A staple in French households since the 1600s, potpourri is a combination of dried flowers, plant parts and herbs which lend a pleasant aroma to the house. Even though an air freshener would do the same job in the current times, a potpourri is preferred by many because the fragrance is more subdued, the ingredients can be chosen according to individual preferences and it makes for a beautiful home accent. Potpourri decor is a common sight in most modern Indian households.

Although there are many potpourri options available in the market, creating your potpourri blend is a very rewarding experience. Learning how to make potpourri allows you to try numerous combinations and create your signature fragrance which you can recreate time and again. DIY potpourri is also a very thoughtful and personal gift option for your loved ones.

10 Easy DIY Potpourri Recipes

1. Rose Potpourri

Making a rose potpourri is possibly the best way to make use of rose petals from withered roses and old bouquets. Once you know how to make potpourri from roses, you can have your home smell like a dream and look like a rosy wonderland.

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup rose petals
  • 2-3 sticks of cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 2 teaspoons of cloves (laung)
  • 2 drops of essential oil (lavender or rose)
  • 4-5 strips of orange peels
  • 5 tablespoons mint (pudina) (optional)

Method:

  1. Dry the rose petals by spreading them on a newspaper and leaving them undisturbed for 4-5 days.
  2. Combine the rose petals, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel and mint in a tight glass jar.
  3. Add the essential oil and mix well.
  4. Stir the mixture after 24 hours.
  5. Let the mixture sit in the jar for 3-4 weeks. Shake the jar every few days. You will know the potpourri is ready when you feel that the different smells have blended.
  6. You can place this jar in the room of your choice by placing a slotted/net cover or transfer it into a decorative potpourri holder.

2. Vanilla Potpourri

 Vanilla essence is a staple in most food cupboards. The sweet smell of vanilla is often used to enhance the aroma of desserts. Not many know that the same essence can be used to add beauty and fragrance to the house as well.

You Will Need:

  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla essence
  • 3 tablespoons of cloves (laung)
  • 2-3 sticks of cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 4 star anise (chakr phool)
  • 2 whole nutmegs (jaiphal)
  • Dried rose petals 
  • Glass jar

Method:

  1. Take the cinnamon, cloves, star anise and nutmeg (jaiphal) and pound them lightly to release the aromas from the spices. Be careful to not powder the spices to maintain the aesthetics of the potpourri.
  2. Add the dried rose petals to a glass jar.
  3. Add the pounded spices and vanilla essence and mix.
  4. Let the jar sit in a cool place for 4 weeks.
  5. Keep shaking the jar at regular intervals.
  6. Transfer the potpourri to a decorative vase and place as desired.
  7. You can also make small sachets of the potpourri and place them in different areas of the house.

3. Cinnamon Potpourri

From buns to cookies to tea, cinnamon is one spice that has the power to make everything smell delicious. When it comes to potpourris, almost all of them include this wonder spice due to its distinct smell. Since cinnamon is very easily found in all Indian households, making this cinnamon simmering potpourri is a simple and effortless process.

You Will Need:

  • A pot of water
  • 3 sticks of cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 1 tablespoon of cloves (laung)
  • Peels from 1 orange
  • ½ cup cranberries

Method:

  1. Take a pot and add 5 cups of water to it.
  2. Add all the ingredients to the pot and allow the water to boil.
  3. Once it reaches the boiling point, lower the flame and let the potpourri simmer.
  4. Shut the flame once you are happy with the intensity of the fragrance.

4. Lavender Potpourri

The smell of lavender brings a sense of calm and serenity. This is why making a lavender potpourri is an obvious recommendation for every household. But where can one find lavender flowers in India? Contrary to popular belief, one can easily make lavender potpourri without sourcing any lavender flowers. Lavender essential oils can be very easily found in the market and that is all you need to make this simple lavender potpourri.

You Will Need:

  • 2 cups of dried rose petals
  • 3-5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • Peels from 1 orange
  • Glass jar

Method:

  1. Add the dried rose petals to the glass jar.
  2. Mix the orange peels with the rose petals.
  3. Add the lavender essential oil to the mixture and shake the jar to combine the ingredients.
  4. Leave the jar in a dry place for 3-4 weeks. Shake the jar often.
  5. Take the potpourri out of the jar after 4 weeks and transfer it to a decorative bowl/vase.

5. Mint Potpourri

Who doesn’t like the fresh scent of mint? When the modest pudina patta is so freely available to us, we need to start putting it to good use. One way of doing so is by making this amazing mint potpourri that will give your house that heavenly fragrance.

You Will Need:

  • A pot of water
  • 1 cup of mint leaves (pudina)
  • 2-3 drops of peppermint extract
  • 5-6 bay leaves (tejpatta)

Method:

  1. Take a pot and fill it with water till it is half full.
  2. Add the mint leaves, bay leaves and peppermint extract to the pot and bring it to a boil
  3. You may choose to add some more peppermint extract if you prefer a stronger smell.
  4. Let the pot simmer till it fills the house with the sweet mint smell.

