DESCRIPTION

Chrysopogon zizanioides, commonly known as vetiver (derived from the Tamil) is a perennial bunchgrass of the Poaceae family, native to India. In western and northern India, it is popularly known as khus.Vetiver is most closely related to Sorghum but shares many morphological characteristics with other fragrant grasses, such as lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), citronella (Cymbopogon nardus, C. winterianus), and palmarosa

HOW TO GROW

  1. Cover vetiver roots with 2-3 cm of soil and compact the soil firmly.
  2. Vetiver grass is propagated by root divisions or ‘slips’, which are planted at a distance of about 15 cm to ensure a close hedge during its first year.
  3. Slips should be planted in wet soil or irrigated well immediately after planting.

PLANT CARE 

Cover vetiver roots with 2-3 cm of soil and compact the soil firmly..

  • Vetiver grass is propagated by root divisions or ‘slips’, which are planted at a distance of about 15 cm to ensure a close hedge during its first year.
  • Slips should be planted in wet soil or irrigated well immediately after planting.
  • Water every second day until established.
  • Fertilise with a complete organic fertiliser at the time of planting; fertilise every year after planting early and again late in the summer.
  • Trimming the tops of the young plants stimulates early tillering and the hedge will close up faster.

PESTS/DISEASES

  • Vetivergrass is relatively pest-free and is resistant to root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.). However, it is susceptible to attack by certain insects and diseases. Insects: Stem borers (Chilo spp.) can attack vetivergrass. Stem borers are also a problem on corn, rice, and sugar cane in Asia and throughout east and southern Africa. This may actually be a potential use for vetivergrass. The stem borer moth (Chilo partellus) appears to prefer vetivergrass for oviposition but larval survival on vetivergrass is quite low. Thus, vetivergrass has the potential as a trap crop to concentrate oviposition away from the cash crop and reduce subsequent stem borer population development. In certain areas, termites will attack dead or dying parts of vetivergrass. The “hills” created by serious attacks can smother living plants. Diseases: Vetivergrass is susceptible to the leaf blight caused by Curvularia trifolii.

HEALTH 

  • The essential oil derived from Vetiver Grass is applied topically to the scalp to kill lice. The herbal oil is also used on the skin to repel insects and<strong> protect the body from mosquito bites.
  • Many also apply Vetiver Grass oil to the skin for reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Vetiver Grass is a popular choice among tribal women to start their periods. The herb is also used to terminate an unplanned pregnancy as taking the herb by mouth leads to miscarriage.
  • Vetiver Grass oil is extensively used in aromatherapy. The oil is inhaled to solve the following health related complaints joint pain, muscle pain and insomnia.