One of the more unusual herbs shown at the MSHS Educational Display at the Minnesota State Fair is patchouli, a tender perennial that is often used in perfumes and is grown for its fragrant leaves. It is often associated with incenses of the 1960s and its hippie roots.
Patchouli (Pogostemon heyneanus) is a member of the huge mint family. It’s a native of Asia. In its native climate, the plant might grow as large as 3 feet, but in Minnesota, it will not likely top 1 foot in height. The leaves are textural and have a fragrance that’s been described as “spicy” or “earthy.” It’s often used in perfume mixes with other herbs. It’s also used in soaps and lotions and is said to help with dry skin. Patchouli incenses and essential oils are used in aroma-therapy to relieve tension and anxiety.
It’s a mint, so patchouli is relatively easy to grow. It likes a lot of light, so it may get leggy, if grown indoors over the winter. It will not survive outdoors.
Have you had any luck growing patchouli?