Click Here to Join our Vanilla Bean Co-Op & Free US Shipping over $99
0 Cart
Added to Cart
    You have items in your cart
    You have 1 item in your cart
      Total

      Our private Facebook group is made up of tens of thousands of people from around our world. Some of them love talking about vanilla extract in all of its varieties. Others branch out to chocolate, coffee and fruit-based extracts. One of our most original contributors is John M. 

      John is from sunny Florida where the climate is conducive to successful vanilla bean growth. He has decided to grow a vanilla orchid and harvest his own home-grown vanilla beans and he has invited us along for the journey.  When he asked our group if they would be interested to follow along, his post received nearly 500 likes and 200 comments in 24 hours.

      This page will be John's page, populated with his content, his pictures and his discoveries. As he provides updates, they will be posted here and shared with our Facebook group. If you have questions for John, they can be directed to him through our Facebook group.

      Thanks John! We are excited to share this journey with you! 

      ___

      Introduction: March 2, 2021

      Hello to all. I'm really excited to join and learn from this group. I'm lucky enough to live in Southwest Florida. The climate here is actually ideal for growing vanilla orchids and the University of Florida is working on genetics of vanilla orchids especially intended to produce high quality beans with excellent flavor cultivars for southern Florida. So I'm going to try my hand at start to finish extracts. It should be a fun project. I look forward to learning a lot from this group. I posted a picture of my initial plants. If anyone is interested I'd be happy to post periodic progress reports here.

      Vanilla Bean Plant Starter

       

      ___

      Post #1: March 3, 2021

      Here's my 1st step for growing the vanilla orchid. I bought some 2.6 gallon pots at Home Depot and 1/4 inch hardware cloth that was green coated. I cut the hardware cloth and formed a tube with it and fastened the 2 ends together. Then flatten it somewhat to form a trellis that will be stuffed with organic matter. I'll post the final assembled pot later today.

