Sunday, June 14, 2015

Say what?? - Vanilla Orchid Flowers

Recently, my husband came home with a gift for me. It was a cutting of a vanilla orchid vine that was growing in our New York office. That plant was vining itself rampantly across the ceiling of an office. Dear husband asked for the vine to be trimmed and brought me back some cuttings. 
I quickly cut up the vines to put them in water. It was then I noticed that there were some flower buds. I felt bad that the much awaited flowers were cut off but as dear husband said it was not intentional. R who cut the vine did not know better. Also, the condition in the New York office was not conducive to the flowers forming into vanilla pods or it would have happened already. It sounded reasonable to me, the lucky benefactor of the bloom.

I sat the vase with the orchid cutting by the kitchen skin. Over the next few days, I watch the buds fall off one by one. I was not unduly perturbed by it, considering I am wondering if I would even be able to get the vine to root. A week goes by and I am rinsing off the last bowl, when I look up and was startled by this incredulous sight of an orchid bloom. I laugh out in delight and I am beaming. Visions of vanilla pods fill my mind. Ah, the crazy gardener in me.

I move the vase to the living room where I have a few pots of orchids. The location has the doctor prescribed condition of bright filtered sunlight beloved by orchids. The few neglected pots of orchids I have at the location have regularly provided me with blooms. Confident that it was the best spot for the vanilla orchid vine, I kept my fingers crossed for more blooms.

Un-open buds and ovary stem of previous day bloom on vine
Faded bloom petals on table top
I read up on vanilla orchid. It seems that the vanilla orchid bloom opens for just one day. The blooms are pollinated by Melipona bees native to Mexico where the vine originate. In cultivation, these blooms have to be hand pollinated. I did a quick search for Youtube video of doing just that. I did a little busy bee thing I must confess.....

Send me gardener luck, that I will be able to grow this Vanilla Orchid vine. If a vanilla pod or two I be granted, I would not say no. That is but so unlikely as the vine has not even establish itself in OUR home. Grow and bloom my pretty.

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