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Does Vanilla Come From Orchids?

Does vanilla come from orchids? The answer is yes. It is also the only orchid that bears edible fruit. The good news is you can grow the vanilla orchid at home.

Does Vanilla Come From Orchids?

Where Does Vanilla Come From?

Vanilla, the vanilla orchids, forms a flowering plant genus of about 110 species in the orchid family (Orchidaceae). The most widely known member is the flat-leaved vanilla (V. planifolia), native to Mexico and Belize, from which commercial vanilla flavoring is derived. It is the only orchid widely used for industrial purposes in flavoring such products as foods, beverages and cosmetics, and is recognized as the most popular aroma and flavor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanilla_(genus)

How To Grow Vanilla

The vanilla orchid is a tropical plant and since it is an orchid it has the same needs as most other orchids you can learn how to grow vanilla at home.

One thing you will need to keep in mind is that Vanilla planifolia is a climbing epiphytic vine so to grow it indoors you will need a support system.

Also, you should know it can take 3-5 years to get vanilla beans. But while you wait it makes a very attractive and unique houseplant.

Like most orchids, the vanilla orchid prefers bright indirect sunlight. It likes high humidity and warm temperatures.

How To Grow Vanilla At Home

How To Grow Vanilla At Home - Vanilla Beans

Here is a great video that will show you how to grow vanilla at home.

YouTube player

Some folks like to watch videos but some prefer to read so here is a summary of the key points you need to know to grow your own vanilla orchids.

Apparently, a lot of people want to grow these but you need the right information to be successful.

So even if you are an orchid grower these plants are a bit different than most of your orchids.

Vanilla Orchids Bearing Age

Vanilla planifolia with beans

So the first thing you should know is you are not going to get vanilla beans in a year or two. It can take up to 5 years for this.

However, it is a beautiful plant that can be enjoyed for its foliage and vining growth habit. Yes, it is an epiphytic vining orchid.

Vanilla Orchid Soil Type

So the vanilla orchid is grown in sphagnum moss. It is not grown in bark or other potting mixes.

Sphagnum moss will hold moisture well and should not be allowed to dry out. This orchid prefers things on the damp side. Keep the moss damp and not soaking.

Vanilla Orchids Grow Fast And Tall

This is a fast-growing orchid and it is a vine. It can get 20 feet tall if you let it. But you can prune the vines back and it won’t mind.

Build A Support System

You can build a trellis around the plant. You can wrap sphagnum moss around the stakes and tie it in place.

Then you can train the vines around the stakes.

Vanilla Orchid Humidity

Because this plant likes high humidity you can mist it. I would also mist the sphagnum moss on the posts. It prefers 80% humidity.

Most people don’t have 80% humidity indoors so misting is important to keep this plant happy.

It can get by with 60% humidity as it is a resilient plant.

A terrarium might be a good idea for raising vanilla orchids because it is easier to create the right environment in a small space rather than trying to do it in an entire room. Here is an article on building one:

Orchid Terrarium DIY [An Unusual Fish Tank Transformation] – Hydroponic Orchids

Fertilizing Vanilla Orchids

You can use any well-balanced fertilizer to feed your plant. It is not fussy about fertilizer at all.

But you need to be careful of how strong your fertilizer is mixed. This plant should be grown in moss and not bark.

So the roots will have more direct contact with the fertilizer than a plant in bark and it is easy to burn them if you use too much.

So dilute your fertilizer because sometimes less is more.

Vanilla Light Requirements

Like all orchids, vanilla prefers bright diffuse lighting. It can take some sun but not too much. Otherwise, you may start to see leaf burn.

Vanilla Orchid Temperature

This is a tropical orchid that grows in the jungle. So it likes it warm. 80-85 degrees is best with night temperatures about 10 degrees cooler.

You may not be able to keep them that warm. 75 degrees is about the minimum they need. They will grow with a bit less but won’t be that happy about it.

Fortunately, this orchid is versatile so if you cant give them perfect growing conditions they won’t die on you.

Does Vanilla Come From Orchids? Final Thoughts

Vanilla planifoliaSo we have answered your question about vanilla coming from orchids.

Vanilla planifolia is a tropical vining epiphytic orchid. In the jungle it can get quite tall but at home you can prune it back.

If you want to grow vanilla at home you can. It is a vining orchid so it will need some form of support.

You will not get vanilla beans before 3 years and it might take longer.

So it makes an attractive houseplant and I would enjoy it like that. Getting vanilla beans is a much longer-term project.

Read more: Are Orchids Hard To Take Care Of? Easy Growth Formula

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