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Probably all people are familiar with the aroma of vanilla. It is from this spice that vanilla sugar and synthetic vanillin are made, which are used in almost any sweet baked goods.
Vanilla is also a popular ingredient in perfumery. But not everyone knows that this spice is extracted from the vanilla orchid (or Vanilla orchid).
What is this "vanilla" plant: history of origin and habitat
The West Indies are considered the birthplace of this vine.... Vanilla also grows in rainforests:
- Central America;
- north of South America.
Its fruits were used by the ancient Aztecs as money.
At the beginning of the sixteenth century, during the campaigns of conquest, the orchid was discovered by Europeans. But it wasn't until 1808 that botanist Henry Charles Edrus gave a botanical description of the plant.
Until 1841, the vanilla orchid could not be grown outside of its homeland, since endemic melipon bees were needed to pollinate the flowers. It wasn't until 1841 that orchids were first able to pollinate by hand on Reunion Island. Since then, vanilla plantations have appeared in Africa and Asia.
The largest of them are:
- in China;
- in India;
- on the island of Madagascar.
Now vanilla orchid is grown not only on plantations. Despite the fact that at home it is almost impossible to get the spice itself lovers of exotic plants are happy to grow Vanilla on their windowsill. This beautiful flower with a pleasant scent will be a wonderful decoration for any home.
Appearance and photos
Vanilla Orchid Appearance:
- length 10-30 meters;
- aerial roots along the liana, which attach it to the tree;
- large flowers of yellow or greenish color;
- dark green, fleshy and elongated leaves (some species have light stripes on the leaves).
Below are photos of a vanilla orchid.
What is the difference from other species?
The vanilla orchid is very different from other orchids. She is the only member of her family from whom edible fruits are obtained.i.e. vanilla pods.
When and how does it happen?
With proper care, after 3-4 years of life, the orchid becomes capable of blooming. In natural habitats, the flowering period is spring and early summer.
After opening the bud, you can admire the flower for eight hours. After a day, he falls off. Under natural conditions, the number of flowers on a plant is 8-10. At home - no more than five.
Care before and after flowering
In order for the liana to bloom, you must follow all the rules for caring for the plant.... That is, watch out for:
- illumination, etc.
The details of leaving will be discussed below.
After the orchid has faded, you need to cut off all the formed arrows. This is necessary so that the plant does not grow 15 meters in length. Also, this procedure allows you to form the shape of an orchid and get a stalk for growing a new one. But before pruning, it's worth seeing if the vanilla pod is sprouting? In rare cases, this is still possible.
What if the buds don't appear?
This type of orchid does not have a pronounced dormant period.... Because of this, it will not work to stimulate it to bloom.
Before planting an orchid, you need to prepare suitable conditions for it. Since Vanilla is a climbing plant, you need to install a support for it, along which the stems will curl. A special tube with a coconut coating, a stand for ornamental plants or a planter is suitable for this.
Preparing the soil and pot
- Vanilla is planted in a clay, and preferably in a transparent plastic pot. Such a capacity will provide sufficient illumination not only for the stems, but also for the roots.
- You can also use a special basket for orchids for planting. This option is even better because the holes in the basket allow the roots to breathe and prevent water from stagnating in the soil.
The size of the vessel should be such that there is a distance of 2-3 centimeters between its walls and the roots of the plant.
The soil in which the flower will be planted is mixed from the following set of ingredients:
- tree bark;
- sphagnum moss;
- fern or perlite roots;
- a small amount of peat.
The result should be a lightweight and breathable substrate.
The optimum temperature for the comfort of the vine is in the range of 25-30 degrees Celsius. Moreover, this temperature regime must be observed throughout the year. Vanilla orchid does not tolerate cold... But too high a temperature will not do her good.
The orchid, which is always warm and damp in its homeland, needs high humidity and room conditions. Humidity should be kept in the range of 80-90 percent.
For this the plant must be constantly watered and periodically moistened with leaves using a spray bottle. Water for irrigation should not be cold.
Watering frequency depends on the room temperature. The higher the temperature, the more often water is required.
Although vanilla is a light-loving vine, direct sunlight should still be avoided. It should be in diffused light throughout the day. In winter, a suitable consecration will have to be maintained with the help of special lamps.
For this plant, the soil should not be allowed to dry out, so the soil is watered immediately when the top layer dries. Watering using warm, purified and calcium-free water... In addition to watering the soil, a warm shower once a week is helpful for the orchid.
During a decrease in growth activity (that is, a dormant period), the number of waterings decreases. But it is still impossible to allow the soil to dry out.
Vanilla takes fertilizers very well. It needs to be fed every 2-3 weeks with special fertilizers for orchids. The fertilizer concentration is reduced by 2-3 times in comparison with the dosage indicated by the manufacturer on the package.
Top dressing can be foliar, that is, by spraying the leaves.
The orchid is transplanted when the roots no longer fit in the pot or the soil wears out. It is best to transplant in the spring.... In time, it is usually necessary every 2-3 years.
During transplanting, you need to carefully remove the plant from the old pot without damaging the roots. To avoid the formation of rot on those roots that are still broken, they must be sprinkled with grated charcoal.
The new pot should be only a few sizes larger than the previous one.
How to propagate?
The most common way to propagate an orchid is by cuttings.:
- You need to choose a stalk that has at least three aerial roots.
- It is placed in a pot with damp soil (preferably sand), covered with polyethylene (to create greenhouse conditions) and stay there until it begins to grow.
- From time to time, the cutting greenhouse needs to be ventilated and, if necessary, moisten the soil.
- When the shoot releases 2-3 leaves, it is transplanted into the substrate.
Diseases and pests
Vanilla is very resistant to diseases and pests... If you follow all the conditions for proper care, then the plant will be completely healthy. The main thing is to avoid both excess and lack of moisture.
Prevention of various problems
To avoid possible problems with growth, flowering and diseases, you need to maintain living conditions for your orchid as closely as possible to its native climate.
Vanilla orchid will suit an experienced florist and lovers of exotic plants. Despite the complexities of grooming, this adorable flower is well worth getting at home.