Soil & Climate
Most soils with good drainage are suitable for cultivating patchouli. Water logged soils are found to be detrimental for the crop and must be avoided because they are susceptible to nematode attack. Generally humid climate with plenty of sunlight is suitable for this crop. The plant grows well as an inter crop in partial shade, but complete shade should be avoided. For good growth of the plant, temperature between 250C to 35oC is found to be ideal. Once planted, the plants give good yield of leaves for at least 3 years.
The recommended spacing is 30 cm x 30 cm under open cultivation for both drip and conventional irrigation. Number of plants accommodated would be around 30,000 per acre.
For intercropping in partial shade, 45 cm x 45 cm spacing is recommended accommodating 19,750 plants per acre.
Planting can be done at any time of the year except in hot months like April, May or October. Once planted, the plants give good yield of leaves for 3 years.
As indicated earlier, patchouli can be cultivated in two ways depending on the method of irrigation followed. Under conventional method, irrigation is to be provided at least twice a week. Water logging must be avoided. Number of irrigation per year will be around 60 (no watering during monsoon) with each irrigation lasting for 3 hours with 5 HP motor.
Under drip system of irrigation, irrigation is provided by a drip with nozzles at a distance of 45 cm from each other, which discharge at a rate of 2 litres of water/hour. Irrigation for 30 minutes per day is adequate. In hot and dry season it should be upto a maximum of 60 minutes in two installments.
Manure and Fertilizer schedule
Based on the soil fertility status, fertilizer dose has to be decided. At the time of land preparation, around 12 MT of FYM/acre is to be applied. Neem cake for control of nematodes is applied at the time of planting @ 0.4 MT/ acre. Thereafter, the fertiliser schedule decided based on soil fertility status is to be followed.
Plant Protection Measures
Other than nematodes, problems of aphids and caterpillars have been observed in patchouli which can be controlled by use of malathion or endosulphon sprays. For control of nematodes and Fusarium wilt, good drainage coupled with soil application of neem cake at the time of planting @ 0.4 MT per acre is recommended.
The plant is harvested at 6-8 nodes from the apex. It should be harvested with a sharp cutting tool. The new shoots come from the nodes and if the cutting is done too low the next harvest will be affected. Thereafter the cutting can be taken every 3 months. In rainy season, fungicides should be sprayed after harvesting. Harvested material is dried in shade.
Harvesting is preferably done during drier months.
Under conventional irrigation : 10 MT (3 cuttings) per acre p.a. Drip system of irrigation : 20 MT (3 cuttings) per acre p.a. Harvested biomass is dried under shade for 4-5 days giving 1.8 to 4.5 MT of dry biomass per acre per year. As an intercrop, 2 MT dry biomass per acre per year can be expected.