Is Vanilla Farming Profitable? Cultivation Guide

Vanilla belongs to the orchid family and is a tropical climbing vine that is typically grown for its pleasant flavor. It is one of the costliest spices after saffron in the market. Vanilla usually grows with the support of trees. More than 40 species of vanilla exist all over the world. But only 3 of them are considered important. One variety that is cultivated on a very large scale is Vanilla planifolia. This particular variety has much more commercial value for its vanillin. Vanilla vine is actually perennial in nature which belongs to the family of “Orchidaceae” and genus of “Vanilla”. The vanilla plant takes a lot of time to grow, it starts its first yield after around 3 years of planting but then continues to give the yield up to 12-14 years. Read full article Is Vanilla Farming Profitable?

Generally, the vanilla crop is grown as intercrop in the fields of coconut and areca nut. If we talk about India, Indian exports of vanilla are rapidly growing and account for approx. 2% of world vanilla exports. In India, Karnataka holds the place of cultivating the highest amount of vanilla followed in line by Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Vanilla Farming

Is Vanilla Farming Profitable?

The vanilla vines can be grown indoors like in a greenhouse or even in pots and containers. The initial investment for cultivating the vanilla is very less if compared to other species. Vanilla can also be grown without soil or exterior nutrients i.e. hydroponically. If grown as a pure crop and not as an intercrop, vanilla gives higher yields and also if they are grown under shade net. In short, vanilla is a tropical orchid crop that requires high humidity, shade, and moderate temperatures. Due to this reason, the need and demand for cultivating vanilla in shade houses that are fitter with micro-sprinklers for creating the required micro-climate are increasing in India. Vanilla Farming

Major Vanilla Production Countries:

  1. Madagascar
  2. Indonesia
  3. China
  4. New Guinea
  5. Mexico
  6. Turkey
  7. Tonga
  8. Uganda
  9. French Polynesia

Health Benefits of Vanilla

  • Vanilla extract has anti-aging properties.
  • It helps to promote healthy skin.
  • It helps in healing burns, wounds, and cuts.
  • It is best for the treatment of acne.
  • The vanilla extract promotes healthy hair.
  • It helps in weight loss
  • It helps in treating anxiety and depression.
  • It helps to relieve nausea.
  • Vanilla extract helps to relieve digestive disorders.

Coriander Cultivation

Plantation of Vanilla

Climate and soil

Growing vanilla requires a warm climate with a frequent amount of rains and preferable annual rainfall of 150-300 cm. They don’t need lots of space so partially unclear jungle lands are also suitable for establishing vanilla plantations. In these kinds of locations, it would be necessary to retain the natural shade provided by lofty trees which allows penetration of sunlight to the ground level and to leave the soil or the rich humus layer on the top undisturbed. However, vanilla can be cultivated in any type of soil from sandy loam to laterites. Is Vanilla Farming Profitable? Vanilla Farming

Is Vanilla Farming Profitable?


The best way to plant is by planting shoot cuttings. If you want that your plants to flower earlier, make sure you are using longer cuttings i.e. Vanilla Farming 18 to 24 internodes instead of shorter cuttings. Also, the length of the cuttings can be adjusted depending upon the availability of the planting material and also the area to be planted. It is recommended that cuttings that have five to six internodes or are shorten than 60 cm in length should be avoided to plant directly into the main field. Vanilla can be propagated by using tissue culture methods also. If you want to raise the rooted cutting in polybag, use two nodes cutting. Be careful that you don’t use plantlets less than 30 cm. Vanilla Farming

The leaves which are there on the fourth to fifth nodes from the tips are removed and the cutting present is kept loosely rolled up in a cool and shaded place for two or three weeks. When it is ready for insertion, the cutting should be handled very carefully. Three to four internodes that are lower are placed in a shallow trench 3-4 cm deep and about 10 cm wide. The extra soil is used to loosely fill this trench. This whole operation generally happens at the beginning of the rainy season, Vanilla Farming

