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Everything I Love About Growing And Harvesting Patchouli

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.

About Patchouli

Play Video about Patchouli Video Clip

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.

Blooms on a Patchouli Plant
Blooms of the Patchouli Plant are not as popular as the plant itself.

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

Herb Growing in Container
Patchouli Growing in a Container

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)


  1. Thoroughly mash ¼ c. fresh patchouli leaves
  2. In a mortar & pestle add  ¼ c. rose petals and continue mashing and mixing until mixture forms a paste.
  3. Add 1 T. powdered orris root and 1 T. powdered gum benzoin.
  4. 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.

Let’s Connect

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.

Happy Gardening,

Bren Haas

14 Responses

  1. Thanks Bren. Your info was very helpful. I’ll definitely be checking back for more herb growing info.

    1. Thank you for letting me know you checked this post out. I just got done setting up one of my hydroponic set ups indoors with herbs (Rosemary, Oregano, parsley and dill). I’ll have to share photos as they start to grow.

      Happy Growing!

  2. I am from Algeria, looking for patchouli seeds

    1. Try putting “home gardener seeds in Algeria’ in a search on your computer browser. I found many in your country doing this search. Good Luck – it is a wonderful plant!

  3. I have question about my patchouli plant. Sometimes the leaves look as though they’re getting tight and the edges are curving up sort of like a spoon shape they’ll either curve up or curve down it’s weird I don’t know what’s going on.

    1. Thanks for commenting John. Be sure to harvest the plant every now and then. My plant comes back with new leaves quickly after pinching off the older leaves. The harvest makes a nice dried potpourri.

  4. I’m going to make patchouli essential oil with Jojoba oil. I was going to harvest my leaves in about a month (It’s close to October 1st in the deep south, Louisiana) but now I’m thinking I’ll wait to see if it blooms and try to harvest seeds. Mine is in a container, and it got so hot here this summer, I had to water it frequently or it would wilt over. It loves to be watered. I love the smell of the leaves and the mosquitos stay away too.

    1. I’ve got to check out this Jojoba Oil. I found it on Amazon because my local stores don’t carry those products. Soap making is in my future so stay tune. Comeback and let me know how it works for you. I am going to give it a try and appreciate your feedback / recommendations.

      Happy Gardening – Bren

  5. I would love to grow this plant indoors. I have no forward facing windows and my Monstera take up positions which hog those areas anyways. What type of artificial lighting would be best for this plant while inside?

    1. As noted in the book ‘Gardening Under Lights’ which I recommend because it is alot of what I have been doing in my own garden – A traditional Incandescent bulb with be perfect for the Patchouli grown indoors. The bulb creates heat but not hot and plenty of light for indoor houseplants. I hope this helps! I’d love to hear more about your Monstera – you inspired me to get one for my indoor house garden!

  6. I have heard that patchouli pollen is poisonous and deadly, is there any truth to this, I have tried to look it up but I haven’t found and information that confirms this myth.

    1. The blooms on my patchouli plant were not showy ( tiny blooms) so I didn’t even notice any pollen. There are many plants that are poisonous or can cause sickness if you try and digest. I’ve never heard of patchouli being recommended in a diet or meal plan but rather for it’s oil and fragrance for therapeutic reasons.

  7. I had a patchouli plant that grew very well after I brought it indoors for the winter. However, it totally lost its scent! Have you had any experience with this? I’d like to know what to do differently with the new plant I just bought. Thanks.

    1. Interesting about losing the scent of patchouli. I have not experienced this. Keep me posted on your new plant’s development.

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