Aromatic Plants

Geranium (Pelargonium sp.)


  • The essential oil of geranium is extensively used in expensive soaps, perfumes and for extraction of / aromatic chemicals like geraniol and rhodinol. The crop is cultivated in Pulney and Nilgri hills of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Geranium is a perennail aromatic crop growing to a height of 60 - 90 cm. Wee drained. light. deep red soils are ideal for this crop.
  • Geranium can be cultivated as a annual or perennial irrigated crop in parts of Telangana, Araku Valley (Vizag district) and some parts of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh.


  • Geranium is propagated thrpough tooted stem cuttings. During the mnth of November, terminal stem cuttings, 10 - 15 cm long are taken from well grown, healthy plants.
  • After removing all the big leaves, the cuttings with axillary leaves and 3 - 4 terminal leaves are given a slant cut at the bottom, dipped in 0.1 % Carbendazim, then in 200 ppm IBA solution and are then planted in such a way that atleast two nodes are inside the soil. The nursery beds are watered lightly daily. The cuttings root in 40 - 60 days a
  • nd rare ready for planting. The nursery is maintained under partial shade.


  • The land is prepared to good tilth by ploughing, harrowing and planking.
  • 10 tonnes of farm yard manure, 250 kg single superphosphate and 155 kg muriate of potash per hectare are applied basally.
  • The rooted cuttings taken out from the nursery are dipped in 0.1 per cent Carbendazim and are planted in planting holes made at a spacing of 60 cm between the rwos and 45 cm between the plants (37000 cuttings / hectare) during December - Janurary months.
  • The field is irrigated on alternate days for one month, thereafter the crop is irrigated at 5 - 7 day intervals.

Interculture - Fertilizers

  • The field is kept free of weeds for the first 2 - 3 months after planting and up to one month after every harvest. During the initial phases of crop growth, short duration legumes can be intercropped profitably.
  • The geranium crop is fertilized with 30 and 45 kg urea per hectare, 30 and 90 days after planting, respectively and 75 kg urea per hectare within 45 days of each harvest.
  • In Zinc deficient soils 25 - 50 kg zinc sulphate per hectare is applied. Micronutrients and growth regulators may be sprayed for each harvest.

Plant protection

  • Wilt of geranium caused by a fungus Rhizoctonia solani or Fusarium redolens damage to the crop and yeilds.
  • The leaves of affected plants turn yellow, then black and the entire plant wilts. The roots turn black.
  • The affected plants are uprooted and destroyed. The rest of the plants are sprayed, and the soil is drenched with 0.1 per cent Benomyl solution. Waterlogging is to be avoided even for short periods. Leaf blight caused by Colletotrichum gleosporioides is controlled by Captafol 0.3 % spray.

Harvesting - Profits

  • First harvest is obtained 4 - 5 months afte planting. Subsequent harvests are taken at 3 - 4 month intervals for 3 - 4 years.
  • The tender twigs and terminal portion of the plant are harvested. The crop is sprayed with 0.1 oer cent Benomyl solution and irrigated immediately after each harvest.
  • The geranium crop gives 20 - 40 kg oil and a net profit of Rs. 60,000 - 1,20,000 per hectare per year.


  • The oil is extracted from the entire plant using a distillation unit consisting of a distillation tank, a condenser and a separator.
  • Freshly harvested grass as such or after cutting into small pieces is loaded into the distillation tank. After closing the lid tightly, steam is passed into the tank. Steam and the oil vapour condense into liquid in condenser and are collected in separator.
  • The oil is taken out, cleaned and stored either in aluminium containers or amber coloured bottles. The recovery of oil from grass ranges from 0.3 - 0.6 per cent. It takes about 4 hours for complete recovery of the oil.