Patchouli
Pogostemon cablin

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pogostemon (po-go-STEE-mon) (Info)
Species: cablin (CAB-lin) (Info)
Synonym:Pogostemon patchouly
Synonym:Mentha cablin
Synonym:Pogostemon patchouli

Category:

Herbs

Perennials

Height:

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Danger:

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Aromatic

Other details:

Flowers are fragrant

This plant is suitable for growing indoors

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Midland City, Alabama

Fairbanks, Alaska

Albany, California

Clayton, California

Fresno, California

Los Angeles, California

Sacramento, California

Stockton, California

Van Nuys, California

Brooksville, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Naples, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Seminole, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Woodlawn, Illinois

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Slaughter, Louisiana

Columbia, Maryland

Centertown, Missouri

Helena, Montana

Campton, New Hampshire

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Moyock, North Carolina

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

Hummelstown, Pennsylvania

Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

New Castle, Pennsylvania

Johns Island, South Carolina

Moncks Corner, South Carolina

Austin, Texas (3 reports)

Bedford, Texas

Conroe, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Deer Park, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Houston, Texas (3 reports)

San Antonio, Texas

Volga, West Virginia

Wild Rose, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

25
positives
4
neutrals
2
negatives
RatingContent
Neutral

On May 29, 2013, patience1977 from North Corbin, KY wrote:

Has anyone had luck growing this plant in zone 6b I believe it is? I live in S.E. Ky and am interested in growing patchouli plants. I would love to be able to actually set it out in the ground but I am realistic that it would need to be potted in order to survive. I was just curious if anyone had had any luck. Thank you before hand.

Negative

On Mar 2, 2013, Anna_Falactique from Albany, OR wrote:

I am a passionate gardener and rarely have I met a plant I didn't like...well maybe not ragweed...poison ivy...ahem. Anyway. My purpose in commenting is cautionary...apparently, patchouli is a plant which earned its association with death the old-fashioned way---by killing people. And not very nicely, either...patchouli is so highly allergenic to a significant percentage of people that ingesting, physically contacting or breathing the scent molecules into their lungs causes a sudden tightening of the airways that can be so severe and last so long that the person is literally strangled to death from the inside out.

It's called an anaphalactic allergic reaction and even in this day of modern medical miracles, people can and do die this way with appalling frequency --- som... read more

Positive

On Mar 31, 2011, Lilithu from Springfield, TN wrote:

I finally bought some Patchouli seeds (true Patchouli - from Horizon Herbs) & have sown them today. Can't wait to see what happens!

Neutral

On Jan 2, 2010, savagefrog from sydney
Australia wrote:

I bought 2 small patchouli plants at a nursery 6 weeks ago. One I planted in the garden in compact clay soil, with afternoon sun. The other I put in a 12inch plastic pot with wetting gel and rich potting mix, with morning sun. The plant in the pot is growing rapidly it is about 4 times the size of the other one. The plant in the garden has grown very slowly but is just beginning to spread. Both have yellow patches on their leaves. Does anyone know what might be causing this?

Positive

On Jul 7, 2009, frankyrydell from Campton, NH wrote:

I have had my mother patchouli plant for about 2 years. I have propagated the mother 10+ times. Propagated her children 3+ times each. The mother was looking ill for a while but came back to full beauty shortly after giving her a break. I kept about 12 of the clones, gave the rest away. They were all thriving and growing large and strong. For some reason, within the past month all of mine have been dying off for no reason I can think of. 3 in the last week, leaves just start dropping till there is nothing left but stems which are shriveling. Just wanted to know if anyone had any idea of why this just started happening... Guess my plan at the moment is to take as many clippings as I can before they are all gone. But then my question is, are the plants too weak and produce unhealthy offsprin... read more

Neutral

On Sep 27, 2008, Nurafey from Polk City, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I'm in the patchouli fanclub, so I hunted down and bought one. (Online, can't find any local)

As I live in Central Alaska, it's an indoor plant. Spent the summer in a partial sun/shade window did... okayish.

Now that there isn't sun 20 hours a day, it's... looking sad. Leaves grow, drop off, more grow, drop off. :(

I neither underwater nor drowned it. I have daylight spectrum lights inside as well as it sitting on the windowsill.

