Vanilla Vine update

Not only has my vanilla plant survived the winter, but it has even grown- it isn’t to the top of the trellis, but it has quite a bit of new growth on it, and some aerial roots going into the moss on the trellis. The trellis is made of 2 layers of hardware cloth, with sheet moss in between the layers and orchid potting mix inside the cylinder.

Ignore the messy kitchen counter…

My pop bottle humidity system is not perfect- it takes a while to dial it in to slow drip, and about once a week I just bring the whole contraption to the kitchen and hose it down with the sprayer. I moved it out to the back porch today, and I’ll splash it with the hose regularly.

I added a grocery store orchid to the pot- vanilla is a type of orchid, after all, and they should like the same conditions. I don’t remember what kind of orchid it is, and the tag just says “orchid.” C’m0n, grocery store…


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. julia christine stephen
    May 11, 2012 @ 04:13:16

    I like the trelis you built, I think I may copy it.:)


  2. altonspeight
    May 11, 2012 @ 07:41:46

    Fascinating! I’d never considered growing a vanilla plant, but this has piqued my interest. I had a language-barrier moment trying to work out where the cloth was in your picture (all I could see was wire mesh and moss!) until I worked out that hardware cloth means wire mesh.

    I wonder if the conditions favoured by vanilla orchids are anything like those loved by Venus’ fly traps. I killed several fly traps until I discovered that they basically like to be left sitting in water permanently, because they are bog plants: if you just do that, it’s practically impossible to kill them. I wonder how your moss column would fare if you sat it in a bowl of water, leaving the moss to wick up the moisture, rather than watering it from the top: would it go mouldy?


    • katsmama
      May 11, 2012 @ 18:44:10

      That’s an interesting idea- my thought process was that the column was for humidity, because the plant itself lives in the Mexican rainforest, in air that is humid, but soil that drains really fast. Here in Colorado, the air is dry, so I don’t think the moss would get moldy, but I think the soil would get waterlogged the way I have it set up now, if I just set the whole thing in a bowl of water.


  3. altonspeight
    May 12, 2012 @ 01:25:33

    What you say makes sense, but, having now read the Wikipedia article on the vanilla orchid (go, Edmond Albius!), I am even more keen to experiment myself. The power of wicking is a curious thing: maybe the saucer of water at the base, along with water evaporating from the column itself, would also create an effectively humid microclimate. You could probably avoid waterlogging if you planned it according to the bottom-up approach. I am about to attempt to source some vanilla orchid plants in the UK.


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