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A healthy plant with numerous loops and good mulching will have a strong root system, this one’s ready for flower induction
By Piero Bianchessi, Former Owner and Operator of Venui Vanilla
Goal : to carefully ‘stress’ the vanilla plant and ‘force’ (induce) flowering
When : (1) When the dry season is expected.
(2) When the plant is strong; a vanilla plant must have at least 10 looped vines, each with healthy, strong roots, before flower induction is
Where : In areas where the dry season is not well defined (or too short).
- (1) Vanilla planifolia requires 6 to 8 weeks of dry weather to flower. Vanilla tahitensis may reach flower induction after 3 or 4 weeks only. During the dry period, relatively cold nights are also a boost for the flower induction.
- (2) There are areas where the dry season usually lasts only 3 or 4 weeks, or where a spell of sunny weather is often interrupted by one or two days of rain. This may happen particularly in regions closer to the equator (less than 15 degrees latitude north or south), or in areas on the windward side of an island (weather shore).
- (3) Careful: The flower induction described in this section should be attempted only in the areas with an ill-defined or short, dry season.
- (4) Where the dry season is normally well defined, excessive flower induction techniques may damage your vines and root systems.
- (5) Flower buds will appear 6 to 8 weeks after successful flower induction.
- (6) If the dry season doesn’t follow the flower induction, new vine shoots will appear instead of flower buds. Nip back the new shoots and wait for the dry season.
Uprooting is not a flower induction technique, but a destructive practice that will kill the vanilla root system. If you pull the roots out of the mulch, the plant will produce flowers and beans, but these beans will have no roots to nourish them. You’ll end up with molly beans without any aroma.