Not really sure what I can do to make it happy. :/

This particular plant has never had very much smell at all. If I take a good-sized leaf and rub it in my hand, I can very very faintly get a hint of the well known fragrance.

Not sure if I should get more plants...... read more

Neutral

On Jul 7, 2008, Katja144 from Royal Oak, MI wrote:

I had one of these back in college....it was really happy and deep, bright green in a pot in my dorm room with a grow light. Until I killed it with root rot. :(

I've been searching for another for several years now and finally found one. Unfortunately this one isn't doing so well either. I took it to the "plant doctor" at my local English Gardens and he said it looked like it was being overwatered again and "don't even think about watering it" any time soon. That was about two weeks ago and it's only had a small taste of water since and has been under a grow light for the past couple of days and it's looking worse, if anything! I don't know if it's got too much water or not enough at this point. I guess I just am not good at keeping patchouli alive (my other plants ar... read more

Positive

On Jul 14, 2006, TxTurqoize from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I've had my patchouli plant for about a year and a half...and it seems to be flourishing...even blooming for me last year. When the summer really heats up here in Central Texas, alot of the leaves start to look wilty and yellow, even tho I water it about every 2 days....so THAT part is a bit frustrating. But I also wear patchouli oil, have for 25 years...and this plant is just wonderful to have on the porch. :)

Positive

On Jun 29, 2006, Suze_ from (Zone 7b) wrote:

I like this plant for the aromatic properties -- just break off some fresh leaves and put in a potpourri simmer pot to give the house a lovely smell. Won't take even mild freezes well. In the winter, I put it on my south porch and bring it indoors at night for the small handful of freezes we get here.

Positive

On Jun 4, 2006, turtlelvr2 from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I live in Jacksonville, Fl and have had good fortune with my patchouli plant. Last year it gave me quite a scare, not knowing too much about it, I put it in the greenhouse with the rest of my plants and it turned yellow and spindley and I thought I had lost it. But when I took the plants out after the cold, I just put that one aside and thought I'd deal with it later. Well, in about 3 weeks, the leaves had fallen off and new ones were coming in. Now it's the most gorgeous plant! I couldn't believe it. It's bushed out, lush green -huge- leaves and of course the fragrance is just short of heaven. I'm looking to propogate it and would love any suggestions.

Positive

On Apr 23, 2006, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I kep one patchouli plant for a season or two and in my desire to put everything into the ground that I could and give up the bother of having potted plants, I put it in my herb garden. It didn't survive our north Florida winter which has a few nights of freezing temperatures each year.

I got another patchouli in a 4" pot during a north Florida DGer's nursery tour last summer. This plant is now about 24 inches tall and about to flower. I overwintered in my greenhouse.

The plant is easy to propagate by stem cuttings -- easy enough that bothering with collecting and growing the seed (if any) would never occur to me.

A friend of mine grows her own herbs for homemade soaps and lotions. She has described to me the process for distilling the essen... read more

Positive

On Apr 22, 2006, ElysianFields from Arcadia, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have been searching for a Patchouli plant for a few months; against my better judgement I even consider buying one online. I finally found a nursery about an hour from me that had one and picked it up. I have been wearing patchouli oil as a perfume for years; I can't believe how lovely this plant smells! I harvested some of the dried seeds that were on the plant and have just this evening set them and put them in my greenhouse. I am anxious to see how they do. I just joined this forum after reading comments for a few months on several varieties of plants and an looking forward to seeing more posts on this particular one.

Positive

On Apr 10, 2006, ladygold from Houston, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I grew this last year in an Earth Box. It was very happy but I didn't get it out and in the house fast enough when we had a cold snap. This year I'm getting a bigger plant which I'll leave in its pot in the ground so I can bring it in more easily. Seems like the Earth Box kept it properly watered and I avoided many of the problems mentioned about watering.

BTW - I didn't hear about Dave's issues with the Earth Box folks until I had already bought two. I've joined the boycott now.

Positive

On Jul 31, 2005, iluvperennials from Mount Joy, PA wrote:

Mount, Pennsylvania...grew one outside. It is now seeding and doing quite nicely...18" around. It's planted on the south side of the house and shaded by some tall trees; therefore, it gets direct sunlight from about 1 - 4 p.m. but shaded most of the morning. I do nothing special with watering unless it hasn't rained for awhile...then I water once or twice a week for about 1 minute. I hope to propagate the root into 4 plants and bring it inside for the winter. As far as I know, this plant is indeed a perennial.

