Vetiver is one of our favorite essential oils. (We’ve used it in a number of our Recipes and Blending Guides in the Inner Sanctum Library.) In a blend, it offers a deep, rich, earthy tone. Therapeutically, it also has great anti-inflammatory and grounding properties.
It’s always an incredible experience to get to know the plants of the oils we love so dear. Being a member of the Grass Family, Vetiver is pretty easy to grow here in Florida, so I have enjoyed growing it, harvesting it, and sharing it with friends!
My first harvest was a couple of years ago, yielding one little ball, which we gave to Timothy Miller when we met him for lunch in January of 2017. We told him it was to help bring him back to Florida soon, and it worked! He ended up teaching a class here that October.
I replanted the stalks from that harvest, and they produced three giant plants, so I began digging up around them. I’ve seen videos of a much larger Vetiver production, where they used a tractor to chain off a 10-foot wide plant and lift it after a six-foot hole had been dug around the roots. My smaller, three-foot plants were difficult enough. Next time, I’m putting the roots in a pipe, so that I can retrieve the roots more easily.
My friend Rehne in LA got me started on growing Vetiver by sending me some of my first stalks. Rehne plants her Vetiver in a 12-inch galvanized pipe that’s been cut and put back together—placing it partially in the ground. With this method, harvest is easy. Pull out the pipe, open it, and voila!
Where are those pipes when I need them? At least I know now and will try that this year.
Now, harvesting is quite the experience. The smell of the Vetiver is instant—as soon as the shovel hits the soil. The sound of breaking roots was inevitable, and as I dug deeper, the roots revealed themselves.
Once the roots are washed, they are white and plump, and they smell of earth. This smell permeated my porch for the next week.
Once trimmed of their leaves, I cut the roots off. Then I began to separate them into stems with a bit of root for replanting. Once the roots were free, they got several soakings, power squirts, and more soaking to clean them of dirt. Drying overnight, they easily dropped the dry sand the more I cleaned the stalks. I separated the rootless and now they’re ready to replant—this time in pipes. It was a messy job separating the stalks; once done, I gave the roots a final trim and collected a few small pieces that I can use for incense!
I made one ball for a friend, a tradition we started with the first harvest last year. Tried to do another, but I may end up weaving these fibers to make a fragrant basket! Perhaps with a bit of Lavender?
Have you ever grown Vetiver? If so, what did you do with it? Leave us a comment below!
If you’d like to grow your own, I have plenty to share! Contact me and I’ll send you one while they last.