In this post I share all about the herb patchouli. Not only is this plant a pretty one to grow in your home garden there are many things you can do with the harvest.
This video is part of my Bren Haas Channel on Youtube.
The patchouli plant is a tropical plant with a woodsy fragrance I just love to enjoy. Humid and partly shade environment is what the plant thrives in but will drop leaves in cool temperatures. Indonesia, Malaysia and China is where the plant has been cultivated for centuries. These countries use the harvest for perfume, aphrodisiac and moth repellent. Patchouli leaves can be packed in fabric and with woven items to protect from insect damage. The scent lasts for months after being harvest. They say the scent of the harvest leaves will improve with age but I think it smells the same over time. The plant is a member of the mint family but doesn’t grow as hardy in my home garden.
There are many different species of patchouli. Pogostemon cablin is the most common or ‘true’ patchouli. This plant can be glossy with a olive green egg shaped leaf with tooth edges. Patchouli has always been linked with romance, so it is often an ingredient in love potions and mixtures for a romantic evening.
Where to Grow Patchouli
The home gardener must grow this temperature sensitive perennial as an annual, or plan to bring it into a warm greenhouse or home before the temperatures drop into the upper 40’s. It prefers temperatures above 65 degrees F. Patchouli will grow best in slightly moist, very rich soils. Continual fertilization will provide large, healthy leaves and good growth. The plant does not like super hot summers in my area therefore I recommend growing it in a container. When in a container the plant can be moved to a shade area to protect from direct hot sun. You will notice a flower that should be pinched back.
How To Dry The Harvest Patchouli Leaves
It is super easy to dry the leaves to be used as an incense or potpourri. Basically harvest the large leaves and spread them on a screen. Be sure the leaves are well ventilated and not in direct sunlight. The leaves usually take 1-2 weeks to dry in these conditions. Once they are dry you can store them in a dry dark location or use in potpourri recipes. Ground leaves are great for incense.
Patchouli Incense Recipe
Below is a really simple recipe I found online to make your own patchouli incense. The basic incense recipe can be used for many other herbs so don’t be shy and get creative! Some other herbs to try include: Bay leaves, juniper berries, lemon balm, lovage, rosemary, sage, santolina, southernwood, marjoram, thyme, frankincense, myrrh, tansy, scented geraniums, mints, or basils. You will need the following ingredients:
- Patchouli leaves
- rose petals
- orris root (helps preserve fragrance if not used immediately)
- gum benzoin (helps bind ingredients together and adds an uplifting fragrance)
- Thoroughly mash ¼ c. fresh patchouli leaves
- In a mortar & pestle add ¼ c. rose petals and continue mashing and mixing until mixture forms a paste.
- Add 1 T. powdered orris root and 1 T. powdered gum benzoin.
- Mix thoroughly, adding a few drops of rosewater or distilled water if needed to form a paste. Shape into “pennies” or small cones with a base the size of a dime and 1” tall. Place on waxed paper and allow to completely dry, turning occasionally. This will take 4-5 days. If a stronger fragrance is desired, essential oil of patchouli can replace rosewater or distilled water. Patchouli incense has the reputation of enhancing romance.
I want to personally thank you for checking out my blog today and I hope you will comment. Experiment with herbs in your home garden can be rewarding along with a learning experience. I know I will be wintering my plant over again this year now that I know a few new facts about the herb.