Guest Post by Amy Urquhart
The first time I saw a patchouli plant was at my friend Sarah/s house. She had one growing in a large, enamel pot alongside an eggplant, and I admired it right away. The leaves were a beautiful shade of jade green and it smelled heavenly. I plucked a fading one off and left it in my bag for a few days.
The smell of patchouli reminds some people of the sixties, but since I wasn’t alive during the sixties, well, that’s not the case for me. I just love how fresh and green and musky it smells.
I bought my first patchouli plant at Canada Blooms in 2006. I put it outside my kitchen door so I could rub it and smell it as I went in and out of the house, a location which proved to provide less than ideal growing conditions, however. I brought it inside through the winter, and it survived, but as the number of hours of sunlight increased, it got quite leggy. The stems root in water very easily, so in the spring after I had cut the plant back, I found myself with not one, but two leggy patchouli plants. I could have had more.
The good thing about patchouli is that if you cut it right back, it responds with lots of lush growth. So when I put them outside earlier this summer, I cut them right back. Soon small, new leaves appeared on the woody stems and now they are doing very well. They seem to like mostly sun, but will tolerate partial shade. They do well in the heat on my south-facing back deck.
This is one plant I will surely not be without. Even if it means I’ll be called a dirty hippie.