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How to Make Potpourri: 2 Methods, 1 Aromatic Result!

jar of potpourri with different spices on a white marble benchtop

In the words of Joey Tribbiani describing potpourri on Friends: “well, that’s like summer in a bowl”! Of course, you can make your own potpourri smell like any seasonal aroma by picking and choosing the ingredients accordingly. The bottomline is that, by the end of it, you are left with a bowl of herbs, petals, and spices that look and smell divine! 

If you’ve ever considered purchasing these naturally prepared and scented bowls, you’ll notice that they come with a fairly high price tag (especially the ones with exotic ingredients that are strongly fragranced). The good news is that DIY potpourri smells just the same but costs a lot less! In fact, you might even have some flowers in your garden that you can use at the end of a growing season! More importantly, even if you end up purchasing some ingredients, you will have the added benefit of getting a few bowls of potpourri out of them as opposed to paying a stiff price for a single one from a store. 

So, with that in mind, let’s get to Maid For You’s two favourite homemade potpourri recipes, and learn the simple methods involved in the making of each one.

Ingredients to Make Potpourri

close up of potpourri jar with pinecone, dried orange, rosemary and walnuts on a marble benchtop

 

The list below includes some of the most common ingredients used in potpourri mixtures:

  • Fragrant flowers 
  • Herbs 
  • Spices
  • Essential oils 
  • Dried fruits
  • Dried leaves

Bear in mind that you can pick/eliminate/add ingredients as per your personal preferences. 

Method 1: Baked Homemade Potpourri

top view of a christmas potpourri in a ceramic dish with half an orange, cranberries, and cinnamon sticks

While baking is optional, it is a preferred method as it speeds up the process while ensuring that there is no moisture present in the flower petals and other ingredients. Potpourri must be completely dry when ready for use as moisture will attract mould and thereby ruin the whole bowl. 

To create your own aromatic bowl(s) of potpourri, follow the steps below.

Step One: Prepare the Petals

The most popular flowers used in the making of potpourri include roses, peonies, lilies, and geraniums due to their strong and lasting scents. To prepare the petals of your chosen flowers, cut the stems off, and remove any leaves close to the ovary (base of the flower). Next, separate the petals and place them evenly on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. You can also include the bulbs of the flowers without pulling apart the petals that surround them. The number of flowers/petals required will depend on the quantity you wish to make.

NOTE: The flowers should not be wet (with water) when you are preparing to bake them as this may lead to rotting.

Step Two: Add Oils, Herbs, Spices, etc

Typically, one essential oil is recommended per mixture; however, if you’d like to experiment with a second scent, choose two complementing fragrances of essential oils and use them to spray the petals. Be sure to get all the petals and be generous with the application. It should also be mentioned that essential oils can be diluted and then used if you prefer a more subtle fragrance. 

The add-ons you choose can include a variety of ingredients such as pinecones, patchouli, thyme, rosemary, cloves, cinnamon, mint, rose hips, sage, sandalwood chips, and dried fruits like orange slices, lemon slices, and citrus peels. Choose ingredients/fragrances that appeal to you, and blend well together.

It is also a good idea to add in some fixatives which are basically substances that will absorb and hold scents, thereby making the aromas of your DIY potpourri last longer. A few effective fixatives include lavender, Florentina iris, orris root, and some of the ingredients already mentioned earlier, namely sandalwood, cloves, and cinnamon (in powder form).

Step Three: Bake the Mixture

Spread the mixture across the baking tray as evenly as possible, and bake (at 90°C) for 1-2 hours, depending on how dry and flaky you want your potpourri to be. A good rule of thumb when checking if the potpourri is ready is to test whether the petals are brittle. When you are satisfied with the mixture, take it out of the oven and leave it to cool.

Step Four: Add More Essential Oil, Mix, and Store

When the mixture has cooled down, spray on a little more diluted essential oil (use the same fragrance as before). Gently toss the mixture around so that the essential oil blends in properly. The last thing you need to do is transfer the potpourri to an airtight container; this is very important as the ingredients need to infuse – a process that is compromised when air is introduced. Store the container in a cool, dry place for at least 6 weeks for best results. 

When your potpourri is ready for use, empty the mixture out into decorative glass bowls, and place them in different rooms to add a beautiful, pleasant aroma to your house!

Method 2: Simple, No-Bake DIY Potpourri Recipe

cinnamon sticks surrounded by potpourri and a pine cone

If you don’t have an oven or prefer not to use one, you can still make a simple bowl of potpourri that not only smells devine but helps make your home smell amazing! This method is quite similar to the one above, only this time, instead of using an oven, you will be making use of natural sunlight to dry out the ingredients.

Here is how to make potpourri at home without an oven:

  • Place your chosen flowers in a vase and leave it outside in direct sunlight until the petals become brittle (this generally takes a few days). It is important to allow the petals enough time to dry completely so that they do not contain any moisture.
  • Gently pluck the dried petals and throw away the stems and leaves. Place the petals in a large bowl (for mixing the ingredients), and sprinkle or spray them with essential oil.
  • Place the add-on ingredients in a tray or multiple trays if needed. Avoid piling them one over the other; instead, separate them by lining them up side by side. Place the trays in direct sunlight and allow them to dry out completely. Like the petals, this may also take a few days. 
  • Once the add-on ingredients have become dry and flaky, add them to the bowl of dried petals.
  • Add a few drops of essential oil to the bowl, and gently toss the mixture with a plastic spoon to spread the scented oil around.
  • Store the mixture in an airtight container or mason jar for 6 weeks. Be sure to keep it somewhere cool and dry during the infusion stage. 
  • At the end of 6 weeks, display the potpourri in a glass bowl.

There you have it! Two simple methods, one amazing-smelling result! So, the next time you think about buying an expensive bowl of scented ingredients, save yourself the money and use the recipe(s) above to make your very own potpourri at home!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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