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HOW TO GROW VANILLA

To grow a new vanilla vine first you need a cutting from another vanilla plant. It's not possible to grow vanilla from a seed.

The vanilla plant requires a tropical climate similar to the area where the plant is normally grown. It is sensitive to light, heat, and moisture.

An ideal environment is indirect sunlight with ample humidity, away from cold temperatures. The temperature should be consistently around 80 degrees F. The plant must have shade cover - no direct sunlight

Provide a post in your planting's pot since the vanilla bean will grow as a vine and will need a host to grow on.

It must have distinct moist and dry periods during year. It takes 3 years for a vine to be mature enough to bear flowers.

The vine must be stressed by depriving it of water for 6-8 weeks to trigger the growth of flowers. Vanilla flowers will only appear on 'downcomers', shoots which are bent over pointing towards the ground

Vanilla flowers are yellow to greenish-yellow with long tubular flowers; almost like a stretched out daffodil. As each flower blossoms, one by one, you will need to pollinate them by hand to grow vanilla beans.

To pollinate, remove the lip of the flower. Take the pollen from the anther area of the flower and place it in the nectar, which is located in the stigma, a flap on the top right column behind the flower. The next day there will be another flower. Buds, flowers and infloresences all appear in the same group together

Pollinated flowers will quickly produce green beans. These must be left on the vine for 6 months to allow the vanillin to develop. If you pick them too early there will be no vanilla flavour

When the tip of the green beans starts to turn yellow it's the time to pick them.

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Vanilla flower

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Vanilla vine under shade with green vanilla beans

Vanilla vine growing straight up a tree

Wild vanilla vine growing straight up a tree - no flowers