Patchouli plants (Pogostemon patchouli) are perennial herbs that are grown for the aromatic oils made from their leaves. Patchouli plants are native to southern China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia, enjoying frost-free climates and warm environments. Patchouli plants typically grow up to 12 inches tall and wide in containers, producing leaves that grow up to 3 inches long and 1 ½ inches wide. They bloom in tiny, insignificant purplish flowers during late fall. Patchouli plants can grow from seeds, but the best way to grow the plants is from stem cuttings. Although stem cuttings often take months to root, they tend to be more successful than seed germination.
Select healthy stems on the patchouli plant that are at least 3 inches long and have one or two leaf nodes. Cut the new-growth stems in spring.
Fill a 4- to 6-inch-diameter planter pot that has drainage holes in the bottom with a rich, well-draining potting soil, such as a mixture of two parts peat moss, one part sand or perlite and one part garden soil or loam. Insert the severed end of the patchouli stem, cutting into the potting mix deep enough so that it can stand up on its own.
Set the pot with the patchouli cutting in full to partial sunlight, such as in a south-facing window. Maintain normal to warm indoor air temperatures around the patchouli plant cutting of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Water the cutting once or twice each week to keep the soil evenly moistened, providing water until it begins to drain from the bottom of the pot. Feed the patchouli plant once every two weeks while it’s actively growing with a liquid 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer at half the dosage rate that’s indicated on the label.
Reduce watering during winter after the patchouli plant is finished flowering to keep the potting mix from drying out completely. Also cut back the patchouli plant’s stems after it flowers.