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Agriculture > Spices > Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia)

Crop Management


Planting materials

Vanilla is found to be amenable to both sexual and asexual methods of propagation. The seeds of vanilla are very small like sand particles and production of planting materials through seed germination is not found practical. Hence vanilla is propagated by stem cuttings.

Stem cuttings:

Stem cuttings of one-meter length or less can be used for planting. It is ideal to have a minimum of 10- 12 internodes in each cutting. Any part of the vine can be selected for stem cutting, but vines of current year's growth, which are in vegetative phase excluding the tender shoots at the tip, are most ideal.

Rooted cuttings:

It is advisable to plant smaller cuttings with fewer nodes only after rooting in poly bags. Smaller cuttings with at least 2-3 nodes can be used for generating rooted cuttings by planting them in polythene bags [15 cm x 15 cm and 100 - 150 gauge]. The poly bags should have five or six holes at the base to avoid water stagnation. The potting mixture may be prepared by mixing fertile top soil, dried cow dung and sand in the ratio 1:1:1. Vermi compost can also be mixed with potting mixture. The cuttings should be kept in shade for one week before planting in the poly bags. Only one cutting should be planted in each polybag and it should be tied to a support made by placing a small twig or stick or split bamboo in the poly bag. The planted cuttings should be provided with shade and watering should be done once in two days.

Bio agents like Trichoderma, Pseudomonas and Bacillus may be applied to the polybags at the rate of 5 - 10 g as a prophylactic measure against fungal attack and for good growth. Vermi wash can be applied for healthy growth.

The cuttings will usually take root and grow to a height of about 50 - 75 cm in six months time when they are ready for field planting.

Tissue culture plantlets:

Tissue cultured vanilla plantlets can also be used for field planting. The tissue-cultured plantlets are to be hardened in nurseries for about six months prior to field planting after they become at least 30 cm tall. Studies conducted by the Spices Board in about 450 plots in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have shown that both the stem/rooted cuttings and tissue cultured plantlets are comparable in terms of eventual productivity though the tissue cultured plantlets grow at a slower pace in the first year of planting.


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