days to maturity: minimum 3 years
plant spacing: 1 plant every 7 feet, supported
sunlight requirements: 6-8 hours
look out for: root rot and mites
harvest notes: harvest green pods and cure
We are so excited to be offering vanilla orchids to our community of home growers this season. Make sure your orchid has something to climb and is mostly in the shade, like most other orchids it prefers living under or on a tree. Native to Central America, Vanilla is a fleshy, perennial vine, grown for its distinct pods and small seeds commonly used in flavoring. It is easy to take care of and fast growing, but to get a vanilla bean takes a few years and some work. We have also heard the vines will only flower if given the opportunity to turn back towards the ground, once some height has been established, or on secondary branch growth that stem from the main plant. Vanilla commands a high price due to the fact that every flower must be hand pollinated to produce a pod! So once your vine flowers, get out a feather duster or cotton swab and pollinate yourself. Pods can then be cured and used in a multitude of preparations. According to the mythology of the Totonac peoples of Mexico, the orchid was born when a princess, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover. They were captured, beheaded, and where their blood touched the ground, the strong vine and delicate orchid grew.