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Vanilla Bean-Growing in Tasmania

Did you know that a Vanilla bean pod is actually a tropical orchid and naturally grown vanilla is said to be the 2nd most expensive spice on the globe, second only to saffron.

If you're keen to try and grow Vanilla planifolia in Tasmania you will need a warm, bright but indirect sun position inside the home or greenhouse. This climbing orchid will also appreciate high humidity  and support to grow on, like a frame or totem pole (In the natural environment they use trees for support) and feed regularly with a balanced fertilizer e.g The Plant Runner indoor plant Food (N) 12% (P) 2% (K) 12%  or a quality orchid fertilser.

We have found that V.planifoila have been growing very quickly over the summer and Autumn months and prefer to be kept pot bound (like most orchids) and planted within a mix of 40% Debco orchid bark and 60% premium potting mix , this soil mix simulates the tropical forest environment they grow within. Be careful not to over water ,wait until the top of the soil mix  has dried before watering again, the soil should be moist but not soggy and we wouldn't recommend keeping water in a saucer under the pot (as the plant will get too wet) or alternatively you could mist the orchid daily ,lightly spray the soil, stem, and leaves of the plant, this will also help to increase humidity.

 

 

 

It can take three - five years before your plant flowers and when it does you may notice that flowers just fall off after a few days, this is usually because they have not been pollinated. Hand pollination is often required, use a small clean paintbrush or cotton bud. Check the orchid the day after pollination. The flowers should not fall off, but they will wither and turn dark brown. If the stem begins to elongate instead of point up, it is pollinated. If you don’t see a change, you may need to re-pollinate the flower

Vanilla beans can be grown in Tasmania however remember a warm ,bright indirect light, something to grow on and humidity