Chrysopogon Species, Khus Khus, Vetiver Root

Chrysopogon zizanioides

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Chrysopogon
Species: zizanioides (ziz-an-ee-OY-deez) (Info)
Synonym:Anatherum zizanioides
Synonym:Andropogon odoratus
Synonym:Andropogon zizanioides
Synonym:Phalaris zizanioides
Synonym:Vetiveria zizanioides




Ornamental Grasses and Bamboo

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:




36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

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)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

4.5 or below (very acidic)

4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)

over 9.1 (very alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Los Angeles, California

Merritt Island, Florida

New Orleans, Louisiana(2 reports)

Opelousas, Louisiana

Slaughter, Louisiana

Saint Louis, Missouri

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 2, 2020, 726835 from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

Planted as small "slips," the most commonly available way to purchase, in Los Angeles in September or October when it was blazing hot and dry. They did not grow. Many were brown, close to death after insufficient watering. Mild winter, respectable 14" inches of rain - they still did not do much of anything besides look less dead.

Once daytime temps started to hit the upper 70's, and with an enhanced watering schedule, they took off like racehorses. In a month, I think they grew 6 feet? They are very graceful, subtle grasses. A beautiful green color. They bend at a sharp angle once they get tall, and nod attractively in the wind.

My opinion is these are tropical climate grasses. They would be much happier in Miami, but they will perform well in Mediterranea... read more


On Aug 29, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

In addition to its many other practical uses, this long-lived, tropical, perennial bunch grass makes a very beautiful garden plant. It can be grown as an annual north of the limit of its hardiness. It grows quickly where summers are hot.

Evergreen even in semi-arid conditions, the foliage turns a lovely bronze/burgundy color in fall through winter. The habit is stiffly upright, and leaves can reach 7' tall, drooping loosely at the tips. As with many grasses, the leaf edges are sharp. For tidiness, it should be cut back hard in spring before new growth begins. (An electric hedge trimmer makes short work of this. Wear gloves and long sleeves!)

The deep roots run straight down, and so do not compete with those of neighboring plants. Rhizomes are very short, and s... read more


On Apr 24, 2015, chooglincharley from Rochester,
United States wrote:

I was wondering if there is a comparable graminoid that is hardy to zone 5?


On Dec 13, 2014, zimbaasha from Mount Pleasant, SC wrote:

I planted this grass around my pond to stop erosion. It has become one of my favorite plants - no fuss and pleasing look throughout the year.


On May 1, 2012, sadele from Sag Harbor, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have vetiver growing in a pot that I bring inside for the winter (zone 7a) and put near a south-facing window. Got it from 2-3 years ago. It's in a pot that gives it about 15" for the roots, but is probably root-bound. The crown is about 6" across; the longest blades over 7 ft tall tho bent so they're not nearing the ceiling. I keep it moist year-round. Will bring it outside this week for the season and divide and repot either into deeper pot that I can still carry and/or trim the roots. So far I haven't gotten any flowerheads -- don't know if my strain is sterile or fertile.


On Aug 1, 2010, jomoncon from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Vetiver has been used for centuries not only for erosion control, but for it's fragrant roots. The roots are harvested, dried and used for its amazing, subtle scent. I had a large pot that I harvested each fall and used the roots to scent my closet. A hint if you'll be harvesting the roots: Use a plastic pot. The roots are so tenacious that they will go into the walls of a terracotta pot. And don't be afraid to take an axe or a saw to overgrown roots. The plant will come back healthier than ever.

However, Katrina flooding destroyed my lovely vetiver, along with the rest of my garden. I really need to get some more.


On May 19, 2010, katiebear from mulege,
Mexico wrote:

I bought some of these plants from It is the only plant she sells. Some of the plants I got were already big enough to divide. They are all growing well. See the website for an incredible picture of the roots of one plant. Highly recommended for tropical or subtropical locations, especially for erosion control.


On Jul 27, 2009, isom from Mission BC,
Canada (Zone 8b) wrote:

I haven't grown this grass but would love to give it a try. I'm adding the positive note for the wonderful qualities it has. As already mentioned by careyjane, it is excellent to use for controlling soil erosion. So well known is it, that this method of holding soil from erosion & heavy rain runoff is called the Vetiver System!!

However, the reason I'd like to grow it is for its roots if wisely harvested. The roots can highly fragrant when dried & since they grow downwards, are long. In India, the roots are loosely woven into mats & hung in doorways during hot weather. Then, they're sprayed with water & the evaporation cools the room while imparting a lovely scent to the home.

The oil extracted from the roots forms the base notes to a great many expensive perf... read more


On Sep 3, 2007, careyjane from Rabat,
Morocco wrote:

This seems to be the most amazing plant: it is useful in erosion control, water purification, planting on public waste landfill sites and many other things too. Its roots are very deep -- up to 1.5m -- and it resists methane gas in dumping grounds, salty water and soil.

Being sterile, it is not invasive, but can live for 100 years in the same place, forming hedges which prevent erosion, stop topsoil and water from being lost from sloping sites. On top of that it is very attractive and takes on a burgundy red glow when in flower. With it's leaves chopped off straight across the top, it forms a zen, very architectural plant.

I am enamoured with it and hope to explore its many possibilities in the future.