6. Orange Potpourri

 There is nothing better than walking into a room that smells citrusy and fresh. This orange potpourri is extremely simple to make and is practically free of cost because you can find everything you need in your kitchen closet.

You Will Need:

  • Peels from 4 oranges
  • 2 tablespoons of cloves (laung)
  • 2-3 sticks of cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg (jaiphal)
  • Orange essential oil (optional)
  • Dried flowers (optional)
  • Glass jar

Method:

  1. Peel the oranges. Pat them dry with paper towels. 
  2. Take all the peels on a flat tray and place them in a dry place for a few days. Alternatively, you could also put them on a baking tray in a single layer and bake them for 3 hours at 140 degrees celsius. 
  3. In a glass jar, mix the orange peels with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and dried flowers.
  4. Add a few drops of the orange essential oil and give it a good mix. 
  5. Place the jar in a cool place for 4 weeks. Give it a gentle shake every day.
  6. Place the potpourri in your place of choice.

7. Chai Potpourri

Chai is so much more than a beverage for us Indians, it is an emotion. How cool would it be to come home to the smell of all those lovely spices that make our chai so refreshing? If that’s not all, once you are done with having the house smell like chai, just add some milk and sugar to the pot and enjoy your favourite drink.

You Will Need:

  • A pot of water
  • 2 spoons of tea leaves
  • 4-5 black peppercorns (kali mirch)
  • 5-6 bay leaves (tejpatta)
  • A small piece of ginger
  • 2-3 cloves (laung)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel (saunf)
  • 1 star anise (chakr phool)
  • 1 stick of cinnamon (dalchini)
  • A pinch of nutmeg (jaiphal)

Method:

  1. Fill a pot of water and put it to a boil.
  2. Add the tea leaves.
  3. Add all the spices to the pot of water.
  4. Let the pot of water simmer slowly until the spices release their aromas and the fragrance fills the home.

8. Apple & Spice Scented Potpourri

This simmering potpourri is sure to remind you of a decadent apple pie that has come straight out of the oven. The sweet smell of apples combined with the hint of spices makes this potpourri recipe an all-time classic.

You Will Need:

  • A pot of water
  • 2 sliced apples
  • 5-6 bay leaves (tejpatta)
  • 4-5 star anise (chakr phool)
  • 1 stick of cinnamon (dalchini)

Method:

  1. Pat the apple slices with a kitchen towel to soak the excess moisture.
  2. Place the apple slices on a baking tray and bake till they are dry. Chopping the apples into thin slices cuts the amount of time required for the drying process.
  3. Take a pot and add 4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil.
  4. Add the dried apple slices along with all the other spices.
  5. Let the pot of water slowly simmer until the desired intensity of the potpourri smell is achieved.

9. Unscented Potpourri

 Many people wonder why would someone make or buy unscented potpourri when the sole purpose of a potpourri is to make an area smell good. A section of people prefers to keep their potpourri unscented so that they can use scents of their choice on a small quantity of the unscented potpourri. This gives them the flexibility to try different scents on the same stash of potpourri. All one needs to do is put a few drops of any essential oil into the unscented potpourri flowers and let the mixture do its magic.

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup of dried flowers
  • 1 cup pine cones
  • ½ cup cedar wood shavings
  • ½ cup sandalwood shavings (optional)
  • ½ cup dried rosemary leaves

Method:

  1. Take all of the above ingredients and mix them.
  2. Store the unscented potpourri in a glass jar, ready to be used later.

10. Lemon And Rosemary Potpourri

Three simple ingredients are all it takes to make this amazing simmering potpourri. Along with making the house smell pleasant and inviting, this potpourri also helps neutralize any unwanted smells lingering in the kitchen due to excessive cooking.

You Will Need:

  • 2 whole lemons
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 bunch of fresh rosemary leaves

Method:

  1. Slice the lemons.
  2. Add the lemons, vanilla extract and rosemary leaves to a pot.
  3. Add 5 cups of water to the pot.
  4. Bring the water to a boil and then let it simmer on low heat till the aromas from the ingredients are released. 

Did You Know?

The word potpourri can be broken down into “pot” and “pourri” where “pourri” means rotten. This is because, in ancient France, the flowers and herbs were left to age with sea salt so they would rot and ferment until they reached a stage where the mixture started to release a sweet smell.

We often underestimate the power of our sense of smell. Aromas of spices, flowers and herbs work wonders in calming our nerves and one of the easiest ways of doing so is by making DIY potpourri. These concoctions are inexpensive, easy to make and can be customised to suit individual preferences. Both simmering and dry potpourris are also extremely long-lasting. All you have to do is add a few drops of essential oils when your potpourri begins to lose effect and it is back to being new. Learning how to make potpourri from dried flowers and knowing how to use potpourri effectively are skills that go a long way in making our homes smell good and our minds feel good.

Heena Paryani
Heena Paryani

Heena Paryani is an Operations Executive with a passion for teaching, jewellery designing, EXIM trade and writing. This Mumbaikar-at-heart is a wanderlust who enjoys cooking and sampling new cuisines.

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