Preserving flowers is a great way to create a keepsake or make a unique gift for others. In this tutorial, I’m showing you how to make potpourri with dried flowers so your creations will smell wonderful, too!
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What is potpourri?
According to Merriam-Webster, the name potpourri comes from the French phrase pot pourri which means “putrid pot.” That’s not the most flattering description, I know!
Today, potpourri is known as a medley of dried flowers, herbs, and spices, often scented with oils to enhance the aroma.
If you don’t have fresh flowers to make homemade potpourri, you can choose any combination of orange slices, cinnamon sticks, dried apples, cloves, or other spices.
Short on time? You can buy dried petals and add your scented oil later!
Watch the full video!
Check out this 6-minute video on YouTube for a full step-by-step tutorial.
How to Make Potpourri
Before you begin, check out my post on How to Dry Flowers. It has five different methods–yes FIVE–you can try when drying fresh flowers.
For this tutorial, I’m using the air-dry method and oven-drying method. You can see all of these techniques in action in my video on drying flowers.
- Fresh flowers or packaged dried flowers
- Fragrance oil or essential oil
- Orris root powder
- Mason jar or sachets for gifting
- Baking sheet and cooling rack (if oven drying)
Step 1: Prepare fresh flowers for drying
If using fresh flowers, I always recommend picking your flowers in the morning after the dew has evaporated.
Try to avoid flowers with bruised or damaged petals for the best results.
Did you just receive a lovely bouquet or flower arrangement that you’d like to use instead? You can follow the same steps, either drying them in the oven or letting them air-dry by hanging them upside down in a cool, dark place.
(The yellow roses for my potpourri came from an anniversary bouquet. I air dried them in our laundry room while we went on vacation.)
In my experience, some flowers lend themselves to oven-drying better than others. Rose petals, lavender, and berries are popular additions to potpourri. Below you’ll find a list of others to consider.
Best to Dry
- Roses (and rosebuds)
- Globe amaranth
Good to Dry
Worst to Dry
Don’t forget you can also include herbs like bay leaf, thyme, and lemon balm for extra fragrance and texture. I have a related post on how to dry herbs as a reference.
Note: If you’ve had a good or bad experience with any of the flowers listed (or others not listed), please let me know! I am always updating this list for the benefit of readers like you.
Step 2: Dry flowers in the oven
Make sure any thick stems are removed before placing flowers on a baking sheet. This makes for a prettier potpourri collection.
Arrange the flowers face up on a cooling rack set on top of a baking sheet. I recommend using parchment paper on the baking sheet for easier cleanup.
Bake the flowers at 200°F (93°C) for 1-2 hours until the flowers have fully dehydrated. They can continue to dry naturally if removed from the oven too soon.
Continue baking flowers in batches until you have the number of dried petals desired.
Step 3: Add fragrance oil or essential oil
Dried flowers won’t typically retain their original fragrance after drying. To enhance the scent, add 5-10 drops of fragrance oil or essential oil to the dried petals. Then, gently toss the mixture.
You can pour the mixture into a paper sack to let the fragrance permeate the flowers.
More Crafts with Essential Oils
You will most likely have fragrance oil left over after making potpourri. You can use the remainder for diffusers, soaps, lotions, sugar scrubs, or room sprays.
Step 4: Add orris root powder
The secret ingredient to making potpourri last is orris root powder. It acts as a fixative to enhance the scent of the fragrance oils and preserve the potpourri longer.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of the powder to your dried floral mix, and toss it gently. Again, a paper sack works well for this step.
Step 5: Place potpourri in a mason jar or sachets
I used this gift tag maker to create my own custom tag. Then I printed and cut a cover for the mason jar lid using the same pattern.
Pro Tip: To allow the potpourri to “breathe” in the mason jar, try using one of these flower frog lids. Otherwise, potpourri that isn’t fully dehydrated can become wilted in the jar.
How to Make Potpourri with Citrus Fruit
One popular variation to this recipe is using citrus slices mixed with dried florals or spices. For a unique fall or Christmas potpourri, try this combination:
- Dried fruit slices, like orange slices or orange peels (using the same oven-drying method)
- Cinnamon sticks
- Whole cloves or star anise
- Dried roses
- Holiday scented oils
Pin it for later!
How to Make Potpourri
- Oven (if drying in oven)
- Baking sheet (if drying in oven)
Oven Drying Fresh Flowers
- If using fresh flowers from the garden, pick the flowers in the morning after the dew has evaporated.
- Trim off any thick stems. If desired, you can remove petals from layered flowers like roses.
- Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet (optional), and gently lay the flowers on a baking rack, face up.
- Bake the flowers in the oven at 200°F (93°C) for 1-2 hours until the flowers have fully dehydrated. Continue baking the flowers in batches until you have the desired amount of dried petals.
- Place the dried flowers in a paper sack or bowl. Then, add 5-10 drops of fragrance oil or essential oil. Toss gently to combine the mixture.
- Add 1-2 tbsp of orris root powder to the mixture, and gently toss to combine.
- Let the mixture sit overnight. Then, place the potpourri in a mason jar or sachet bag for gifting.
Using Store-bought Dried Flowers
- Follow steps 5-7 above.
FAQs on How to Make Potpourri
How long does homemade potpourri last?
Like any craft with dried flowers, you can expect the color of potpourri to gradually fade over time. With orris root powder and high-quality fragrance oil, potpourri can last 2-3 years. To prolong the scent, you can add more drops of scented oil as needed.
How do I make potpourri last longer?
To make your homemade potpourri last longer, avoid placing the petals in direct sunlight. The orris root powder will help retain the potpourri scent longer, but you can always add more drops of the fragrance oil as needed.
Can I use silica gel to dry my flowers?
You can certainly use silica gel for potpourri. Silica gel is my preferred method of drying flowers when you want to retain a flower’s shape and color. However, most potpourri mixes consist of petals rather than whole flowers, so using silica gel is not necessary.