Patchouli does not produce seed, so it must be propagated from stem cuttings of a mature plant. Choose to plant patchouli in soil that is fertile and in a partially sunny spot. The cuttings should be spaced at least 12 inches away from each other and the roots spread out thoroughly. Patchouli plants grow best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11, but can be grown indoors if you live in a cooler climate. Keep indoor patchouli plants in a sunny windowsill and protect them from temperatures under 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Caring for Patchouli
Your patchouli plant should be watered when the soil around it feels dry. This could be every other day in the summer months or every two or three days during the cooler months. The leaves of the patchouli plant can suffer from leaf blight, a plant fungus, if over-watered. Insects pests should not be treated with chemical-based insecticide if you’re planning to harvest the leaves. Instead, remove insect pests with a damp cloth. Patchouli plants should be fertilized once a month and surrounded by a thin layer of mulch.
Patchouli usually is cultivated with the purpose of harvesting the leaves from the plant. The leaves contain a chemical that holds essential oil. Patchouli leaves should be ready to harvest 5 to 6 months after planting. You’ll also know the plant is ready for harvest when the branches start to turn slightly brown and the plant begins to emit an aroma. It is best to remove a few branches of leaves from the top of the plant and leave the bottom branches for future harvesting. Dry the leaves for 3 to 4 months before extracting the oil.