Complete Guide on How to Grow Vanilla: [Steps + Images]

Do you know what my favorite ice cream is? I guess you guessed it:the vanilla one

Not only that, I love any flavored dessert (aromatic plants) with vanilla.

Vanilla is a variety of orchid, native to North America, specifically Mexico.Due to its high consumption, it is one of the most coveted crops in the international market.

There is nothing better than planting your own vanilla in the garden and being able to use it later to make ice cream, desserts, infusions or whatever you fancy.

The best?It is very simple!

You dare?

Important Points when Planting Vanilla:

What do we need to plant vanilla?

When should it be sown?

The most recommended period isduring the spring, preferably from April to June.

If planted by cuttings, these can be planted practically throughout the year.

However, if they are planted during the cooler times of the year, vegetative development is usually slower. Likewise, if the plantation is carried out during the summer, in the rainy seasons, the excess humidity can cause fungi and other diseases.


Vanilla thrives in aHot and humid tropical climate.

Optimum temperatures range between 20 and 30°C, without much variation between day and night.

During fruit ripening, a slight decrease in ambient temperature may be beneficial.

Intense lighting reduces growth, so 50% sun exposure and 50% shade is recommended. In more arid regions or with very intense suns, an exposure to shade of between 50 and 70% is recommended.

They prefer direct light in the morning, as the afternoon sunlight is more intense and can burn the plant.

How often should it be watered?

Vanilla is more tolerant to lack of water than to waterlogging.If you overwater it you can kill it.

Remember that vanilla roots are superficial growth; therefore, it is better to irrigate several times with little water than to irrigate a lot of water only once.

In the dry season, it is watered once or twice a week, while in the rainy season it is not necessary to water.

Precipitation must be abundant and well distributed, although a decrease in it is convenient at the beginning of flowering and ripening of the fruits. This decrease should not lead to drought, as this is usually fatal for the plant.

Relative humidity should be less than 80%.

How do we prepare the land?

Vanilla prefers loose soils, with excellent drainage and rich in humus.

Vanilla usually grows in soils with high calcium and potassium content.

The pH must be between 6.0 and 7.0.

What are the most favorable associations for vanilla cultivation?

Preferably, planting vanilla should be avoided on land where it has already been planted before, since there is surely an inoculum of the fungus Fusarium oxysporum in it and it is very risky to establish a vanilla.

How to plant vanilla step by step

Clear the ground

It removes weeds and remains of previous crops and all kinds of residues to ensure that your vanilla plant can develop properly.

Moisten the soil a week before planting

This reduces the risk of expelling the seeds by the force of the water.

fertilize the soil

Spread some organic matter on the soil to improve the overall quality before you start sowing seeds.

Orchids require a high content of potassium and calcium, since these are nutrients that they cannot take from the substrate where they are grown and require that we provide them.

You can fertilize with crushed eggshells, potato or rice cooking water, and oak leaf tea.

Get Vanilla Cuttings

Vanilla is best grown from cuttings. These must be from80 to 120 cm in length and one cm in diameter.

Make sure that your vanilla cuttings do not have the last three basal leaves. Otherwise, you will have to remove them. This is done by twisting and breaking its petiole, but without pulling, to avoid injuries to the stem, since they can be a point of entry for pathogens.

To prevent the rotting of the cuttings, caused mainly by Fusarium oxysporum, it is recommended to disinfect them before planting them in the final place, immersing them in a container with Bordeaux mixture for 5 minutes.

Then place the cuttings in a shady, well-ventilated spot for a couple of weeks to dehydrate a bit and heal any injuries that may have been caused by taking the cutting.

Put the cuttings in the ground

You can plant vanilla in the garden directly or in a pot if you prefer.

Bury them to a depth of between 5 and 10 cm, according to the size of the cutting.

Cover the base with a 3-5 cm layer of compost or leaf litter. If you prefer, you can use a stake to facilitate vertical growth of the plant.

The first roots should appear during the first week and the first vegetative shoots around 30 days after planting.

water often

Make sure that the soil is always moist, but without producing puddles.Water is the factor that most influences the growth of the vanilla plant.

fertilize the land

Residues from decomposed plant and animal materials are the vanilla plant’s best source of nutrients.

Also, you can use homemade organic matter such as compost during the spring, as it breaks down more quickly and is less affected by rain.

Vanilla Picking

The vanillaharvested in the fall, when the apex or tip of the fruit changes from green to yellow; this usuallyoccurs eight to nine months after pollination.

They are placed in piles, under sheds protected from the rain and thus undergoing a partial fermentation. After that, they are exposed to the sun until they turn a brownish-brown color.

The total duration of the post- harvest process is around six months.

Vanilla pests and diseases

Some of the most common pests and diseases that affect vanilla are:

red bug

The red bug is controlled, when there are low populations, removing the individuals manually and crushing them. This should be done preferably in the morning, which is when the bedbugs are quiet.

For the control of denser populations, a mixture of 3 onions and 3 heads of garlic, ground and mixed with a bar of neutral soap, can be applied. All this, diluted in 40 liters of water. The mixture must rest for 48 hours before being used. It is applied by spraying on the leaves.

Neem oil can also be used, which is highly effective.

hairy worm

For its control, the same mixture that we use to control the red bug can be used.

Fusarium Oxysporum

To prevent the disease, it is recommended to use soils with good drainage, plant healthy and vigorous cuttings, protect the roots, avoid over-pollination and regulate shade.

It can also be prevented by applying Bordeaux mixture once or twice a month, but in the absence of intense sun exposure to avoid burn problems.


To prevent it, it is recommended to install a drip irrigation system and apply horsetail. As well as favoring the good ventilation of the plants.

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