Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vanilla planifolia

Vanilla planifolia - Flower photo by Richard LindbergEarlier this year, both of the Vanilla planifolia plants in the Sonoma collection bloomed. This is only the second time that I have seen a fully open Vanilla flower. Even though each flower is only open for a few hours, there were a couple of dozen flowers over a three week period so I got to really see the flowers.

Aerangis articulata - Flower photo by Richard LindbergVanilla planifolia grows in Florida, the West Indies, Central America and Northern South America. It is warm to hot growing, fragrant and needs bright light and can bloom any time of the year.

About a month ago I took a cutting. I had seen some discussion on starting these from cuttings so I decided to try it myself. I cut off the lower leaves and so that some of the roots and a couple of nodes were below the surface of the potting soil I used as medium. I put it in a hot, wet and shady location.

I seem to have got it on the first try. A new growth is coming up out of the soil. I have started a second cutting just to see if the first was just luck. After that, I will probably not do any more. I don't want the plants myself and the shipping on them is probably quite a bit, so selling them may not be practical.

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