Land Preparation

While preparing the soil for prospective pepper or vanilla plantations, it must be kept in mind that each vine should be supplied support or stake upon which it can climb. Later, it is also seen that these supports are divided into two categories i.e. living and non-living. If we talk about living supports, they must be established before even taking the cuttings from the pepper or vanilla plants. The support that is most often used for pepper is either plants that are already in the plantation or trees from original forest growth, left in place during land clearance. So if the support is already present i.e. living part, it makes it essential that the holes at the foot of each support are made by hand. But if we talk about non-living support, like a wooden stake, in place at any time after the soil has been cultivated by general ploughing or hole preparation. Vanilla Farming


As we know that vanilla is a climbing vine and needs support to grow.It flourishes well only if there is a partial shade and about 50 % sunlight and of course low branching trees with a very rough bark and tiny leaves just grown for this purpose. A number of the trees now getting used include Glyrideidai, Erythrina, Jatropha carcas, West Indian jasmine, and Casuarina equisetifolia. If the support selected may be a legume, it’ll be able to enrich the soil also. The expansion of live standards is to be adjusted to make them branch at a height of 120 to 150 cm, to facilitate training of the vines around the branching shoots. The standards are planted at a spacing of 2.5 to three meters between rows and two meters between rows and two meters within the row making a population of 1600 to 2000 trees per hectare. After the rainy season started, it should be at least 6 months before planting vanilla cuttings and then you can use limb cuttings for planting supports. Vanilla Farming

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Time to plant

Vanilla is usually planted at a time when the weather isn’t too rainy or too dry. For vanilla cultivation the months of August-September are ideal. After removing three or four basal leaves, cuttings for planting should be collected beforehand, and dipped in one percent Bordeaux mixture, and kept in shade to lose moisture for a few weeks. Since the establishment of cuttings is nearly cent percent, planting of single cutting per support is enough. Vanilla Farming

The defoliated part of the vine is laid on the loose soil surface and covered with a skinny layer of about two to 3 cm soil. The basal tip of the cutting should be kept just above the soil to stop rotting. The end that is growing is gently tied to the support for climbing by the aerial roots. Vanilla Farming

The cuttings are being shaded with tall dry grass, palm fronds, and all other suitable materials. In dry soil, a lightweight sprinkling of water helps for the early establishment of cuttings. It takes about four to eight weeks for the cuttings to strike roots and to indicate initial signs of growth. Vanilla can even be planted as an intercrop in coconut and areca nut plantations. Vanilla Farming

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Maintenance of Plantation

Once established, the vines need to be given constant attention. The plantation ought to be visited frequently to coach the vines to grow at a convenient level, to manage the growth of the vines and also the supports, to observe for disease and pests, and to always keep leaf mulch around the vines. Any operation done in the plantation mustn’t disturb the roots, which are chiefly confined to the mulch and surface layer of soil. In vanilla plantations given living supports, adjusting the shading is connected with correct pruning of the supports, a task, which needs care and attention. In the first year, it’s enough to prune the lateral branches therefore as to obtain a sufficiently high single trunk. Additionally to growth in height is then prevented by topping the tree, which encourages the formation of a canopy however still provides light-weight shade. Leucaena leucocephala is extremely well suited to the current approach because the pruning that is left at the bottom of the tree provides the soil with nitrogen-rich organic matter. With vanilla, the shading provided by the living support is usually inadequate. It will be supplemented by planting a spread of shade trees, for example, Albizia lebbeck and tree edulis. Vanilla Farming

As support trees grow, they are pruned early to induce branching. It is desirable to develop an umbrella shape so that the trees provide better shade and protection for the growing vines. When the trees are not dropping leaves, they are pruned before the onset of heavy rains to allow more sunlight. The pruned vegetation is cut and introduced into the plantation as mulch. The way the vine is treated has an impact on flower production. If the vine is allowed to grow into a tree, it will seldom bloom as it grows upwards. The branch of the supports and then wrapped around them. Alternatively, two bamboo columns can be tied to two adjacent support trees and used to train the vines. Bend and induce flower production in this part of the vine. Vanilla Farming

This was all about vanilla cultivation. In this we saw, what vanilla is, its importance, health benefits, and how to grow it. Vanilla Farming