VANILLA (Vanilla planifolia); Orchidaceae

Lateritic soil rich in humus having good drainage.

Humid tropical climate with an annual rainfall of 150 – 300 cm (well distributed for a period of 9 months and dry period of 3 months). Elevation: 700 – 1500 m MSL and with latitude of 100 N and 200 S. Temperature: 210C – 320C.

Glyricidia sp, Erythrina indica, Jatropha curcus, Plumeria alba and Casuarina equisetifolia.

Planting during on-set of rain after summer during May and June.

6 months after planting standards (i.e.) September – November.

Stem cuttings of 60 – 120 cm

Plains : 2.0 to 2.5 m X 1.2 – 1.5 m
Hills : 1.5 x 1.5 m

Pit size 30x30x30cm for standards and for planting of vanilla cuttings. Place 2 nodes of unrooted cuttings below the soil surface.

Train the vines to a height of 1.2 to 1.5 m. Then trained horizontally or allowed to grow downward towards the ground. Horizontally trained vines are coiled round the pole connecting the two supporting trees. Vines trained to grow downward is allowed to touch the soil and allowed to root and again brought back upward on the same supporting tree and the same procedure is repeated.

Mulch the vine with pruned vegetation 2 – 3 times in a year.

Apply 40 – 60: 20 – 30: 60 – 100 g of NPK per vine per year. It is given in 2 to 3 splits. Spray 1 % solution of 17: 17: 17 NPK mixture once in a month for boosting growth and flower production
Flowering starts in the third year of planting during December – January. Pinching of top 7.5 – 10 cm of vine 6 – 8 months before flowering seasons encourages flower bud initiation. Pruning of older fruiting branches also encourages flower production. Each inflorescence consists of 15 – 20 flowers.
The artificial pollination is useful in vanilla and pollination must be done on the same day as flowers start opening from 4.00 am and extend upto 1.00 pm. About 10 to 20 inflorescences may be pollinated in a vine. Normally 5 to 6 flowers in the lower side of inflorescence are pollinated. Hand pollination is done using a needle or a piece of pointed wood or a tooth pick to lift the hood covering the anther cap so that the anthers are brought into contact with stigma. A skilled worker can pollinate 1000 – 1500 flowers in a day.

Leaf eating beetles, Feeding bugs and Caterpillars: Spray quinolphos @ 0.05 %.

Fusarium wilt
Drenching of 0.1% carbendazim

Phytophthora rot
Spray 1% bordeaux mixture or soil drenching with copper oxychloride @ 0.2 %

Sclerotium rot
Soil drenching with carbendazim 0.1 %

The pods are ready for harvest in 6 to 9 months after flowering. The matured beans change colour from green to pale yellow. The right picking stage is when the distal end of the pod turns yellow. Daily picking of matured pod is essential. The pods are harvested by cutting with a knife.
Average cured bean yield is 300 to 600 kg / ha / year. 6 kg of green pods produce 1 kg of cured beans. The economic life of vine is 12 – 14 years.