Originally Posted by weedtoker
Wow, can you explain a bit more of the conditions they were in/ how to they got to be so pretty sized and fruiting?
In anyway, sweet harvest, in it's due time.
Sooo. Where do I start. I guess from when I received the cuttings. Each cutting was approx 1m long. I constructed a frame out of two u-shaped bamboo canes at right angles to each other. Next was the growing medium. I mixed half coir with half bio bizz all mix. To this I added a little extra perlite, mycorrihzal fungi and bat guano.
From the cuttings the bottom two leaves were removed and then left to heal. The cutting then placed into the growing medium, deep enough to cover the two removed leaf nodes, next to one cane and secured to the cane. I had three cuttings done the same way. They were placed in a south facing bay window. I have light coloured drop blinds so dropped them half way down so there was not too much direct sun.
Vanilla planifolia is an orchid in the form of a vine. I believe it's the only fruiting orchid but could be wrong. Unlike most other orchids it requires regular watering. The medium has lots of air gaps and spaces in it so that the adventitious roots can easily search for water and not get so damp they rot. Eventually, after few weeks, you get a growing tip which sprouts out of the top of one of the leaf nodes. This will then grow as long as it wants or til the tip breaks off or is broken off.
I then would wind the growing vine up and down the canes. If you break the tip off you generally end up with multiple shoots growing. In summer months I used a weaker orchid fertilizer once a month. It doesn't actually need much ferts. The growing shoots grew like this for about 5.5 years before I finally got flowers. I'm sure it can be done quicker. I'm not entirely sure how I managed to do it.
Depending on the location around the world the flowering dates change. I have a list somewhere of many different places but strangely enough the UK was not on it so it was trial and error. I think I stumbled over it by dumb luck. The idea is to grow one shoot off the main vine to about 25 leaf nodes long. Then the growing tip is broken off about 3 leaf nodes back from the apex. Where the stem is from 0.5 to 1cm thick.This is apparently the method they use in Madagascar. Anyway it worked.
5 inflorescences then grew out again from the top of the leaf nodes. Each stalk has multiple flower buds on. Once they come to opening they basically open one at a time early in the morning. They need to be manually pollinated by hand which is a tricky manoeuvre involving ripping the main flower, lifting a flap with a tooth pick and stick the sexy bits together. You only have several hours to do this before the flower dies and falls off. If you are successful the flower does not fall off but slowly dies and remains attatched to the plant. After recording which flowers successfully pollinated I found that pollinating late morning/ midday ish was the best.
Then over the next couple of weeks you will see the ovary lengthen and start to swell. This then turns into the vanilla pods. Fully grown now the pods range from 15 to 25cm long and 1 to 2cm thick. Commercially the pods are graded by length and thickness.
Then it was just a matter of waiting 9 months for the pods to grow and mature. Which is where I am at currently. In the next couple few weeks they will show that they are ripe by turning yellow on the tips. If the ends start splitting they are about to go too far.
Hope that helps