Palmarosa is a grass species that is native to India, cultivated for the aromatic oil purpose. Cymbopogon martinii var. motia, is a botanical name given to Palmarosa. Palmarosa, Citronella, and lemongrass all belong to the grass family. They have a unique smell and characteristics.
Palmarosa cultivation is picking up a lot in India. Palmarosa oil has more benefits and a lot of demand is created in the fragrance industry.
Extraction of this essential oil is done by steam distillation of grass which is harvested during flowering. In general, Palmarosa has more Geraniol contents whereas lemongrass and citronella have citral content. This oil smells like rose oil, which is how it got the name, palmarosa.
A lot of demand is present in the market for Palmarosa oil. The aromatic oil has a rose fragrance so it is used widely in soap, food and beverage industries.
Call with different names East India geranium oil, Ginger grass oil, rosha or motia. Majorly it’s grown in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in India.
Palmarosa grass characteristics
- Palmarosa is a multiyear crop, which can be used for 5 years.
- Palmarosa grows around 5 meters in height.
- During winters the Palmarosa plants get dried up, but during the rainy season again it will regrow.
- The leaves will be sharp and thin. Not as broad as lemongrass.
- The flower pods of Palmarosa will be around 30 to 40 cm. The Geraniol content will be high in flowers.
Palmarosa oil benefits
Cymbopogon martinii var. motia oil has many therapeutic uses, it is most frequently used for skincare.
- Palmarosa oil cures Bacterial Infections – external as well as internal.
- Palmarosa Oil is also considered good for the digestive system.
- Palmarosa oil has even antiseptic and antimicrobial properties.
- Used in anti-aging treatment, cell rebuilding treating minor cuts and bruises.
- Palmarosa oil can be added to coconut oil and can be dabbed gently on the skin. It will decrease the dryness of the skin and makes it much softer and smoother.
- As the Palmarosa oil is antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral properties help in reducing fever.
Cultivation of Palmarosa grass
Palmarosa grass is very easy to grow and requires low maintenance. complete guide from soil preparation to harvest is shared below:
1. Soil Selection for Palmarosa cultivation
- Soil should be porous. Water should not stagnate.
- Water retention of soil should be low, clay soil is not suitable.
- Rains should be around 150-200cm per year.
- Grows best in alkaline soil.
2. Sowing period
- Take 1kg of seeds for 1 acre i.e 2.5kg for 1 hectare.
- 1kg of seeds with the best variety costs around 3000 rupees. ($40)
- Make a raised bed to sow the seeds.
- Sow the seeds in the month of April-May.
- After 45 days of sowing, the plants would be around 15 cm in height. ( in the month of June-July)
- Transplant the plants to the mainland at a distance of 45*30 cm
- Once transplanted, water the plants to avoid drying up.
- If you are dependent on rains for the water, then sow the plants +during the rainy season. Plan accordingly.
- If you are sowing seeds directly to the mainland, then sow them during June-August.
- Around 30,000 slips required to cover 1 acre of land.
3. Irrigation for Palmarosa cultivation
- Water the plants once in 10-15 days.
- It requires a low amount of water.
- Suitable for dry areas and water shortage areas.
- It requires a lot of sunshine, and less rain around 150-200cm per year.
4. Weeding procedure in Palmarosa cultivation
- Initially after transplanting once or twice before the first harvest.
- Later weeding should be done, after every harvest.
5. Harvesting Palmarosa
- The complete crop above the ground can be used to extract the essential oil.
- The percentage of Geraniol will be high in flowers. The quality of Palmarosa oil is determined by the percentage of Geraniol.
- Harvest the crop from 10 to 15 cm above the ground. Leaving the plant to regrow.
- The first harvest is after 5months (During the flowering time before seed creation)
- Successive harvests will be after every 2.5 months for the next 5 years.
- Harvesting to be done only if you see the flowering. Geraniol content will be high during flowering.
- Before flowering and after flowering is complete, the Geraniol content will drop.
