How to Grow Patchouli
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: Dan Martella
Posted: Before April 1998

Last year I bought some patchouli seed from you, and soon it will be ready to be planted in my garden. I need to know how tall this stuff gets. How far apart do I plant them? In sun or shade? Will this stuff winter over? I live in Orem, Utah, which is one hour’s drive south of Salt Lake City. The summer climate is hot and dry – 90 F during the day. Anything special I need to know about raising patchouli in my area?

Patchouli (Pogostemon patchouli) is a tender perennial. We do not have zone ratings, but we would guess that it is only hardy in zones 10 or warmer where frosts are rare. It does not perform well when the temperature dips below 15 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit). It prefers rich moist soil with high humidity. We have success growing it in full sun in our greenhouses but it may also do well in partial shade. In tropical areas where the plant is cultivated commercially, they are spaced 60 cm to 100 cm apart. They reach heights of 40 to 80 cm. In areas with hot, dry summers, patchouli will benefit from frequent watering. Use a sprinkler or misting nozzle to increase the humidity as much as possible. If you grow it outdoors in summer, a dressing of well- rotted manure or application of liquid fish fertilizer will be helpful. When the temperatures begin to drop in fall patchouli will shed its leaves. It is necessary to move it indoors in a bright sunny window. Or, you can take stem cuttings and start new plants.

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