Making Vanilla Planifolia Right at Home

Once our cacao trees give fruit we're going to need some flavoring to add to our chocolate mix and Vanilla planifolia will make the perfect pairing. The Vanilla plant is a vine and part of the orchid family, one of the two largest flowering plant families. Vanilla is also the only orchid that has been known to be used for economic purposes on a commercial scale. When its greenish-yellow flowers are pollinated this orchid produces a greenish pod much like typical pole or bush beans. These beans are then used as flavoring for many drinks and dishes. These flowers open and are fertile early in the morning and if not pollinated they will just fall off. Vanilla plants in the wild will rarely be pollinated and produce beans for this reason hand pollination is usually administered under controlled situations.
From the information we have garnered so far we know that most Vanilla plants will not produce beans until they have reached an approximate length of at least 10 feet. One other important factor needed for this orchid to grow strong and well is support as it grows. Our vine has produced almost 6 inch long roots as it searches for something to hold on to, so today we finally made it right. Here are some pictures of the homemade support we created for our Vanilla planifolia vine and our Tillandsia usneoides better known as its common name Spanish moss, but it is not from Spain and not a moss. That's why we use its binomial: Tillandsia usneoides. Enjoy.
Original setup of 4 foot Vanilla vine with Tillandsia sprinkled in for company

Tools used: Scissors, plastic bottle, tubing, coco coir and organic green moss

Wrapped coconut coir around plastic bottle with rubber bands

Added organic green moss underneath vine

Wrapped around nice and tight

Oh yeah, and topped it off with the original Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides)