The Vanilla It is an orchid that not only has flowers with a high ornamental value, but also some of the best smelling ones. The aroma they give off is sweet, and many, many people like it. That is why I am going to explain everything about the plant that produces it.
And, wouldn’t you like to grow vanilla in your yard? Or inside the house? In that case, knowing their care will be of great help to learn to keep it healthy, and therefore also to flourish.
What is Vanilla?
Vanilla is a genus of orchids native to the rainforests of Africa, Asia and America. Most are terrestrial, but there are some that use the trunks of other plants for climbing. Thus, they can be up to 35 meters long. There are many that produce dark green leaves, simple, leathery in texture and large since they can measure more than 50 centimeters. Now, there are others that have scales rather than leaves.
Its flowers are grouped in peduncular clusters from under the leaves or scales, and appear in number from 20 to 100. They can be white, green, yellow, yellowish-green, or cream-colored, and are diurnal in habit; that is, they open in the morning and close when the sun goes down and then wither, regardless of whether they have been pollinated or not. Those of the vast majority of species are aromatic, and also produce nectarso they are very attractive to bees and hummingbirds.
The fruit is an elongated capsule, similar to a legume or podwhich is up to 30 centimeters long. It starts out green, but turns black as it matures. As soon as it does, it gives off an intense aroma. Inside it contains multiple seeds that will be released when the capsule is opened.
Where does vanilla come from?
Vanilla comes from the species Vanilla planifolia. While there are other species with aromatic flowers, such as vanilla barbellataShe is practically the only one that is used to make perfumes, colognes, and even different culinary recipes such as vanilla ice cream, cakes, or biscuits for example. In addition, it is the only one that is possible to find for sale to cultivate. What’s more, if you want one, you can get it from here:
Vanilla flowers are soft-colored, like cream, and are grouped into an inflorescence up to 7 centimeters long. They are very, very aromaticand although they remain open only a few hours, being numerous it is possible to contemplate them for several days.
It is a climbing plantso it is important that when it comes to cultivating it, it is given a tutor that it can use to grow. Likewise, it is evergreen, with which its leaves will remain attached to the stem for a long time, until little by little they are replaced by others.
What are the properties of vanilla?
Vanilla pods have diuretic, tonic, stimulant and emmenagogue properties. In addition, in the past they were even used to treat poisonous animal stings or bites. Today it is known to be rich in vitamins B2 and B3, as well as other equally important elements such as calcium, magnesium and sodium.
It is also used to improve mood, and to relieve pain caused by rheumatism.
For what do you use it?
La vanilla has several uses, which are:
- Culinary– Used to make all kinds of desserts, such as cakes, ice cream, or waffles. It is also used as a flavoring for beverages, such as Coca-Cola.
- Perfumery: having such a pleasant aroma, perfumes are made for both men and women. Some of them are “Coco” by Chanel, or the “Vanilla Field” by Coty.
How is the Vanilla plant cared for?
The Vanilla orchid is of tropical origin, which therefore needs a frost-free climate to live. Now, it is also possible to have it indoors during the winter, until spring returns. Let’s see below how to take care of it:
- Abroad: it has to be put in the shade, but taking into account that it needs a lot of light to grow since otherwise its leaves would yellow.
- Inside: if it is going to be inside the house, we will place it in a room where there is a lot of natural light. Ambient humidity, at least around the plant, has to be high. For this reason, it is advisable that, if it is low, glasses or other containers with water are placed, as well as spraying its leaves in summer with distilled water.
The soil has to be light, ‘spongy’, and rich in organic matter. It must also have a pH between 6 and 7. Therefore, if we are going to grow it in a pot we can acquire a substrate such as this, which will allow the plant to grow normally.
If you choose to have it in the garden, we will make a 50 x 50 cm hole and fill it with a mixture of universal substrate (for sale here!) with 30% clay (for sale here!) or perlite.
Irrigation and fertilizer
Vanilla or vanilla orchid It must be watered frequently, using rainwater or with a pH between 6 and 7. Only the soil or substrate must be watered, without wetting the leaves, approximately 3 times a week during the summer. The rest of the seasons we will do it once or twice a week, to prevent the roots from rotting.
As for the subscriber, we can pay it in spring and summer if we apply fertilizers for orchids (for sale here!).
If you want to multiply your vanilla orchid you can do it for seeds or cuttings in spring. Although by seeds it is complicated, since the flowers are not always pollinated, and even if they do, the viability period is very short. Now, if you dare, you have to sow them in pots or trays with a hole in their base, filled with soil for seedlings (like this one from here!). Put them in semi-shade, and keep the substrate moist. If everything goes as it should, they will germinate in about three weeks.
But by cuttings it is quite simple in comparison. You have to cut stems 1 meter long, impregnate their base with homemade rooters, and plant them in pots with vermiculite or peat mixed with perlite in equal parts. Then, you have to cover them with plastic that has a few little holes, put them in semi-shade, and keep the soil moist. If all goes well, they will root out after a week or ten days or so.
Can’t stand the cold. The minimum temperature that it holds is 18ºC.
How do you get vanilla?
From right here you can get your plant: