Patchouli is one of the few herbs that needs partial shade. It grows well in warm to tropical climates and thrives in hot weather but not direct sunlight. Plant in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. Space plants 12-15″ apart in average to moist soil that is well-drained. Plant height 10-12″. Does well in containers or mixed pots. Attracts bees and butterflies.
Cutting back occasionally encourages branching.
Water regularly, but do not over water. Patchouli prefers evenly moist soil. For best results do not let the soil dry out between watering. If a Patchouli plant withers due to lack of watering, it will recover well and quickly after it has been watered.
The seed-bearing, white flowers are very fragrant and bloom in late fall. The tiny seeds may be harvested for planting, but they are very delicate and easily crushed. In northern states, it may be best to grow patchouli as a house plant. It does well in semi shade on a windowsill or under fluorescent lights near the ends of the tubes.
Patchouli pogostemon heyneanus
Patchouli, an annual, is certainly most admired for its aromatic properties. It is found not only in incense but also in essential oils and perfume. A good nickname for Patchouli would be ‘the hippie herb.’ Walk into any incense store and you’ll recognize the heavy, peppery aura of this plant. The herb has many mystical associations, in part because of the soothing, euphoric effect of its scent but also because it originated in the Far East and has been used in Asian medicines for centuries. It has often been listed among other so-called aphrodisiacs.
Patchouli is an insect repellent; rubbing it on the skin not only keeps away the bugs but also has a refreshing effect. Cotton balls saturated with patchouli oil and placed among stored clothing can substitute for the dried leaves when used as a moth repellent.It has been used to treat a variety of skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, hemorrhoids, and general irritation.
To harvest: allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds.