Growing vanilla

I will likely be moving to the mountains of northern Georgia in the near future.
The average high in January is 49.8 deg F (extreme high around 70 between 1949-2003), and the average low 28.5 (extreme low around -10 between 1949-2003). The average high in July is 89.3 (extreme 102), and the low 65.7 (extreme around 45). Avg total ppt: 57.9 inches/ year (min 3.6 in Aug, max 6.3 in Mar). Avg snow: 1.9 inches/year (max 0.8 in Jan).
Are there any varieties of vanilla that will grow in that climate?
billo
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The publication available at http://www.actahort.org/books/132/132_2.htm
seems very helpful.
Dave

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Yeah, that's what my investigations are pointing to. I read that there were North American vanilla plants, so I thought maybe there was a chance -- but all the ones I have found live only in Florida in the wild.
billo
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Not likely. The vanilla beans are the fruiting bodies of a tropical orchid from Madagascar. It can take a dozen years in a special greenhouse with perfect conditions to bring a plant to fruit. Thus, the high price for vanilla.
On 20 Aug 2003 15:47:13 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@radix.net (Bill Oliver) opined:

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I wonder how true this still is. Apparently until recently (I don't have any idea how recent is recent), orchid growers had no idea that a symbiotic relationship with a certain fungus was required for pollention/flowering or some such. So formerly, orchids were exceedingly rare, but now everybody and their momma can have one. Just wondering if vanilla prices are still artifically inflated because nobody's the wiser.
-- Salty
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This is a little garbled. Fungal associations are not required for flowering or pollination. Orchid seeds are basically naked embryos without stored nutrients, so they depend on symbiotic fungi until they grow true leaves and roots. Once the seedling has leaves and roots, it is no longer compeletely dependent on fungi (although it may retain mycorrhizal associations throughout its life).
Methods for germinating orchid seed on nutrient agar without fungi were developed by Knudson in the early 1920's, and cloning of superior orchids for the mass market was developed by Morel in 1960. Both methods require skill at laboratory techniques and are not cheap.

Vanilla flowers only last a day or so, and on commercial vanilla plantations, each flower must be individually pollinated by hand. A single vanilla "bean" is obtained from each flower, and the beans must be carefully processed after harvesting. It is very labor intensive.
Vanilla orchids are epiphytic vines which typically must be quite large before they flower. It is usually not worth the effort for a grower with a hobby greenhouse to maintain that much vanilla biomass just for a few seed capsules.
regards,
Nick
--
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com

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>Just wondering if vanilla prices are still artifically >inflated because nobody's the wiser.
I'm fairly new to the whole orchid craze but, from what I've gathered, the lowering costs of orchids is more from the enhanced cloning/meristemming/whatever they do than from finding better/easier ways to pollinate.
As far as the vanilla orchid itself, I have two and have read a bit about it. IIRC, for vanilla to propagate in the wild, the plant is usually *huge*. Long, at least, with something like 25 feet being what I recall. It's a pretty fast growing plant. I bought one a little over a year ago in a six-inch hanging pot and ended up moving most of it to a large, shallow pot about six months ago. I built a cheap tripod thingy to place in the pot for the plant to be vined around and up and it's getting more and more difficult to find some place to twine it already. A small piece that broke off when I repotted it was placed back in the original six-inch pot and is in need of repotting already because it's outgrowing the space.
Another part of the high price for vanilla beans is the process that is needed for it to be usable. My eyes crossed about halfway through the discussion of the process so I can't even begin to recount it, but it seemed so compli- cated that I decided then and there to just enjoy any blooms if/when they came and forget about trying to make use of any beans that show up. :)
Tracey
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snipped-for-privacy@jh7ikd.net wrote:

Actually the plant originated in the American tropics.
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Not so fast, Buckwheat.
There are Vanilla species native to and grown in Madagascar.
wrote:

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wrote:

You've got it right. The African and Madagascar native vanillas are of no commerical importance. The vanillas of commerce originated in Mexico.
J. Del Col
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That's not what he said.
The Vanilla species grown commercially for its beans is a Mexican species but the genus itself is found throughout the tropics.
You should not be so presumptuous as to jump to the conclusion that "the African and Madagascar native vanillas are of no commercial importance" because that is just your opinion as far as you know and nothing more.
wrote:

tropical
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Ok, prove that they are.
J. Del Col
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Do you have any evidence that V. polylepsis, imperialis, etc. are of commericial importance? Get back to us when you do.
J. Del Col
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Do you have any proof that the African and Madagascan Vanilla specis have NO potential commercial value? Being of horticultural interest is not enough?
Are you some sort of self-appointed god?

species
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No, just someone who apparently knows more about the vanilla trade than you do.
I don't have to disprove anything about the potential commercial value of Madagascar or African vanillas. You have to back up your assertion that they might have some; the burden of proof lies with you, not me.
J. Del Col
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I didn't jump to a conclusion.
Only three species of Vanilla are used commerically, planifolia, pompona, and tahitensis. None of them is native to Madagascar or Africa. Planifolia comes from Mexico and Central America. Pompona is native to the West Indies, and tahitensis comes from the South Pacific islands.
V. planifolia is the source of nearly all commericial cooking vanilla with pompona contributing a small percentage of product. Tahitensis is used mainly for perfumes.
If you don't believe it, look it up.
J. Del Col
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Not only do you jump to conclusions, you don't know how to properly cite species names.
Never use a species epithet alone without indicating the genus to which it belongs.Also species epithets are never capitalized, even when they are derived from proper names. Check the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) for the proper use of species names. Look it up.
It should be Vanilla planifolia, Vanilla pompona and Vanilla tahitensis or V.planifolia, V.pompona and V.tahitensis, never Planifolia, Pompona or Tahitensis.

species
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snipped-for-privacy@radix.net (Bill Oliver) wrote in message

Hawai'i is growing them as a cash crop. And it is said to be the finest in the world.
Cheers,
Ned
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Thanks to you and the others for the responses!
billo
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