If you want your flowers and other plants to be used in a more lasting way, potpourri is the best alternative. Moreover, it will provide a natural scent and act as a decorative item in your house. It has been used in homes since ancient times in several ways. At times, it was just scattered on the floors or set out in ports with perforated lids to scent the places.
In modern times, potpourri is made from a collection of decoratively shaped dried flowers, with added natural or synthetic perfumes. You do not necessarily need scented plants for making a potpourri. Potpourri also has a great lifespan if made properly. It can last from 2 months to even 20 years, as per the chosen blend. It also lasts longer if stored in closed containers. It can be made from homegrown flowers or herbs or you can also use flowers from bouquets etc.
Potpourri has many benefits. It scents your home naturally and thus saves you from irritating chemicals that are used in other scented items. It will also help you save money that you might spend on buying scented candles or other scented stuff. Moreover, the ingredients needed for making a potpourri can be found in your own home and won’t cost you anything. You just need dried flowers, herbs, essential oils, or any spices that you want to include. You can also incorporate seeds, berries, dried fruit slices, seedheads, cones, and barks to add different textures to your potpourri.
Read on to find out the best plant species you should use to make a potpourri and how to make it perfect.
Best Plants for a Potpourri:
You have an option to use any aromatic flowers or plants to make your potpourri according to your preferences. However, here we have got you a list of the best ones that you should consider.
Lavender performs well in almost every climate and thus is great for a potpourri. The best species to consider is Phenomenal, known as Lavandula x intermedia Phenomenal. It is a true hybrid hedge lavender. French lavender or Lavandulastoechas is also an easy to grow species of lavender. It has a strong scent and a good drought tolerance capacity. These purple flowers add color to the potpourri while their leaves will add aroma.
Chamomile, more popularly known for its tea form, is a great flowering herb for a potpourri. It has small and pretty white flowers with big yellow centers and has a delicate and relaxing scent. It looks great in a potpourri and you can also use the leftover flowers for your tea.
If you want to add pretty colors and nice fragrances to your potpourri, roses are your go-to option. You can use the peach-colored roses, known as At Last roses or the strawberry and cream-colored ones, called Double Delight roses. It is advisable to use the flowers before they open. However, you can also use fully grown flowers. You can use both small buds and petals and also, remember to keep the petals whole to add a beautiful look.
Remember to choose marigolds if you want to provide beautiful color to your potpourri. These flowers are bright and cheerful. They might not add scent to the potpourri but will surely add pops of rich gold, red, and orange. You can additionally add other scented flowers or added scent to the potpourri.
Being cultivated for over 5,000 years, basil is a perfect ingredient for home-made potpourri as it adds scents to it. Different varieties give different and interesting scents. They are a part of the mint family. Chocolate basil, cinnamon basil, lemon basil, and others add a nice smell.
Scented geraniums have aromatic leaves which can be used as a great ingredient for a potpourri. These geraniums are grouped into 5 fragrance categories, namely, citrus, rose, mint, spice, and pungent. The last one has overtones of eucalyptus, camphor, and other strong, medicinal aromas. They are very easy to grow and adds a nice odor to the potpourri.
These were some of the must-have ingredients for a potpourri. However, you can add any flowers or dried leaves of your choice to make your potpourri according to your preferences.
How to Make a Perfect Potpourri?
Now that we know the ingredients for the potpourri let us look at the techniques of making it.
Growing Potpourri Plants:
Growing all the plants you need for the potpourri is the first step. Most of the plants are common garden plants that can be grown in fertile garden soil and full sun. However, some tender plants need to be grown in containers by adding the required potting mix. Such plants include germaniums.
Drying Potpourri Plants:
Drying potpourri plants is the second major and very crucial step for making a potpourri. You need to be aware that any moisture in the leaves or petals can reduce the quality of the scent. If the plants are not dried well, fungus or mold can also grow on them. So, all the plants need to be dried thoroughly. You can choose any of the given drying methods to dry your potpourri plants.
- Spread all the plants on a paper laid on a tray in a single layer. Place them in a cool dark place and let them dry. This process might take time ranging from a few days to a few weeks.
- Hang the plants in a cool and dry place and allow them to dry fully. This can take from one to three weeks.
- You can also use an oven to dry your plants. You can use this method for drying flowers with intricate details. Set the oven at 180 degrees Fahrenheit. You need to be very aware while using a microwave and keep on checking at short durations. Remove the flowers as they turn a little brittle.
- You can use varying drying mediums like sand, silica gel, or oolitic sand.
- The last way is to use a food dehydrator for fast and efficient drying.
It is advisable to dry more flowers and herbs than you might need to ensure that you have plenty of material while making the potpourri.
Making the Potpourri:
The steps to make the potpourri are listed below:
- When your plants are fully dry, collect them, and gather all the ingredients in one place. Combine all of them in a mixing bowl and mix them well by tossing gently.
- Add a few drops of essential oils to make the scent last longer.
- Mixing should be done gently so that the petals don’t break.
- You can use a fixative to keep the scent from fading. Vanilla beans, gum benzoin, oakmoss, or orris root works great as a fixative.
- Using more than one fixative is also a great idea. It is advisable to use around 20% total fixative by its weight.
- After mixing all the ingredients well, place it in a container, and store it in a warm and dark place for around 6 weeks.
- You can also add a few drops of essential oils every week and stir it well until you get a fragrance you like.
- Pick it up after 6 weeks and your potpourri is ready!
- Place it in a bowl and decorate your living room with it.
This potpourri will usually last for several months but you will be required to add essential oils to it from time to time.
Ideas to Decorate your Potpourri:
Displaying potpourri is also an art. Various potpourri display ideas are listed below:
- The best idea is to display your potpourri with brightly colored petals in an open glass bowl.
- You can also make a closed sachet from a fabric by stitching it and place your potpourri inside it. this can be hanged anywhere in your house.
- Choose potpourri containers with sealed lids. This will allow you to close the lids and save the fragrance of the potpourri when it is not in use.
- Buy some vintage candy bowls from antique stores and place your potpourri in them.
- Use any type of decorative jar, bowl, glass, or any other container which has a good design and place it on your center table.
- You can sue them as gifting items by placing them in a jar and wrapping a pretty ribbon on top.
- Another way to use the potpourri is by packing them in sealed packets and placing them in the wardrobes to add odor.
Making a potpourri is much more than just preparing something for decorating your home. The process of growing your own flowers, drying them, and then preparing your potpourri is a rewarding process in itself. remember the mantra of making the potpourri: “More the variety, better the potpourri.” Use varied plants, leaves, flowers, spices, and oils for making a great and aesthetic scented potpourri. Go ahead and prepare your fantastic potpourri to decorate and scent your house with your artistic skills.