Native to Mexico, the Vanilla Orchid prefers tropical or subtropical climates, but can be grown indoors in most areas. Whilst self-fertile, most plants require manual interference to produce those highly prized vanilla bean pods. Flowers last only a day, so pollination is critical. Whether you grow it for the beans or for the lovely almost succulent vine, vanilla is a wonderful addition to your home and garden.
Flowers must be hand-pollinated in order to produce vanilla pods/beans. Use a bamboo skewer or toothpick to open the flower, carefully raise the flower flap (just under the anther) and press the pollen onto the stigma (under the flap). As the flowers lasts less than one day, pollinate as soon as the flower opens for your best chance of developing your own vanilla beans. Grow indoors in cool climates or outdoors in the subtropics. Plant in an open mix (orchid mix) and provide a stake or wire to train the brilliant-green vine along.