be a book or paper work on the v.orchid, I waited until yesterday to pick it up.. It was a beautiful vanilla planifolia plant.. Now, I realize it takes yrs./or maybe never to get vanilla beans from these plants (and from what I have read --a hit or miss in 'curing' them) but it will be fun to have the orchid (which I love) and it was FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have the best friends... :dance: Thanks for letting me share!!!QB
     
  2. TxCloverAngel

    TxCloverAngel Happiness is Homemade

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    Oooh lucky you!!! congrats
     

  3. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    I am green with envy! (and hoping you'll share your bounty...)

    Now, here's some information for you:

    Propagate by single node shoot cuttings 60-100cm long, taken in spring. Take cuttings from parts of the plant that have not previously produced fruit. Remove the bottom 3-4 leaves at the node and leave in a shady place for about 1 week. Plant close to a strong support structure such as a pergola or tree, making sure that the basal cut end portion of the cutting is kept just above the soil surface. Gently tie the top end of the cutting to the support. Cuttings take 4-8 weeks to strike roots. Grow in an area which provides 50% shade. It needs high moisture, high humidity, shelter from strong wind, and excellent drainage. A raised bed is recommended. Grows best where temperatures are a constant 25-32°C. Soil should be loose and friable and a high content of organic matter. Mulch well around the base of the plants, and fertilise regularly during the growing season. Nip out the tips occasionally to encourage more shoots. Flowering commences in the third summer after planting, after which it occurs every year. After fruiting, the old stems and weak branches should be pruned off.

    Pollination: Pollination should be done by hand in the morning on which a flower is fully open. Work with a sharpened toothpick. You will note that the anther (pollen-bearing structure) hangs over the stigma (sticky receptacle), but there is a flap between the two. Remove the pollen-bearing portion and place it on the stigma. In a few days, you should see an enlargement of the pod. If not, the old flower wilts and drops off. Fruit will reach full size in 5-6 weeks, but 9-11 months to mature. Over-pollination will weaken the plant. Only the flowers on the lower side of the raceme are pollinated in order that the fruits may hang perpendicularly to produce straight beans. When the desired number of fruits has set, remove the remaining buds by clipping off the tip of the inflorescence. Damaged and malformed capsules should also be removed during growth.

    Harvesting: Immature fruit is dark green in colour. Harvest when they are pale yellow at the distal end. Once they turn fully yellow and start splitting, quality is reduced. Curing is done by blanching in boiling water for two minutes. Place pods on a drying surface, such as a wool fabric, in the morning sun. At noon, roll them in the wool, permitting them to sweat. Place in an airtight jar overnight. Repeat the same procedure until pods become brown and have the vanilla fragrance, about 20-25 days. Discard any beans that become mouldy. Help prevent mould by rubbing the beans dry with a cotton cloth each day. A perfectly dried pod should be able to be twisted onto the fingers. Wrap dried pods in cellophane or greaseproof paper and store in an airtight container to develop fullest flavour and aroma.

    To Make Vanilla Extract: Percolate alcohol and water through the chopped, cured beans, in a similar way to making coffee.
     
  4. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wow, thank you so much!! It's about 4'tall right now and I can't wait to try the beans... I will print this out and keep in in my cookbook.. Thanks again..QB
     
  5. Timedess

    Timedess Guest

    Queen Bee- I found this old thread today, looking for info on growing vanilla. Have you had any luck with your gifted vanilla orchid?
     
  6. danielsumner

    danielsumner Daniel Supporter

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    Culpeper is right on the money. Culuper, nice write up!! I've grown and raised orchids for years, I'm also trained as a orchid judge. Vanilla planifolia will grow like a weed when it gets well adjusted. You will need to grow it in some type of greenhouse, it can't take frezzing temps. It will get quite massive in size given time. Just take cuttings when you see several roots. These you can share. It's a lot of work, a lot of labor. This is why it cost so much. The beans are the inmature seed pods, if left on the vine, they will swellup, dry and bust open.

    Good luck, the trick to growning orchids is controlled neglect. Too much fussing will kill them.

    Daniel
     
  7. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The orchid is still alive and growing but I haven't had any luck with blooms. My house is too dry and it just 'sits' during the winter...I am thinking of getting a mini greenhouse to store it in..

    I had it outside all summer and it looks beautiful but will look ugly by spring...
     
  8. danielsumner

    danielsumner Daniel Supporter

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    Most orchid plants are ugly. The blooms however are pretty. You need some time of greenhouse in your area. In south florida it can grow almost wild. Will cover a shed or trelis in no time. Put it in sometype of greenhouse and just leave it be. It needs to mature well before it starts to bloom. Use a balanced plant food once every couple of months. Something water based like 666. Mix it half strength and spray it on. Orchid thrive on controled neglect.

    Daniel
     
  9. NostalgicGranny

    NostalgicGranny Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Would putting it in an aquarium in the winter time work for keeping it moist? Sort of a make shift terrarium?