Aromatic Plants

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)


  • The essential oil obtained from the roots of vetiver is widely used in soft drinks, chewing tobacco, pan masala, soaps, perfume and cosmetic preparations.
  • The roots are woven into mats, hand fans and are also used in air coolers. Vetiver is planted in sloppy areas to prevent soil erosion.
  • Vetiver grows to a height of 2 meters and can be cultivated throughout Andhra Pradesh either as a reinfed or irrigated crop in a woide varieties of soils including light, poor and marginal soils alkaline (PH 9 - 10) soils, wastelands and temporarily waterlogged soils.


  • There are two varieties namely, North Indian and South Indian.
  • The oil obtained from North Indian Variety commands higher price, while the South Indian variety gives higher yiel;d of oil.
  • Dharini, Gulabi, Keshari and Sugandha ar eimproved varieties of North Indian type.


  • Vetiver is generally multiplied by rooted slips obtained from the old plants. Though the crop produces seeds in North India, propagation through seeds is nor practiced.
  • The land is cleared and deep tilling is given soon after rains. 5 tonnes of farm yard manure, 200 kg of single siuperphosphate and 50 kg of muriate of potash are applied basally for one hectare.
  • 15 - 20 cm long rooted slips and planted during rainy season in planting holes made at a distance of 45 cm between rows and 30 cm within the rows (74000 slips/ha).
  • In areas with irrigation facilities, the crop is irrigated 2 - 3 times in a month during non - rainy periods.

Interculture - Fertilizers

  • The field is kept weed free intil the plants cover interspaces.
  • Once the plants develop full canopy they smother other plants and effectively check weed growth. For obtaining high yields, the field is fertilized with 130 kg urea per hectare in 3 - 4 equal splits.
  • Zinc sulphate, micronutrients and growth regulators may be apoplied for increasing yields. In South India, vetiver is not affected by pests or disease.

Harvesting - Profits

  • In North India, where no systematic cultivation of vetiver is practiced, only the wild plants are harvested.
  • In South India, vetiver are harvested 15 - 18 months after plznting to get a high yield of good quality oil. The above ground herb is first cut and the cield is copiously irrigated.
  • The field is then ploughed as deep as possible and all the roots including the small rootlets are collected. In heavy soils, the roots are dug out.
  • Depending on climate, management and age of the crop, vetiver gives 20 - 30 kg of oil and Rs. 20,000 - 30,000 profit per hectare.


  • The oil is extracted from the roots of vetiver by steam distillation. Freshly harvested or dried roots (even after 1 - 2 months are cut into small pieces, soaked in water for 12 - 20 hours, as described in plamarosa. The roots are distilled for 16-24 hours and the oil is separated from water. The recovery of oil ranges from 0.3 - 0.6 per cent in North Indian to 0.6 - 1.0 per cent in South Indian Varieties.