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Easy Step-by-step Instructions for Growing Vanilla Beans Indoors

Instructions for Growing Vanilla Beans Indoors
Many people are interested in growing their favorite plants in their house. For all those who love the aromatic vanilla flavor, here, we describe the steps involved in growing vanilla beans indoors.
Priyanka Kosta Sonkushre
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2017
Vanilla ice-creams are the best! I hope, most of you would agree to this statement. The captivating flavor of vanilla ice-cream is because of vanilla essence that is incorporated as an ingredient. This flavor is obtained from vanilla orchids, native to Mexico. Earlier, vanilla was cultivated only in Mexico and Central America because its cultivation in other places could not be done due to absence of essential requirements for growth. Later on, it was established that it could be hand cultivated and since then, vanilla is grown all over the world. Vanilla bean substitutes like vanilla extract and powder are also available, which are used as alternatives to impart vanilla flavor to food items.

We can grow beans at home with little effort, but it must be kept in mind that growing beans indoors requires extra care and attention. So, if you want to know how to grow vanilla beans indoor, here are some instructions to guide you in the process.
  • A pot
  • Potting soil
  • Stake
  • Vanilla plant cuttings
  • Tools for pollination
vanilla in kitchen
Step 1
Hydrate vanilla plant cuttings for around ten minutes by soaking in water completely.

Step 2
Remove, and soak the roots of the cuttings in water for three to five days before planting them.

Step 3
Place the cutting on vanilla orchid bark medium such that one or two nodes of the cutting is placed within the soil.

Step 4
Place a stake in the pot and firmly attach the cutting to the stake so as to provide adequate support to the growing plant. Vanilla orchids tend to grow around 15 feet, which calls for frequent monitoring in order to place additional stakes as and when required.

Step 5
Proper growth of vanilla orchid requires temperature of 60 ºF and 50% humidity. In case, maintaining the required conditions of temperature and humidity becomes difficult, do not hesitate to place it in a green house for providing the optimum conditions.

Step 6
Give around three years time to the growing vines to fully mature, after which they begin flowering. Flowering of vanilla orchids begin with early spring. Flowers bloom around mid-morning and close at night. This short period is the flower's life and one must make sure to pollinate the flowers in this period only.

Step 7
To pollinate the flowers by hand, use a pollination tool to transfer the pollen grains from the male part of the flower to the female part. Make sure you do not spoil the flower in any way because any damage could lead to the failed pollination.

Step 8
The orchid takes around nine months to bear beans after successful pollination. Beans appear in the vines and signal their maturity by developing yellow tips when they are ready for harvesting.

Step 9
Harvest mature beans carefully and blanch them in water at 150 ºF. Blanching is required to decrease the risk of developing mold during the curing process.

Step 10
For curing, wrap the beans in canvas and store them in a wooden box for 2 days at high temperatures. After this, provide alternate sun drying and night sweating to the beans and store them in ventilated racks. The process of curing depends on the climatic condition. It is recommended you learn the curing process applicable to your location.
Points to Remember
  • Pollinate the flowers during their blooming time. If you fail to pollinate, no beans will be formed.
  • To provide sufficient sunlight, place the vines in direct sunlight until noon, after which they can be placed in shade.
  • Do not place the vanilla orchid in direct sunlight for too long because excessive sunlight will dry up the plant completely.
  • Choose the vanilla variety carefully, as some species tend to grow up to 90 feet which will be difficult to handle.
  • Vanilla orchid can cause allergic reactions. So, handle them carefully and rush to a doctor if you observe an allergic reaction occurring in your body.

The yield of vanilla beans increases with time once a vine is established completely. It is a great idea to grow this plant indoors, however, make sure to provide sufficient care and optimal environmental conditions required for the growth of this delicate plant.