Carolina vanilla - Plant
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Description for Carolina vanilla
Foliage may be cut back after flowering to form compact bushy plants which remain attractive for the remainder of the growing season without staking, however the showy seed pods will be lost if this is done. Plants usually take 3 years to establish, but are of easy culture thereafter.
Carolina Moonlight is an upright perennial (B. sphaerocarpa x B.alba) that typically grows to 3-4 foot tall. It features a spectacular spring bloom of butter yellow, lupine-like flowers in erect racemes (to 18inch) atop flower spikes extending well above the foliage mound of clover-like, trifoliate, bluish-green leaves (leaflets to 2 inch long). On species plants, spent flowers give way to inflated seed pods (to 2.5inch long) which turn charcoal black when ripe and have considerable ornamental interest. It is unknown at this time what kind of seed development will occur with the hybrid Carolina Moonlight.
Planting and care
You ll need to purchase a vanilla bean plant from a reputable grower. As a vanilla plant takes 3-5 years to bloom, it doesn t make sense to try to start a plant from seed. You can do an online search for â€œvanilla bean plantsâ€ or â€œvanilla orchids.â€ Or visit a local orchid grower, if there is one in your area.
Hopefully you were able to purchase a healthy vanilla bean plant that is 3-5 years old. Depending on its size, you ll want to transplant it into a more permanent pot.
Choose a pot that is slightly larger than the pot your plant arrived in. You can also use a pot that is up to two times the original pot size. However, try not to use a pot much larger than your vanilla bean plant.
Caring for Carolina vanilla
- You ll want to keep the top layer of the potting mix damp, however, you don t want the entire pot to be soaked. You ll also need to lightly mist the entire plant daily or every other day.
You can grow a vanilla bean plant at home. However, it won t bloom in low light conditions. If your plant doesn t bloom, it won t develop vanilla bean pods.
Typical uses of Carolina vanilla
Special features: Borders, cottage gardens, prairies and meadows. Effective in naturalized settings. Best as a specimen or in small groups.
Culinary use: na
Ornamental use: The plant is used for ornamental purpose.
Medicinal use: Unverified information This plant is extremely poisonous. The berries, when properly prepared, have been used as diuretics, antispasmodics, anodynes; and according to the U.S. Dispensatory, they have also been used in a treatment for epilepsy.
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