How to make your own dry and wet potpourri

July 29, 2015

To give your home a fragrance of spring or summer, you can make your own potpourri. This sweet-smelling blend of preserved flower petals and aromatic plant parts is easy to make. These tips will help.

How to make your own dry and wet potpourri

Potpourri basics

There are two types of potpourri: dry and moist. Dry potpourri is easier to make and more decorative, since it preserves the form and colour of the flowers. Moist potpourri darkens in colour but creates a stronger fragrance. Here’s how you make both.

Dry potpourri

Essential oils found in perfumed flowers, leaves, roots and seeds give potpourri its strong perfume.


Air-dried flower heads, petals, leaves, wood, bark or fruit form the bulk of the mixture and set the theme for a dried potpourri.

Air-dried herbs such as thyme, mint and rosemary add interest to the dominant perfume. Spices such as allspice, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla beans contribute fragrance and texture.

Fixatives retain the scents of the other ingredients over longer periods of time. If you don’t use fixatives, the potpourri will lose its perfume quickly. The most common fixatives are gum benzoin and orris root.

To make dry potpourri:

  • Combine ground spices, fixatives and essential oils in a mixing bowl. You may need to rub the dry ingredients between your fingers with the oil to get them to mix.
  • Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Place the mixture in an airtight container and leave in a dark place for at least six weeks, to allow the mixture to mature.
  • Shake the container every day for the first week.
  • After six weeks, the potpourri is ready for use.


  • Display it in a decorative container or use it to perfume sachets, cushions and linen.
  • You can perfuemn soap, stationery, greeting cards and drawers by storing potpourri with them.

If you expose a mixture directly to the atmosphere it may maintain its scent for up to six months while a sachet may last for twice that time.

Moist potpourri

To make:

  • Collect petals and let them dry until they are leathery for about two to three days. Fill a wide-mouthed crock or a glass-lidded storage jar with alternating layers of petals and non-iodized salt. Do not use a metal container.
  • When two-thirds full, place a weighted plate on top of the petals to compress them.
  • Stir the pot every few days, breaking up any crust that forms on the top.
  • After a minimum of two weeks, mix the petals thoroughly and add spices, roots and aromatic and fixative oils. The longer the potpourri is left standing, the stronger and more lasting the fragrance will be.
  • Make again and allow to mature for another two weeks. The scent will be a little raw at first but should soon mellow.

Easy dry and wet potpourri

Filling your home with the fragrance of your customized potpourri is very satisfying. These tips give you the tools to make awesome dry and wet potpourri.

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