How to grow a vanilla bean plant

Written by chelsea fitzgerald
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How to grow a vanilla bean plant
Vanilla grows best in warm climates. (Getty Creative)

Vanilla is one of the most popular scents. Many products are scented with vanilla such as candles, potpourri, body soaps and lotions. Growing a vanilla bean plant on your land is not complicated, and soon you will be rewarded with fresh vanilla beans, which can be incorporated into vanilla extract or used for flavouring in homemade ice cream and other desserts. The smell of vanilla wafting throughout your home is a delightful sensory experience.

Find a spot to grow your vanilla bean plant, preferably in a wooded area that has a slight slope to it. This will provide shade and allow for proper drainage of the vanilla bean plant.

Obtain a cutting from a vanilla bean plant; you will need to remove about 1.5 m (5 feet) of the plant, according to the My Vanilla Shop website. Trim off five or six leaves from the cutting, then hang it in a shady location for approximately two weeks before planting.

Stake your vanilla bean plant with a T-shaped stake. Allow the cut end of the plant to grow in peat moss or scraps from your compost pile. Make sure the soil stays moist to ensure the best beans.

Loop or hang the other end of the plant over the top of the T-shaped stake. This will allow the plant to flourish and grow.

Prune back the vanilla bean flowers after they start to grow. Ideally, each plant should have no more than eight to 15 flowers on each plant, depending on how large the plant has grown.

Expect each vanilla bean plant to produce about 100 vanilla beans. You will know the beans are ready to harvest when they lose their dark green colour and are a lighter shade of green with some yellow colour visible. If the vanilla bean has turned black, it is too late to harvest because the bean will be overripe.

Tip

You can grow a vanilla bean plant indoors because it requires shade and a good moist soil.

Warning

Avoid handling the vanilla bean plant unless you have gloves on. It can cause allergic reactions and skin irritations in some people, according to the Dave's Garden website.

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