Vanilla is one of the most expensive spices in the world. And that spice comes from the vanilla bean. The vanilla bean grows on the orchid named vanilla. Which is a tall vine plant with white flowers on it.
The tree is a native plant in the tropical Mexico region, living in the temperature of a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
All these things are needed to know to learn how to grow vanilla bean. Because growing the beans needs extra care and requires to make arrangements for it.
The vanilla orchid is a plant that you can not grow at home to produce vanilla beans for you. The vanilla bean plants need humid weather to live in.
They can not survive in the weather below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. They also require to have rich and moist soil to grow. They even require to have a much warmer environment to grow the flowers and the beans.
That is why it is cultivated in a greenhouse to grow the beans. The process of cultivating the vanilla beans can be very expensive, as they require to have special arrangements. There is a process to do the growing of the vanilla beans appropriately.
The process is given below in a step by step progress to make you understand the whole growth of the vanilla beans.
How to Grow Vanilla Bean: Steps to Grow Vanilla
Growing the beans needs extra care, and the plant requires making special arrangements to sustain in the normal weather.
You need to follow the steps strictly to be able to grow the vanilla beans by yourself.
Step 1: Plant the tree in a warm and humid place and spray them with warm water
The best place to plant a vanilla plant is a greenhouse. It keeps the weather warm inside and restricts the direct sunlight.
You need to place the plant in a place where it can get a warmth of 80 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit and also keep it away from direct sunlight. This will ensure the best growth result for the plant to have.
Add a tall stack or pot trellis for the vine of the plant to hold on. Then you need to spray the plant with warm water on a daily basis.
The warm water will keep the soil moisture in its place to benefit the plant growth.
Step 2: Use a pebble tray filled with water to keep it moist and fertilize it
You can add a pebble tray filled with water under the pot of the vanilla vine. The tray’s water will evaporate with time, and it will keep the soil moist.
The pebbles will allow the pot to be away from the excess water to maintain the water level in the soil.
You need to mix water and fertilizer together and then spray it to the plant in every three weeks. The growth season of the vanilla vine is in the spring to late summer.
Fertilize during that time to accelerate the growth of the plant.
Step 3: Check for fungal infection
Overwatering can lead you to have a fungal infection in the tree root. So let the soil get dry a bit if it feels wet to you.
This will prevent the rotting of the roots.
Step 4: Hand pollination
Hand pollination can increase the chance to grow the vanilla bean. The vanilla orchid blooms in the spring to summer and stays for one day.
And every pollination does not end up having vanilla beans.
So, make sure to do the hand pollination to increase the chance of growing vanilla beans.
Step 5: Pick the beans when they turn yellow
When you have the beans turned yellow, then you can pick them up. It takes 8 to 9 months for a vanilla bean to ripe.
Cut through the steam to pick the bean. And scale them to preserve it and get it ready to be consumed with time.
The harvesting of the vanilla beans is a tough job. And the success rate of the pollination is so low that it only gets to a fewer number for a plant to produce.
But with time, you can easily practice the process to grow vanilla beans. Yet, you need to be patient throughout the 3 to 5 years of its growing, flowering, and fruiting.
The process is simple yet complicated. Because it requires much expertise to handle a vanilla orchid plant.
Know more about vanilla in the below section to flourish your knowledge.
When is Vanilla Harvested?
The vanilla is harvested when the beans turn to be yellow. The color tells us that when they get fully ripe.
The ripe vanilla bean tips become yellow first, and that indicates that the time has come. Besides, the vanilla bean takes around 9 months to get ripe.
So, whenever it turns to be yellow, it is being harvested.
How Long Does it Take for Vanilla to Grow?
The vanilla takes around 3 to 4 years of span to grow adequately. After the plantation of 3 years, the vine gets the first flowers.
And by the hand pollination of those flowers, the vanilla beans grow. But the rate of the vanilla beans production is very low. And the flowers only stay for a day.
The living rate of the vanilla plant is also very low in comparison to other orchid plants.
And this makes it one of the most expensive spices of all.
Where Do Vanilla Beans Grow Best?
The vanilla beans grow best where there is a tropical climate. The warm weather is the initial requirement of the vanilla beans to grow.
It is mostly cultivated in Mexico, Hawaii, Tahiti, Indonesia, and other tropical locations of the world. But with a proper greenhouse system, you can grow your own in the backyard of your house.
Vanillas sweet flavor and the aroma makes it desirable for everyone. It not only makes the food delicious but also fragrances our house with the sweet smell.
That is why it has conquered so many hearts of the people around the world.