As far as the one negative comment goes, patchouli is a rich earthy fragrance from my day in the 60's and 70's. I still wear the oil and love this aroma. I'm happy to share any growing tidbits with anyone...just write.

Positive

On Jul 3, 2005, jadewolf from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I was given a rooted cutting of patchouli by a friend. At the time, it was just one tall stalk with a pair of leaves at the top (which promptly fell off two days later). Kept watering it and gave it a little fertilizer, but nothing happened still. Six months later, when the rains started up steadily, it sprang back to life and put out new branches and leaves everywhere. Now it's one of my most prolific plants and seems to survive all sorts of crazy near-disasters! It's very attractive and always impresses people with its fragrance... And now the garden smells like dirty hippies! ;)

Negative

On Jul 2, 2005, chicochi3 from Fayetteville, AR (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant was sold to me as a perennial which I later found out it is not in this area. It doesn't matter. Nothing I do with it makes it happy. Leaves keep turning brown and falling off. Indoors, outdoors, this plant is not happy. I'll keep watering it until it either dies off completely or comes back. Other than that, I can't be bothered with it.

Positive

On Jun 5, 2005, mike3k from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 11) wrote:

I've had one growing in my garden for several years now. It spread like crazy and I've had to cut it back a few times. It got torn up by hurricane Wilma last year but it came back in full force. I've tried to root the pieces I cut off when I trim it, but I've never been able to get any to root. It's flowering right now, so I'll try to collect the seeds.

Positive

On Jun 3, 2005, erthmother from Midland City, AL wrote:

This is one of my favorite plants due to it's earthy scent. Just rub your hands across the leaves.. umm.
I grow it in pots that I place under some pecan tree shade in the summer and inside during the winter months.
I have rooted cuttings in water and soil.. both with same amount of ease. Do Keep moist.. or the plant will not survive.
Place next to rosemary for a super delight to your senses.

Positive

On Mar 27, 2005, cetude from Winter Haven, FL wrote:

I live in florida, and I had mine for several years now. I have a really huge pot and it looks like a huge shrub about 3 to 4 feet high. I'm sure if I put it in a larger pot it will grow taller.

You MUST water this plant almost daily, but not soggy. It's a heavy drinker. It will quickly die if you neglect watering it.

I completely enjoy this plant. The scent is fabulous. You can make sachets from dried leaves; the dried leaves actually smell better than fresh ones!

I keep mine outdoors. During winter I store it in the garage and let it have sun when it's not freezing outside. Mine tolerates cold weather just fine--but *NEVER* freezing.

I'm going to try propagation via cut stems, although I did see some seeds sprout before. It ... read more

Positive

On Jun 17, 2004, Dobe from Fresno, CA wrote:

I got a patchouli plant today, it is really fragrant and is nice. Propogation is by cutting off a part, and soaking it in water till it has roots, or dip it in rooting hormone. The plant I got has six in one pot and need to be thinned out.

Positive

On Jun 8, 2004, pegswood from Allen, MI wrote:

I came to this site via a search engine to find information specifically on patchouli. I recently purchased a plant at Home Depot being sold as a perenial herb. I love the fragrance....it reminds me of my days in Ann Arbor. Mine is planted in a southern facing outdoor herb garden and after one week is doing very well. I have learned here it will not take the Michigan winters, so I will bring it indoors.

Positive

On May 19, 2004, dineacem from Keokuk, IA wrote:

I grew this plant indoors in North Carolina. Elizabeth City. It bloomed beautifully and I only watered it thoroughly once a weak. Kept near a very sunlit window. It lived for 2 years before i moved south to Puerto Rico and planted it outdoors.

Positive

On Feb 21, 2004, deekayn from Tweed Coast
Australia wrote:

As an aromatherapist, I have grown this plant as a demonstration to students that most of the essential oil comes from the dried leaves and not the flowers.

Living in the sub-tropicals, my plant has taken over a corner of my herb garden, and has been sucessful in wiping out some of my precious herbs.

