Vanilla Vanilla planifolia
How to sow vanilla: 50cm stem cuttings or direct seed indoors
Sun requirement for vanilla: Plant in Partial Sun
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Vanilla is a perennial vine species of Vanilla Orchid that is grown for the vanilla flavor that can be extracted from its seed pods. Vanilla is native to Mexico and Central America and needs a hot, wet, humid, tropical climate. Plants need dappled sunlight and a trellis or support system. Vines produce greenish-yellow flowers that last only a day and must be hand-pollinated. Only mature vines longer than 3m will produce seed pods. Pods are 15-24cm long and look like small bananas. They take 5 months to mature and turn brown. Once mature, pods are harvested and cured for 3 months. Vanilla needs temperatures between 21-32° C, with an ideal range of 25-27° C. It cannot survive frost or nighttime temperatures below 12.7° C. Vanilla can be grown in containers or greenhouses to attempt to mimic these conditions, but may not produce fruit. Vanilla is most successfully started from stem cuttings, since seeds are very small and slow to germinate. Sap from the stems can cause moderate to severe skin irritation.
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