Vanilla pompona

Vanilla pompona

Vanilla pompona or vanillon is one of the three main orchid species that are cultivated for the production of vanilla.

The quality is lower than that of Vanilla planifolia because the pods contain less vanillin and have a strong odor of  coumarin.

The pods are shorter and rounder than those of Vanilla planifolia. It is mainly cultivated in the West Indies and India but it is hardly found in the trade anymore.

It belongs to the family Orchidaceae, sub-family Vanilloideae, tribe Vanilleae, sub-tribe Vanillinae, genus Vanilla.

This orchid grows best in warm greenhouse where he can climb to your heart. She is blossoming easier than Vanilla planifolia.

Description:

Vanilla pompona is a branched vine that clings to its support with its fleshy roots. The vine has a beautiful jade color and succulent leaves.

The leaves are oval and fairly broad.

The flowers are yellow-green, 12 cm in diameter and smell of vanilla. They appear in an inflorescence of 6-8 flowers, from winter to early spring.

The pods are smaller (10-12 cm long and 16-60 mm wide) and rounder than those of Vanilla planifolia at maturity and have the shape and color of a banana.

Origin:

Central and South America, between 270 and 530 m altitude.

Habitat:
Moist, tropical rainforest highlands.

Synonyms:

Vanilla grandiflora, Vanilla guianensis, Vanilla lutescens, Vanilla pittieri, Vanilla surinamensis

Etymology:

Vanilla: is derived from the Spanish name for the herb, vainilla, and is a diminutive of vaina, meaning sheath or vagina, perhaps inspired by the shape of the fruit.
Pompona: is derived from the Latin pompa (parade, ostentation) with reference to the large flowers.

Vanilla pompona

Vanilla pompona



Care:

Notice!

Wash your hands thoroughly after handling a vanilla orchid: the contact with the plant can be irritating.

Temperature:

The vanilla orchid likes a difference between day and night temperatures.
Day temperature: 27-32 ° C
Night temperature: 15-21 ° C

Light:

Put in a place where it gets the morning sunlight and afternoon shade.

In the wild, the vanilla orchid is usually exposed to the light that filters down through the treetops.

Water:

The substrate is only a support for the vine. Watering and misting should be done on the aerial roots.

Provide water every 2 weeks.

Use rainwater or soft water at room temperature.

Humidity:

At least 50% and preferably 60-80%.

Substrate:

Use a humus-rich but very porous substrate to start: once the plant is well established, it climbs the support and gets water and nutrients from the aerial roots.
Support:

The vanilla orchid is a vine. It is therefore necessary to provide a support to which it may cling with its aerial roots. You can use the moss-coated pipes typically used for Philodendron or Monstera, so it will be easy to water and fog the aerial roots. They are found in nurseries, DIY stores…

Fertilizer:

Fertilize every two weeks with a 20-10-20 liquid fertilizer.

It is even better to prepare the solution in advance and spread watering over several days rather than give it all at once every two weeks.

Repot:

Repotting is not necessary: Once the plant is mature, it gets water and nutrients from its aerial roots.

Flowering:

Flowering occurs in summer and each flower blooms only one day. If the flowers are not pollinated, they wither and fall. If they are pollinated by hand the morning, they can set fruit.

Propagation:

Seed:

The seeds require the presence of mycorrhizal fungi to germinate. In the laboratory, they are replaced by seeding in vitro, on an agar-agar basis. This is an extract from certain species of red algae that is rich in polysaccharides.

And no, you can not germinate the seeds inside the vanilla pods you find in the trade. They have undergone heat treatment and fermentation before being marketed, they are dead and have no germination power.

Cuttings:

  • take pieces of stalk, each containing several nodes and let them dry a few days
  • plant into a small pot filled with orchids substrate and the support to which they can cling
  • make sure you plant the cuttings upright because they take root more easily from the nodes that were lower on the plant
  • moisten
  • make sure that the substrate remains moist but not wet. Wrap the pot in a plastic bag or place it in a terrarium.
  • room temperature: 20-25 °C

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