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How to Make Sweet Smelling Herbal Potpourri

Updated on January 9, 2013
let your imagination run wild and create your own signature potpourri recipe.
let your imagination run wild and create your own signature potpourri recipe. | Source

Make Your Own

flowers, herbs and leaves can be dried in bunches and hung upside down to add in to homemade potpourri.
flowers, herbs and leaves can be dried in bunches and hung upside down to add in to homemade potpourri. | Source

Potpourri ~

Potpourri is an easy way of introducing fragrance into the home. Sweet smelling dried or fresh herbs combine with earthy spices, wood chips, flowers, fruits, oils and wood shavings to make wonderful aromatic potpourri at home.

Many great ingredients that go into potpourri are in our kitchen cupboards or growing in out garden or yard. When I looked at the cost of purchasing bags of potpourri in the shops, they are not cheap.

I have bought many bags or scoops of individual ingredients such as lavender, dried citrus fruits and fragrance infused wooden balls over the years. The thought of making my own instant air freshener in the form of potpourri, never entered my head until recently.

For many of us, fragranced candles, air diffusers, incense sticks and room fresheners have always been products we have used and bought rather than making at home. The reality is that ALL these gorgeous mediums of scent are easily achievable in our own kitchens at a fraction of the cost.

Cutting down on expenses does not have to mean cutting out. In fact many of these natural ingredients in potpourri have a multitude of uses in homemade DIY products. Why not reap the benefits and full potential of your herbs, oils, spices, fruits and flowers and whip up a face cleanser, body scrub, skin moisturizer or even a slick of citrus lip gloss?

Displaying Potpourri

potpourri crock pots, glass bowls or wooden bowels are the best to use at home.
potpourri crock pots, glass bowls or wooden bowels are the best to use at home. | Source

What is Potpourri?

Quite simply, potpourri is a group of dried plants and barks.

It is usually displayed in a bowl, often wooden or glass that provides a subtle fragrance to a room in the home.

Potpourri may be used to fill a small pouch or sachet to leave in wardrobes, drawers or in cars to give a pleasant smelling aroma.

It is not uncommon to see unusually shaped dried plant material that has no fragrance but is decorative and adds bulk and interest.

Synthetic fragrances and dyes are frequently used and bear no resemblance to the dried ingredients whatsoever.

Citrus Fruit Adds Texture

dried orange slices are perfect for an autumnal or winter display.
dried orange slices are perfect for an autumnal or winter display. | Source

French Lavender

lavender is a herbal powerhouse for its many qualities, uses and benefits.
lavender is a herbal powerhouse for its many qualities, uses and benefits. | Source
Your Backyard Herb Garden: A Gardener's Guide to Growing, Using and Enjoying Herbs Organically
Your Backyard Herb Garden: A Gardener's Guide to Growing, Using and Enjoying Herbs Organically

A one stop shop for herb lovers that will show you how to make the most out of your herbs.

 

Sweet Smelling Herbs ~

The list of herbs you could use is vast and utilizing what you have is the way to go and then add to it.

Drying fresh herbs is best as it will add bulk and interest along with scent. Sweeter smelling herbs that are ideal to use are:


  • Lavender
  • Sweet Marjoram
  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile
  • Lemon Balm
  • Evening Primrose
  • Sweet Woodruff
  • Basil
  • Bay Leaf
  • Mint

Morroccan Potpourri and Spices

get inspiration from markets selling dried potpourri, spices and herbs.
get inspiration from markets selling dried potpourri, spices and herbs. | Source

Baskets of Potpourri

essential oils and fragrance oils can match your ingredients or be totally unrelated - its your choice.
essential oils and fragrance oils can match your ingredients or be totally unrelated - its your choice. | Source

How To Make Potpourri ~

Drying out ingredients is something that takes time so start drying your herbs, flowers etc . . . . well ahead of time.

Before starting to make your potpourri, there are three classifications of ingredients you will need. The three F’s.

Fixatives – these are essential for absorbing different scents and keeping the potpourri fresh with fragrance. The best ones to use are sandalwood chips, oak moss, orris root, tonka beans, wood shavings, calamus root, clary sage leaves, deertongue, and vetiver root or ground cinnamon.

Fillers – the bulk of your ingredients are fillers. These consist of dried flowers, herbs, wood chips, leaves, spices and wood shavings which can be a mix of fragrant and non fragrant. If you have fresh ingredients that need to be dried first, remember to allow for shrinkage when dried. Approximately 3-4 cups of fresh ingredients will yield 1 cup when dried.

Fragrance – In the form of essential oils or fragrance oils these provide long lasting fragrance when applied onto the fixatives. As the scent disappears over time you just top up the fixatives with your chosen fragrance.

Flower/Petal Ideas ~

  • Rose
  • Lavender
  • Scented Geranium
  • Jasmine
  • Lemon Verbena Leaves

Drying Flowers, Herbs and Leaves ~

Drying these takes time so start collecting ahead of time and dry separately.

Dry any flowers, petals, herbs or fruit on a screen or a tray with a paper towel covering them and leave them in a warm, dry airy place to dry out. Turn them over daily. Your ingredients are ready when they feel slightly brittle. If overly dry they will crumble easily as they have lost all their natural oils.

You may also dry bunches of flowers and herbs out by hanging them upside down and checking them daily.

Store them in separate glass containers with a tight fitting lid away from direct sunlight until you are ready to start making your potpourri.

