Patchouli is a member of the mint and oregano family and is known for the fragrant oil in the leaves. Pogostemon cablin, is the most widely grown species, but P. heyeanus, known as Indian patchouli, also produces fragrant oil in a smaller quantities.
Patchouli is native to Southeast Asia and India, but has now spread around the tropical world from Madagascar to South America.
The plant forms a small bush reaching approximately 1 to 3 feet tall with a 3-to-4-foot spread. The dark green leaves are 3 inches long and scalloped on the edges. The flowers are small and insignificant.
In USDA zones 8 to 12, the patchouli plant is a perennial; treat it as an annual or houseplant in cooler climates. It can grow in light shade or full sun in a organically rich, well-draining soil. The patchouli likes to stay moist.
Patchouli grows well in containers but will not get as big as a plant grown in the ground. You can move a container-grown plant indoors for the winter and keep it on the patio in the spring and summer.
Other than the fragrance, patchouli has been used as an aphrodisiac, antiseptic and antidepressant. For landscaping, it grows well under trees and in moist conditions.
- University of Oklahoma
- Mountain Valley Growers
- Crescent Bloom
- Agrihelper Topic: Pogostemon
Pogostemon cablin, Pogostemon heyneanus, Patchouly
About this Author
Brian Albert has been in the publishing industry since 1999. He is an expert in horticulture, with a focus on aquatics and tropical plants like orchids. He has successfully run an aquatic plant business for the last five years. Albert's writing experience includes the Greater Portland Aquarium Society newsletter and politics coverage for a variety of online journals.