      Growing vanilla

      Growing vanilla

      ____

      Post #2: March 5, 2021

      Time to post for my vanilla growing blog again on vanillapura.com. First off I would like to apologize to everyone that I've been unable to answer their individual questions. I honestly thought that I'd be able to get back to each and every one of you. It took a while, but I've finally come to the realization that it would become a full-time job. I've absolutely been buried alive by the avalanche of response to my post. Plan B was to at least acknowledge that I'd read your comments by hitting like. I've come to realize that even that was more than I could manage and still care for the orchids under my charge. My hats off to Jill and Paul. I honestly don't know how you manage it!!! But rest assured that I have been reading all of your comments and since many are similar in nature, I thought I could be more efficient by addressing those posts in my blog.
      .
      Furthermore, I would like to extend a big warm sweet vanilla thank you to Jill and Paul for their fostering and nurturing all thing vanilla. They graciously provided me with space on their website as a forum for you all to follow along with my vanillary project. And as they posted somewhere, they generously gifted me a nice sample of vanilla beans for doing something I look forward to. Imagine that! I wanted to thank them in that post but the posts on this site fly so fast that I spent a half hour searching for that post before giving up in desperation. Thank you so much Jill and Paul! This site is definitely top down because the sweetness starts at the top. I've never been a member of any organization that had a nicer group of members. And I look forward to following Twila's Everclear blog as well. Make sure to follow our projects on vanillapure.com vanilla101.
      .
      So now onto answering some of your most frequently asked questions regarding vanilla orchid cultivation.
      .
      1. I've had a lot of people ask about vanilla orchid production and cultivation. Rather than reiterating what the experts have said I would like to provide you with a link to an U of F Extension Service Bulletin that was coauthored by Dr. Chambers who has been working on vanilla orchid genetics here in Florida.
      It's everything you wanted to know about vanilla culture but were afraid to ask. It's an excellent and informative read.
      .
      2. Many of you have asked about can you grow vanilla orchids in your home and how to do it. The short answer is a resounding YES! Unfortunately I can't give you a recipe for success. It depends on too many factors that are unique to your condition and experience. If I had to summarize I'd have to say provide them with the same lighting conditions as Cattleya orchids and the same potting medium conditions as Cymbidium orchids. If this doesn't make immediate sense to you then I'd have to say that you're probably not going to have success with a vanilla orchid. However, if you're saying to yourself, oh I can do that, then you're definitely ready for vanilla. There's a steep learning curve to growing and blooming orchids. If you've mastered the basics then go for it. If not, don't give up. Learn! Start attending your local orchid club or visit the American Orchid Association and read all you can. More orchids are killed by kindness than perish from neglect.
      .
      3. Where can you buy a vanilla orchid? Well I can't tell you where, but they're not uncommon or rare in orchid grower greenhouses. Go on line and find your nearest orchid retailer. Every major city has at least one. If you want a vanilla orchid plant, I will be selling plant of different cultivars. I currently have 2 cultivars and have ordered a third which will be shipped to me this Fall. My vanilla plants are $20 each and I currently have V. planifolia a varigated and an regular green variety. Shipping via USPS priority flat rate box is $15.50 and can hold several plants. If you'd like me to send you a plant contact me at johnmeyer60025@yahoo.com. I can only accept PayPal.
      .
      4. Can I produce flowers and beans, seed pods? Idk. Flowering should be easy for you if you can reliably reflower Cattleya orchids. In my blog I will show you how to produce beans as my plants flower. If your plants flower then you should be able to produce beans as well. The bigger issue is how will they taste? But even if they are not the best tasting vanilla beans in the world, I'll bet that to you in your opinion, you've never tasted a better vanilla bean.....lol. It takes roughly 4 to 5 years to go from vanilla plant purchase to first bean so it requires some patience, but after reading what's entailed in making a superior vanilla extract, I know that you already have no shortage of patience so you already have that going for you.
      .
      I'm lucky enough to be a member of 2 very different groups regarding vanilla. I belong to the vanilla growers group of South Florida and now of this group so I'm involved in vanilla start to finish. How lucky is that? But I do hope to acquaint Jill and Paul to the commercial vanilla growers here with.eye toward giving them the opportunity to offer a domestically grown and produced vanilla beans to their offerings.i think that could be a win-win for both sides. Stay tuned and thank you all for your interest and support of my posts and blog. Keep asking your questions and will definitely be reading them and as I see recurring areas interest and questions I will try to answer you in posts similar to this. I wish I had the time to answer each and every one of your questions individually. You all have been so sweet and I absolutely love this group. A nicer group of people I'd be hard pressed to find. Your love comes through, believe me!!!!
      .
      ____
      Post #3: March 6, 2021
      .
      It's time to go onto repotting the vanilla orchid vines. Unlike regular orchids, vanilla orchids develop roots at their nodes. In the 1st three pictures you can see these roots projecting from the nodes which are the same areas where the leaves are located. The viable roots appear thick, fleshy and are beige to whitish in color. The roots that are no longer viable have shriveled and darkened in color and can be removed. The vine is removed from the pot by pushing on the pot rather than tugging at the stem which can injure the roots (photo 5). I know commercial growers that plant their vanilla orchids in potting soil but I feel that this might retain too much water. The potting mix I prepared is made of 1 part perlite, 1 part coconut coir, 1 part long fiber sphagnum moss, 2 parts organic potting mix and 2 parts orchid potting mix (photo 4). Mix well and place in a 2.9 qt plastic pot. The idea is to encourage terrestrial root growth since this is how the plant gets its nutrients. We want to encourage a healthy terrestrial root system so the plant is placed so that the nodes are in contact with the planting medium. The viable roots are pushed into the media where possible. I actually prefer using coconut husk chips rather than bark because it lasts much longer without breaking down. The final picture shows the reported orchid. Notice how the viable roots have turned green as the vellum has taken up the water. It's important not to use fertilizer in the first several months of watering to encourage root growth in search of nutrients. Now it's time to wait and watch for good root growth development allowing the potting medium to approach dryness between watering unless the plant is in an active growth spurt.
      Growing vanilla
      Growing vanilla
      Growing vanillaGrowing vanilla
      Growing vanilla
      ____