The normal growth of a patchouli plant is up to a height of 3 feet or 1 meter. Square stalks, oval leaves and barbs are its typical characteristics, and so are white to pale purple, spiral-shaped flowers. The following instructions will help you understand how to care for this plant, and its varied applications.
For plantation, choose a place which is subjected to an exposure of indirect sunlight, at most times of the day. The hole to be dug should be large enough so that it can accommodate the cutting of the plant without crowding it. After having planted the cutting, pack the soil tightly and water generously to compact it.
The cuttings must be at a distance of about 20 inches away from each other. This would allow the plants to grow properly. Alternatively, you can use seeds which you can easily avail from a local lawn or garden store. The soil type for growing a patchouli must be a well-drained loamy one.
With the help from a garden store, you can test the pH level of the soil, which should be between 5.5 to 6.2 for best results. The ideal temperature must be 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. If the outdoor temperature falls below 75 degree Fahrenheit, then it is advisable to bring the plant indoors and for this reason, it is also better to grow it in containers.
You can also keep it as a houseplant for the entire year. However, you would have to arrange for artificial lighting conditions to maintain the suitable temperature. It is also to be ensured that this variety gets eight hours of indirect sunlight everyday. Avoid the soil from getting dry and if you notice so, then water the soil generously.
During summers, the plant would be required to be watered on a daily basis, while in winters, watering once in every three or four days should be good enough. Fertilization is equally important. So, get a suitable fertilizer from a garden store, and use it as directed.
Keeping a thin layer of mulch on the soil of the garden helps conserve moisture and also prevents the build up of weeds. Caterpillars and leaf blight can affect the growth of your patchouli. In case of a leaf blight, do away with all the affected leaves and burn them. Ensure that you burn them in a place far away from the plant.
The plant bears antifungal and antibacterial properties and hence, has its uses in the treatment of digestive disorders, infections, nausea, cold, headache, and as a pain killer.
Apart from depressions, it is also used as an aphrodisiac. The oil that is extracted is used in aromatherapy and is useful as a remedy for skin problems like eczema and acne. It is also extensively used in the manufacture of perfumes and incense.