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A mixture of dried petals, herbs, essential oils, natural fixatives and spices, Potpourris are a great way of infusing a natural fragrance in your homes and offices. Potpourris are a very popular home décor item. A decent potpourri can last anywhere from two months to 20 years!
The English word potpourri is derived from the French word pot-pourri, literally meaning “rotten pot”. This is because during the 17th-century France, fragrant flowers were usually left out to limp during the summer seasons. As a result of sitting out for so long, they would sometimes even mold. As the months went by, these dried petals were then layered with sea salt and occasionally stirred. Then in fall, spices and laxatives were added until a pleasant fragrance was achieved. Ta-da! The completed potpourris were then set out in special pots to perfume the rooms.
In the past, before plumbing and ventilation, they were used to freshen the stale air in winter rooms. The warmth from fire places would mingle with them to imbue the room with a flower-like aroma. Additionally, sewn into small cloth bags, it was also carried around by people on their person. It was believed to ward off bad body odors. The essential oils and herbs in them were even believed to kill the bacteria of certain diseases prevalent during the Middle Ages.
Potpourris sachets are now used to perfume linens and clothes. Certain blends with herbs are even used to protect clothes from moths as these are believed to be insect repellents. They’re called moth bags.
Types of Potpourris
Potpourris are typically of two types- moist and dry. The moist potpourri is made with half-dried flower petals. These are then mixed with salt and rested to allow fermentation to take place. Thus, the “rotten” pot reference. On the other hand, dry potpourris are made using flower petals and herbs where all the moisture has been taken out of them. They are then blended, no fermentation takes place here. The dry potpourris are easier to make but the moist ones are longer lasting.
Another very popular kind of potpourri these days comes in the form of water soaks. Add the ingredients together and simmer them over stove top in about 2.5 to 3 quartz of water. Bottle them up in a jar with perforating lids and refrigerate to cool. Water soaks have a slightly shorter lifespan than the other two kinds but smells just as divine!
Now, let us have a look at the best potpourris scent ideas. Here are our picks-
Top 10 Potpourri Scents
- Cinnamon + Pine + Peppermint
This sweet and spicy fragrance combination is perfect for holiday gifting! Peppermint sticks or peppermint oil, mixed with cinnamon from the kitchen, gives an aromatic fragrance which will make your homes smell like Christmas morning. The warmth of these spices will take you back to your childhoods and remind you of the hot chocolate that you love so much! Add pine to it and voilà, you’re sitting under the Christmas tree opening presents with your family.
2. Citrus + Apple + Rosemary + Cinnamon
You know that feeling of cozying up in your living rooms or beds with a book and blankets? The Dutch have a word for it- Hygge! It’s the art of taking pleasure in simple everyday things. The refreshing fragrance of lemon, combined with the warmth of cinnamon is perfect when transitioning into spring. The scent of Rosemary gives it that kick of calming effect we often need to shake of a long day or prepare for a good night’s sleep.
3. Orange + Apple + Cloves + Nutmeg
The perfect winter scent! The citrus combination of orange, lemon and the fresh apple will hit you as soon as you enter through the door. Add some spices to the mix and there you have it- a potpourri that is as good as it gets! It will remind you of everything that we love about the cold weather out there!
4. Lavender + Cloves + Cardamom
We can all agree that the most comforting smells in the house comes from the kitchen. And this combination of lavender mixed with spices like cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and star anise will take you back to the comfort of your grandma’s kitchen. Simmer these together on a stove top. The blend will retain its super strong smell for about 3 days.
5. Lavender + Flax Seed + Vanilla
These potpourris can be made into sachets as well and will be perfect as gifts for any occasion. The soothing effect of lavender combined with the sweet scent of vanilla will freshen up any room. Keep them in your bedrooms for a relaxing sleep or carry them around in your gym bags or cars.
6. Lemon + Vanilla + Rosemary
Perfect for those much-needed, stay-at-home spa days that we all love so much! A few slices of lemon, some rosemary, cinnamon and vanilla. You can add some pine cones to it too if you want to add a touch of must to it. Make a dry potpourri or a water soak out of this and you’ll immediately be transported back to your favorite spa. Add some good, soft music in the background and you’ll feel just as relaxes as you would after a day of good massages and facials.
7. Rose Petals + Herbs + Lavender
For those who dream of spending their days in a meadow or amongst their flower beds in the garden. The strong smell of sweet roses and lavender will transport you from your homes. Dry them under the sun for a few days to take the moisture out along with herbs of your choice, then add some essential oils to the blend. This potpourri looks super beautiful when displayed in a glass vase or a copper bowl, elevating the aesthetics of your home interiors.
8. Cranberry + Orange + Spices
As surprising as it might seem, cranberries are a very popular choice for potpourris. Mix some with sliced oranges, rosemary and spices of your choice and it will instantly liven your place up. Put these out for the guests, it will instantly make their noses very happy and you the best host ever.
9. Bergamot + Geranium + Rose + Jasmine
A beautifully balanced blend to keep your home smelling fresh and breezy always. Dry these flower petals together and infuse them with essential oils of your choice. Display them around the house in glass vases or make sachets
to be hung on door knobs or placed in suitcases, drawers, closets, etc. The long-lasting smell of these flowers will keep your closets and home smelling fresh for months!
10. Pine Cones + Apple + Citrus
Who doesn’t love pine cones, right? They’re not only beautiful but when infused with essential oils, work great as diffusers in themselves. Add these to some dehydrated fruits and spices with a few drops of essential or aroma oils, and they’ll amp up any corner. Great as center pieces or corner decorations, they’ll make you happy every time you see them!
Bonus: You can add some small trinkets or pebbles to you potpourri vases to make them look as good as they smell. From marbles to artificial plants to fairy lights, anything goes!
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Useful Tip: When placing a potpourri in bathrooms, where there are higher chances of foul smells, hide a charcoal brick in your jars. They will absorb any unpleasant odors. Not only that, they will also absorb moisture preventing any mold or dew build up in the bathroom. Make sure you use dry bricks so that they don’t overpower the smell of your mixes.
Because of their versatility, potpourris make for amazing gifts too. They are extremely thoughtful and sincere. You can either buy them off the shelves or make them yourself. The fact that you put in time and energy into making it, can help convey a message of care and appreciation to its receivers. Pack them in mason jars, apothecary jars, covered candy dishes or make sachets. Compliment them with herb packets or essential oils to make it easier for them refresh it. Potpourris don’t just bring beauty to your houses but instill your homes with happy memories and feelings.
Potpourris scents are all about having fun. There’s no way that you can make a wrong choice. Choose whatever ingredients you love and just play with them. They’re so inexpensive you don’t even have to worry if some of those combinations don’t hit the mark. And hey, you never know, you might just discover an unusual combination that works unbelievably well together! The best thing about potpourris is that you can refresh or reactivate them by mixing them up and adding a few drops of essential oils to them. You can also try out a couple of different oils when refreshing them to make something new. Honestly, developing special mixes of your own is the most fun part of making potpourris.