How to Make Potpourri Out of Rose Petals


Potpourris based on rose petals are fascinating to create and open to endless variation--spicy-rose, citrus-rose, minty-rose, and so on. The basic recipe represents just one way to create a rose petal potpourri. What's important is that rose petals (and rose buds in contrasting colors, if desired) comprise at least half of your dried plant materials, and that the fixatives make up at least 15 percent of your total potpourri. Use essential oils or fragrance oils to extend the rose-floral note.

Step 1

Prepare roses for drying by pruning them when the buds open halfway, or bringing rosebuds inside and allowing them to open in a vase filled with water. Crafter Louise Gruenberg suggests using red rose petals and pink rose buds, but follow your own preferences.

Step 2

Bundle the roses in groups of six, tie the stems loosely with a string, and hang them in a cool, dry place for at least two weeks.

Step 3

Separate the petals and buds from the stems and compost the remaining plant material.

Step 4

Put the petals and buds on a cookie sheet, screens or newspapers for two more days to ensure that no moisture remains.

Step 5

Place the heavier potpourri ingredients--the fixatives--in the bowl first. Use 1 cup oak moss and a total of 1 1/2 cups of any of the following: benzoin gum, orris root, sandalwood chips and tonka beans.

Step 6

Measure out either 3 1/2 cups rose petals and 1 1/2 cup rosebuds, or 5 cups rose petals, into a glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl.

Step 7

Add 5 cups, total, of any of the following dried ingredients: lavender buds, rose geranium leaves, woodruff, pennyroyal, orange blossoms, violet leaves, balm of Gilead buds, cinnamon sticks and star anise pieces.

Step 8

Blend 2 additional cups of dried plant material for flavor and color. Heather flowers, yarrow, feverfew, clover blossoms, small pine cones, linden leaves, rose hips, juniper berries and malva flowers all make good choices.

Step 9

Begin slowly to add dropperfuls, or gently drizzled teaspoons, of a total of 3 teaspoons of essential or fragrance oils. Use rose and/or rose geranium, carnation, and jasmine or ylang ylang.

Step 10

Evaluate the scent after adding about half of the essential oil blend. If it already seems overwhelming, stop. If not, finish adding the rest of the 3 teaspoons of the blend. (You can also decide to replace some of the second half of the blend with a spicy or citrus-based essential oil, rather than the rest of the floral blend.)

Step 11

Mix the potpourri gently and pour into one or several glass jars with screw-top lids.

Step 12

Set the jars in a dark cabinet for at least two weeks.

Step 13

Evaluate the final color and scent of your potpourri and make any necessary adjustments.

Step 14

Display the potpourri in an open bowl or in a clear glass jar with a stopper, which preserves the fragrance when the potpourri is not scenting the room. Package any extra in a pretty jar or box and give as a gift.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 to 3 dozen roses for drying
  • String to hang the roses
  • Cookie sheets, screens or newspapers
  • 5 cups additional dried plant materials, purchased or home-produced
  • 1 cup oak moss
  • 1 ½ cups additional fixative materials (orris root, benzoin gum, sandalwood chips and/or tonka beans)
  • Rose essential oil and/or rose geranium essential or fragrance oil
  • Jasmine or ylang ylang essential or fragrance oil
  • Carnation essential or fragrance oil
  • Ceramic, glass or stainless steel bowl
  • Droppers or teaspoons for essential oils
  • Several glass jars with screw lids, any size


  • "Potpourri: The Art of Fragrance Crafting"; Louise Gruenberg; 1990
  • Clemson University: Drying Flowers
Keywords: rose potpourri, drying petals, essential oils, floral potpourri

About this Author

Melissa Jordan-Reilly has been a writer for 20 years, both as a newspaper reporter and as an editor of nonprofit newsletters. Among the publications in which she has published are, "The Winsted Journal," "Taconic" and "Compass Magazine." A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Jordan-Reilly also pursues sustainable agriculture techniques and tends a market garden at her Northwestern Connecticut home.