- 4-ton herbage from an acre per harvest can be expected. (4 ton/acre/harvest)
- There are 4 harvests per year.
- In total 16 ton per acre in a year.
6. Palmarosa’s Essential Oil extraction
- The extraction of this essential oil is done by steam distillation of grass.
- The distillation process should be done for 2-3 hours to extract complete Palmarosa(Cymbopogon martinii var. motia) oil.
7. Aromatic Oil Production from Palmarosa per acre
- In 1-ton herbage 4kg of essential oil can be extracted.
- So per acre in a year around 60 – 80 kg of essential Palmarosa oil can be extracted.
Palmarosa plant varieties
There are varieties of Palmarosa plant which differs in herbage quantity and Geraniol content, some are developed by research centers in India. Here are the best varieties available in the market.
|Palmarosa Varieties||Oil extracted (kg/acre/year)||Geraniol(%)|
GC report for Palmarosa Essential Oil
Gas chromatography (GC) is a common type of chromatography used in analytical chemistry for separating and analyzing compounds that can be vaporized without decomposition. There should be a peak for Geraniol, this determines the quality of Palmarosa Oil quality. The purity oil determines the rate in the market. After every oil extraction process, the GC certificate is a must for that batch, to command a better price.
Palmarosa cultivation project report
Complete details of expenditure and profit for the consecutive 3 years of Palmarosa Essential oil extraction.
|Sowing and Transplanting||4,000|
|Oil extracted||40 – 60 kg||80 – 100kg||80 – 100kg|
|Essential oil Rs 3200 /kg||1,28,000 – 1,60,000||2,56,000 – 3,20,000||2,56,000 – 3,20,000|
|Total Profit(Rs)||94,000 – 1,26,000||2,33,000 – 2,97,000||2,33,000 – 2,97,000|
Palmarosa cultivation profit on an average for consecutive 3 years is Rs 100000, Rs 250000 and Rs 270000. Farmers can earn a stable income through Palmarosa cultivation. Most of the water-scarce locations are well suited for Palmarosa cultivation. The demand for Palmarosa oil is an all-time high, as it has a long list of benefits and spread across the market. The palmarosa oil price for 1kg is ₹3200 in the open market.
Palmarosa cultivation complete information guide
Palmarosa is a perennial grass that can be harvested at 2-3 times during the first year and 3-4 times from second year onward. As this crop can be maintained for 5 years, the above-mentioned schedule starting from irrigation shall be followed for the remaining period with suitable alterations. The complete Information guide for Palmarosa cultivation is given below.
|Major activity||Month||Activity details|
|Nursery raising||April end – Mid May||Seeds mixed with sand in 1:10 ratio, sow in a raised nursery bed in lines of 3 cm deep at 10 cm apart.|
|Land preparation||May – June||1ft deep plowing & harrowing|
|Manure and fertilizer application||May – June||NPK is required. Use Natural farming practice – apply Jeevamrutham (every 15 days once)|
|Transplanting||June – July||Transplanting of healthy and established seedlings of 4-6 weeks at a spacing of 45*30cm|
|Irrigation||June – July||One irrigation immediately after transplanting and subsequent irrigation at 10-15 days interval along with water.|
|Weeding||August- September||Two weeding at 40 days after transplanting and another at 30-40 days after first weeding.|
|First harvest||October – November||Harvest the plants during the full blooming stage by cutting the clumps at 10-15 cm from the ground level|
|Weeding||October – November||Normal weeding|
|Irrigation||October – November||Irrigation should be given after harvesting. Continue Jeevamrutham every 15 days along with water.|
|Second Harvest||February – March||Harvest the plants during the full blooming stage by cutting the clumps at 10-15 cm from the ground level|
|Irrigation||February – March||Irrigation should be given after harvesting. Continue Jeevamrutham every 15 days along with water.|
|Third harvest||May – June||Harvest the plants during the full blooming stage by cutting the clumps at 10-15 cm from the ground level|
|Irrigation||May – June||Irrigation should be given after harvesting. Continue Jeevamrutham every 15 days along with water.|