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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 132: III International Symposium on Spice and Medicinal Plants, XXI IHC

EXPERIENCES WITH GROWING VANILLA (VANILLA PLANIFOLIA)

Author:   Elmo W. Davis
Abstract:
Vanilla planifolia Andrews, commonly referred to as vanilla, is a tropical vine of the family Orchidaceae. The successful profitable culture requires proper management. A minimum of labor and a modest outlay of money is needed but to produce an acceptable quality of beans economically requires attention to every detail of the growing operation--from the selection to the harvesting of the beans. Plants are grown on living supports in a lightly shaded area (approximately 50%), free of strong winds and excessive water. Vanilla can withstand filtered sun but not the direct rays of the hot tropical sun near mid-day. A good mulch at the base of the plants offers insulation from the hot sun at the root zone and reduction of moisture loss. Too much shade may weaken the plant, decrease flowering and lead to conditions for diseases to attack the fruit and plant. Good soil drainage and good air drainage are both necessary for the health of the plant. Drainage around the root zone can be obtained by planting on a ridge or mound. Hand pollination is necessary to control the quantity of fruits. Over pollination will weaken the plant. Highest quality bean and the highest vanillin content are obtained from fully mature green beans.
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