A terrestrial or arboreal orchid producing long, skinny, blackish pods having thousands of small seeds and a highly aromatic interior. The pods are the vanilla bean of commerce.
Description: A vining orchid, with single shoots growing many feet long.
Hardiness: Not frost hardy.
Growing Environment: Vanilla is a tropical orchid needing a warm, humid climate. Grows well in shady locations. Culture is similar to that of many tropical orchids. If grown as a houseplant, provide support for the vine to attach, keep watered and misted. The vanilla vine retrieves water from its terrestrial and aerial roots, as well as its leaves.
Propagation: Generally by cuttings which root easily.
Uses: Pods are fermented and processed. Vanillin is extracted from the pods and is used widely as a flavoring.
Native Range: Native to Central America.