How long does it take a vanilla orchid to flower?

May, 2022
Darren Spalding

Today, vanilla is mainly grown for commercial production in Madagascar, Reunion Island, the Comoros, Indonesia and Mexico. Unfortunately, even the best care often does not result in the pods, which are the source of the vanilla flavor. To make vanilla pods, the flowers must be dusted by hand, which is easy to do with a toothpick. An orchid fertilizer solution of (20-20-20) is recommended “weekly”, weak if the orchid is not actively growing.

The orchid is a potentially massive vine, but when grown home, the plant is likely to only grow a fraction of its potential.

What time of year do vanilla orchids bloom?

The curing process is labor-intensive and involves sweating and drying, which contributes to the premium price of vanilla beans sold in the markets. If you're very lucky, your vanilla leaf may carry large greenish-yellow flowers that turn into long 6 inches (15 cm). Once the vine is established and blooming, use a chopstick to manually pollinate the flowers in the late morning. In its natural environment, this wine orchid is an epiphyte that lives on a host tree without drawing nutrients from it.

It is important to remember that you never add fertilizer to a dry orchid, as you can severely damage the roots and leaves.

How often do vanilla orchids bloom?

As a climbing plant, vanilla bean orchids require support such as a sturdy stake or wall to climb on. Vanilla orchids prefer high humidity and should be grown in an area where night temperatures don't drop below 55 degrees, making gardens in USDA zones 10-11 the best choice. Once your vanilla orchid reaches 20 feet in length, you can cut the plant (using a sterilized tool) two to three feet apart and repot the cuttings (bury the bottom two leaf joints) into fresh floral medium. If you want to grow vanilla beans at home, visit the Living Color Garden Center. Let us help you cultivate these fabulously scented flowers.

When should I pollinate my vanilla orchid?

I kept tearing fallen flowers apart and found that the front of the column could be peeled down with the thumbnail, thus exposing a ridge in the column. The tropical forests where Vanilla planifolia is located provide them with plenty of moisture, warmth, light shade and fairly frequent rainfall. Patience is a requirement for those who want to harvest vanilla beans as it takes plants between three and five years to mature from cuttings to flower production. You need to pollinate the flower as soon as possible, preferably within the first few hours after opening.

After this sweating process, you should dry the now brown and shrunken pods in a dark, dry place for another three months.

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