Fruit Ideas (slices or peel) ~

  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Apple

Flowering Rosemary

the flowers and the leaves may be used in potpourri.
the flowers and the leaves may be used in potpourri. | Source

Spice Ideas ~

  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Nutmeg
  • Tonka Beans
  • Cloves
  • Anise
  • Vanilla Beans

Making Potpourri ~

  • Decide on what fragrances you want to use. Use top quality oils if possible as your fragrance will hold and smell better.
  • Look at the dried ingredients you have decided to use and pick fragrances that compliment them.Color combinations or themes can determine choices in scents. For example, if you have a number of pinks and purples in your ingredients, rose, lavender and vanilla would be good choices. For potpourri that has reds, oranges and browns try geranium, lemon and patchouli. Let your creative side loose and have fun experimenting.
  • Up to three different oils can be used together with one being the prominent or dominant scent and two as accent fragrances.
  • An easy way of testing what your chosen combination would smell like is place a small piece of cotton wool into a jar. Put 4 drops of your dominant fragrance on top of it followed by 2 drops of your first accent fragrance and then 1 drop of your second accent. Close the lid and leave it for 24 hours. Open lid and smell from about 6 inches away. If you like it great! If not add some more oil or else start again.
  • Start by placing your chosen fixative into a large glass jar. 2 tbsp chopped (not powdered) fresh roots to 1 quart of fillers.
  • Next you need to add your oils. The ratio is 12 drops dominant, 6 drops first accent and 3 drops of your second accent fragrance. Give this a stir and close the lid tightly.
  • Let this sit for a couple of days in a cool dark dry place.
  • Open jar and if you are happy with the fragrance, add your flowers, petals, herbs barks, wood shavings and fruits.
  • Mix gently with a plastic or wooden spoon.
  • Secure lid tightly, give a little shake and store in a cool, dark dry place to allow time to infuse. Shake your potpourri daily. The longer you leave this the better and 4-6 weeks is ideal. Your potpourri is now ready to use!

Fragrant Thyme

not as sweet as other choices, thyme is still a very popular herb to use.
not as sweet as other choices, thyme is still a very popular herb to use. | Source

Potpourri Poll ~

Do you use potpourri at home?

See results

PotPourri in Centrepiece

potpourri may be combined with many imaginative and decorative features such as fresh flowers, dried grasses, candles, and glass to make an authentic and unique centrepiece.
potpourri may be combined with many imaginative and decorative features such as fresh flowers, dried grasses, candles, and glass to make an authentic and unique centrepiece. | Source

Potpourri Tips ~

  • Remember to stir your potpourri display occasionally to keep releasing the fragrance.
  • When it begins to lose its fragrance you can add a few more drops of oils or make up some new fresh fixatives and oil blend to add in to it.
  • Good quality oils will last months in potpourri and will be cost effective in the long run.
  • Why not make a batch to make into creative gifts for family, friends or even to sell on a market stall?
  • Use potpourri with decorative candles for a fragrant safe original display or table centrepiece.
  • Potpourri ingredients are only restricted by what is available and your creative imagination.
  • Go out foraging in local woods and down country lanes for wonderful wild potpourri ingredients.
  • If you only want to use one type of flower or herb like lavender you can still use lavender oil for extra fragrance with the dried flowers and fixative.

Easy Potpourri Using Rose Petals, lavender and Cinnamon

Author Info ~

Information on the author, her bio and full body of works are available @ Suzie HQ

Credit to homesteadbound ~

All dividers used in this hub are used with permission granted on hub, Creating Dividers to Use on Your Hubs

How to Make Sweet Smelling Herbal Potpourri Comments

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    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very informative hub. I had never heard about Potpourri before reading this hub. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

      Prasetio

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      This looks great, unfortunately my husband has bad allergies so I can't have this sort of thing in my house. I could make it for gifts though! Pinned.

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi prasetio,

      Lovely to see you, hope you are enjoying the Christmas season. Thanks very much for comments and votes, popourri is certainly popular over here as a great way of introducing fragrance to rooms. Wishing you all the very best for 2013!!!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Glimmer Twin,

      You are wise not to have them with your husbands allergies but you could make as you say, for gifts which would be a lovely gift to anyone! Many thanks for your visit, comments and for pinning!!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      This is very useful for me as I want my rooms to smell fresh and good. I usually use wet cotton balls and put a few drops of lavender and other essential oils on them. Thanks for sharing this very useful and informative hub. Voted up and shared. I wish you a Happy New Year.

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Thelma,

      Many thanks for dropping by. Hope you enjoy making some potpourri or even try the air fresheners I wrote about, both are great for bringing fragrance into your rooms. All the very best for 2013 to you and your family, my friend!!!

      Appreciate your votes and share greatly!

    • drosostalitsa profile image

      drosostalitsa 4 years ago from Greece

      thank you so much for this hub! voted up!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi drosostalitsa,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting! Glad you enjoyed this and I hope you give making your own a go! Many thanks for the vote up!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      Your photographs are just lovely, and go perfectly with the detail instructions on how to make Potpourri. I can almost smell all those lovely scents right through my computer! :) Nice hub, well done and beautifully enhanced with photographs. Voted up and pinned!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Stephanie,

      Many thanks for your lovely comments. I enjoyed putting together this article and it is lovely to hear some feedback on it. Pictures can tell a story and that is what I hoped to do here, poppourri is so aromatic and full of wonderful scents, hopefully you will give this a try yourself. Appreciate your votes and pin, wishing you and your family all the very best for 2013!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

      What a lovely hub! I always wondered how potpourri was made, but never got curious enough to google it. Well, now I know! Up and awesome :)

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Om,

      Many thanks for commenting, glad you found it useful and interesting! I appreciate the votes my friend -

      All the very best to you for 2013!!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I occasionally use potpourri in the home, especially the cinnmon-apple spiced scents. Great topic to post and very well covered. Hope your New Year is going well.

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi teaches,

      I love potpourri but it is expensive so tend not to buy now, hence my looking at making my own. It just takes a little time and you can play around with scents to find the right blend for you and the family. Glad you enjoyed and found it useful!

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