Vanilla Farming In India: What, Why & How?

Vanilla Farming In India: What, Why & How?

Climate information for Vanilla Farming.
Vanilla is a tropical crop. It requires high humidity and an optimum temperature range of 20 to 34 degree Celsius. It requires partial shade for its growth. The average rainfall required for Vanilla cultivation is 2000 to 3000 mm.

In India, vanilla cultivation is widely practiced in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu and areas near the equator.

Soil required for Vanilla Farming.

Vanilla grows well in light soils. Best growth is observed in soils of loamy texture with high organic matter content and proper drainage. The pH of the soil should be between 6 to 7.5.

Vanilla crops cannot tolerate waterlogged conditions.

Vanilla Farming

Recommended sowing dates for Vanilla Farming.

Vanilla cuttings and mostly planted in the month of August to September.

Land preparation for Vanilla Farming.

The land must be ploughed two to three times to obtain a fine tilth. Along with ploughing, the organic matter must be incorporated into the soil to increase its fertility. Proper drainage channels should be prepared in the field to avoid waterlogging. Pits of dimension 30cm× 30cm×30cm are dug in the field to incorporate cuttings. To supplement vine growth, supporting structures must be staked in the field.

Vanilla Farming

Sowing methods and tips for Vanilla Farming.

Vanilla can be propagated by vegetative propagation through cuttings or by seeds. Commercially Vanilla is cultivated through cuttings. Vanilla cultivation is mostly practiced in a greenhouse to provide the required shade and humidity. To plant cuttings, a cutting having 8 to 10 internodes should be selected. The cuttings are placed in a rooting medium to enhance root initiation. The roots emerge within 1 to 2 months. Since Vanilla grows as a vine, supporting structures such as iron or PVC pipes, wooden sticks or bamboo may need to be staked in the field to promote and supplement its growth. Vines can also be trained with the help of GI wires.

Plant the cuttings near the support at a depth of 15-20cm and cover it with a thin layer of soil.

Irrigation requirement for Vanilla Farming.

The critical stages of vanilla are flowering and pod filling. Irrigation should be given at the flowering stage to allow profuse flowering. During the initial years of vanilla cultivation, the seedlings must be watered regularly at an interval of 2 days. Irrigation with sprinkler systems and drip irrigation is found to increase yield, as chances of waterlogging are less.

Fertilizer requirement for Vanilla Farming.

To maintain the fertility of the soil, organic manure such as farmyard manure and vermicompost should be applied in the field. The recommended dose of NPK is 60:30:60 grams per vine. Nitrogen application must be done in split doses.

A minimum of 40-gram nitrogen and maximum of 60 gram of Nitrogen should be applied per wine. Similarly, minimum 20gram Phosphorus and maximum 30gram Phosphorus must be applied to each vine. For Potassium a minimum of 60gram and maximum 100 gram should be applied per vine.

Vanilla Farming

Seed requirement for Vanilla Farming.

In case of propagation by cuttings, about 2000-3000 cuttings are required per hectare when one cutting is placed per hill.

Seed Treatment for Vanilla Farming.

The cuttings selected for planting must be dipped in 1% Bordeaux mixture along with rooting medium.

Best seed varieties for Vanilla Farming.

  • Vanilla planifolia- the flowers are greenish-yellow in color. It produces parts of length 15 to 20 cm.
  • Madagascar vanilla- this variety has a strong flavor and the pods are dark in colour.
  • Tonga vanilla- this variety has a delicate flavor which is compatible with savoury foods.
  • Tahitian vanilla- this Vanilla has a strong flavor. It is widely used for confectionery products.
Vanilla Farming

Best cultivation practices for Vanilla Farming.

  • Intercropping of vanilla can be practiced with coconut and Arecanut cultivation.
  • The field must be mulched to prevent moisture loss and also control weeds.
  • The vine growth is limited to 150 cm in order to facilitate artificial pollination. This is done by calling the vines around the supporting structures.
  • Artificial pollination is carried out in Vanilla from 6 am to 12 noon to ensure fruit set.
  • To control white grub infestation the soil must be drenched with Chloropyriphos @ 0.05%.
  • The crops can be sprayed with 0.1% malathion solution to control.
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