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Vanilla plant

Vanilla

Vanilla is an orchid that originates in Mexico from whose fruits, normally called pods, the spice is extracted. Vanilla is an epiphytic plant, which grows on trees, emitting roots that can absorb rainwater. The plant is able to stretch up to 10 meters in search of the best exposure. The leaves are flat, with an oval shape, the stem and leaves have a green tint, but contain a clear liquid that is particularly irritating to the skin. The flowers are grouped to form bouquets, have a variable color between white, green and yellow and show a very prolonged flowering. The fruits are long pods with a greenish color and contain thousands of seeds that are released by expulsion once they have reached maturity.

Cultivation of vanilla


Vanilla needs a very bright location, but one that is away from direct sunlight. In winter it should be kept in a sunny place, but absolutely sheltered from the cold. For the cultivation in pots a stick should, of course, be placed to allow the plant to climb and develop better. Being tropical plants with high humidity, the substrate should always be kept humid, but avoiding dangerous stagnation of water. To avoid this problem it would be advisable to place the pot in a tray with expanded clay. The leaves should be vaporized with distilled water in order to maintain the correct ambient humidity. Vanilla should be fertilized once a month from March to October with a specific fertilizer for orchids.

Vanilla plant care


Vanilla, being an epiphytic plant, usually grows on the bark of trees, to obtain a correct soil, materials that are usually used for orchids should be used. It would be essential to use osmunda fiber, sphagnum or the bark of plants that do not contain resins. Repotting the plant should take place every 2 years at the end of flowering. To improve flowering and make the plant more compact, the branches should be pruned once flowering is complete. The branches should be shortened by about 10 centimeters, in order to regularize the growth of the plant. In order to obtain a good plant and that the pods are accessible, it would be advisable to bend the branches and allow them to be anchored to the support,


To be able to obtain the fruits, in case of cultivation and therefore lack of the correct pollinator insect, manual pollination should be carried out. The flowers usually stay open a few hours early in the morning, so you should work with caution and speed. Keeping the flower still, the cap that protects the stamens should be removed, then a brush should be rubbed over it which should be passed adequately on the pistil. The multiplication of vanilla should usually take place through cuttings, using, once flowering is complete, the branches that have been previously pruned. The branches should be positioned to root in a mixture that contains sand and peat, then proceeding the following year with an appropriate repotting.

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