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3 Potpourri Formulas

3 Potpourri Formulas

When visitors drop by, one of the sweetest compliments they can give us is, “Your house always smells so good!” Pleasant aromas have the power to alter our mood, so it is not surprising that the practice of using scent imaginatively in the home is centuries old. One ancient and delicious way to do this is with potpourri.

The word “potpourri” means a medley of things–exotic blends of herbs, spices, and dried flowers set out in pots or jars to scent the surroundings. The idea is still a charming one, and it’s so easy to make fragrant all-n/atural potpourris that can actually make a positive difference, improving the atmosphere in our homes on every level, relaxing us, helping us to feel more clarity and calm. Gathering the ingredients is fun for the whole family, and the results are sure to please.

Here are the simple, easy steps to creating your own delicious potpourris:

Potpourris can be made moist or dry and their main ingredient is traditionally roses. In Colonial times, the most popular form of potpourri was a moist mixture, consisting of wilted flowers, mainly roses, layered with salt, bay leaves, brown sugar, and brandy.

After the crock was filled, a weight was placed on top of the mixture and it was stirred periodically. The finished potpourri was kept in a rose jar, and when a room was cleaned, the jar was opened to perfume the air because ventilation was considered unsafe.

Here are two old historical potpourri recipes, and one that is more New Age:

This is a typical moist potpourri based on historical recipes. The rose petals and lavender should be partially dried before you begin making this potpourri.

10 cups rose petals
2 cups lavender buds
½ cup orrisroot, powdered
8 bay leaves
2 cups sea salt or kosher coarse salt
½ cup allspice, crushed
½ cup crushed cinnamon sticks
½ cup cloves, crushed
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup brandy


1. Mix the rose petals, lavender buds, and orrisroot powder together.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the bay leaves, salt, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and brown sugar.
3. In a large crock, layer the flowers with the spice mixture until all are used up.
4. Pour the brandy slowly over the top and put a weight such as a brick on top of the petals and cover the crock.
5. Stir every few days for 4-6 weeks until the scent pleases you. If desired, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of rose fragrance oil and additional spices.
6. Keep covered except when you remove the lid to scent the room.
7. Each year, add ½ cup of brandy and stir to renew the fragrance. It should last for many years.


This potpourri has a warm “welcome home” aroma that’s pleasant any time of year.


1 tablespoon aniseed
1 tablespoon allspice
6 nutmegs
6 cinnamon sticks, coarsely broken
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
¼ cup whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-2 vanilla beans, cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup coarse salt such as kosher salt


1. Crush aniseed and allspice in a mortar and pestle.
2. Use a hammer to crack the nutmeg and cinnamon sticks.
3. Mix all of the ingredients together and fill a lidded container of your choice. Old Mason jars work well.
4. Open whenever you want to freshen the air.


1 cup cellulose
1/8 ounce rose fragrance oil
30 drops essential oil of lemon verbena
20 drops essential oil of sandalwood
4 cups rose petals and buds
2 cups lemon verbena
2 cups patchouli
2 cups lavender buds

1. Mix the oils with the cellulose and store for two days in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
2. Combine the dry potpourri ingredients with the oil/cellulose mixture and store for two to four weeks to allow the potpourri to age and develop. Do not use metal utensils, containers, or bowls as a reaction with the oils can adversely affect your final fragrance.

Read more: Crafts & Design, Crafts & Hobbies

Adapted from Perfumes, Splashes & Colognes, by Nancy M. Booth. Copyright (c) 1997 by Nancy M. Booth. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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Perfumes, Splashes & Colognes

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+ add your own
12:10AM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

I'd like to make a couple of these, but I have no idea where to find lavender buds,
orrisroot, cellulose, lemon verbena, sandalwood oil, and patchouli.

6:48PM PDT on Apr 23, 2014

I would love to try to make one of these but I've no idea where to buy the Cellulose, rose petals and buds, lemon verbena, patchouli and lavender buds.

Any ideas?

2:06PM PDT on Apr 23, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

1:34AM PDT on Apr 21, 2014

Country Kitchen - just what I was looking for thank you

2:19PM PDT on Oct 4, 2012


6:34AM PDT on Oct 4, 2012


11:19PM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

wonderful thanks!

10:38AM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

.Interesting, thank you for sharing

4:06PM PST on Feb 18, 2012

Where can one find these ingredients? This sounds amazing, but I don't exactly live in the countryside..

2:13PM PST on Dec 1, 2011

Does anyone know where you can buy cellulose???

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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