The essential oil from this plant is highly prized and improves with ages, just like a good red wine.

Positive

On Sep 18, 2003, MotherNatureCA from Van Nuys, CA wrote:

I am in Southern California where temperatures stay over 100 degrees in July and August. I planted four 4inch pots of Patchouli in different parts of my garden in early summer. Two get full sun most of the day, and two get partial sun morning only. All of them are thriving, they get watered more in hot weather, but I use a lot of mulch to smother weeds, and promote tilth. I love the smell of this plant and can hardly wait to see how it blooms. Oh... I think it likes acid soil.

Positive

On Sep 9, 2003, discmann wrote:

These have grown very well for me so far this year in the Washington, DC (U.S.) area. I have propagated a few from cuttings and they have grown quite quickly and stoutly.

I am trying to figure out what soil pH this plant would prefer. i may just experiment and find a good one. Since several of my plants need a more acidic soil that will probably be the first test. Hasn't bloomed yet, but waiting for that to happen too.

Positive

On Sep 6, 2003, squashman from Elizabethtown, PA wrote:

I found a small plant while looking at herbs at a local nursery (it may have been Wal-mart believe it or not).I bought it and planted it in an olive oil can...punched holes in the bottom..and it's been on my porch all summer...southern exposure. I brought it in tonight because I want to keep the plant and I'm hoping it will continue to grow indoors this winter. I found this site while looking for information on patchouli.I've learned alot about it already...now I know why some of the leaves are turning yellow, but I'm encouraged that I can keep this plant going and maybe can help it to flower. p.s...I live in Elizabethtown, Pa.

Positive

On Jul 31, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I too live in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, and bought my one plant at a gardening fair from an herb plant specialist, and he said to grow it in a pot here. The plant has gotten two feet taller in one summer and now needs repotting. It grew very bushy without pinching or any real care other than frequent watering and occasional fertilizing. I noticed it really doesn't like to get dry--the lower leaves will turn brown.

I will keep it in a greenhouse this winter, and will try to take tip cuttings next summer, or grow from seeds, if I ever get any. It's really a very attractive plant, and of course has an ancient history as a perfume plant, which makes it very interesting to me.

Positive

On Jul 30, 2003, dolphinios wrote:

I am in North Florida and have one plant in a pot growing in filtered sun. It is doing very well and needs to be repotted to a larger pot. The one I had last year flowered but died because it was in direct sunlight. It smells great and is very bushy. I thought about planting it in the ground but see here that it would not survive the winter.

Positive

On Jun 25, 2003, dremingrl from Seminole, FL wrote:

This is a wonderful plant. I grew mine in Florida in a large pot, from a baby plant and I am happy to hear that it can be grown from the seeds. It seems to always have the buds on it and every now and then it flowers. It has absolutely gorgeous leaves with beautiful purple undersides. This plant has a deep earthy scent that I find heavenly. As for the previous author, You have to grow one to see why they are so enchanting.

Positive

On Jun 13, 2003, ImpulseGuy from Albuquerque, NM wrote:

I have successfully grown patchouli from seed every year in New Mexico. It is a joy to tend though I have yet to have any plants flower. Each year I try slightly new conditions in an attempt to promote flowering. I keep the plants sheltered from the intense direct sun here, but they thrive on the ample light and regular but not excessive waterings. They do not seem to be susceptible to any bugs or diseases that I have noted. I germinate them in a 6 inch pot broadcast with seed slightly covered with damp soil. I cover the pot with plastic wrap with holes and keep it under grow light for slight warmth. Eventually a practically microscopic carpet of green will appear. One marvel is how the miniscule seedlings and their imperceptible growth rate seem, at some point, to simply explode with grow... read more

Positive

On Mar 4, 2003, mnr200 wrote:

I live in Wisconsin and have a patchouli plant that flowered and died in my grrenhouse becuase I under watered it. I waited till it completely dryed out and gathered the dryed seedheads and had about 20 seeds ...I lightly covered and watered and gave up on this but noticed 3 weeks later tiny plants emergings. I planted the 2 that survived last year and this year did cuttings and now am up to 12 plants... My greenhouse tempuratures go from 55-110 degrees during the year and as long as you keep it watered it grows fine in a 12 inch pot...