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Patchouli is a tropical perennial herb grown for its fragrant foliage. Its essential oils are used in perfumes and insect repellents. Grow patchouli in partial shade, and protect plants from cold temperatures. It is hardy in Zones 10-11 but can be grown as an annual in colder Zones. The plant thrives in hot, humid weather, and in midsummer it bears pale pink or white flowers.