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Drying Roses and Making Potpourri

Dried Roses for Arrangements

For best results, we recommend that you arrange the roses in a vase with water and floral preservative, as you would with a regular arrangement. Let the roses open up until they are approximately halfway open. if you do not let them open at all, you end up with very small buds (if this is what you are looking for, proceed with the following instructions).

After you have allowed the roses to partially open, remove them from the vase, tie a string around the bottom of the stems and hang the bunch upside down in a dry place. It will, depending on the humidity, take about two weeks for the roses to completely dehydrate.

You will know when they are dry enough by gently squeezing the buds. If they are still soft then they are not yet dry. When the buds are quite firm, you may untie them and arrange as desired. It is possible to spray the buds with a ‘hardener’ (available at many craft stores), or hairspray, after they have dried. Doing this will help preserve the flowers and prevent crumbling.


Collect petals from the rose stem as the flower reaches fully open maturity, but before they turn brown. Dry them until crisp on a screen, cookie sheet or any flat surface. For each quart of petals you collect: add 1 tablespoon of fixative. Dry lavender, oak-moss, sandalwood or orrisroot are good choices and are available in chopped form at many herb and spice shops or drug stores. Add your favorite complimentary spice. Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, dried citrus peel and vanilla beans all make excellent choices. Add a few drops of essential oil (an aroma additive), or your favorite perfume.

Seal your potpourri mixture in a jar allowing it to mellow for approximately 10 days. To properly blend the ingredients, shake the jar lightly every couple of days. There are many uses for this delightful potpourri. Red roses, when dried, turn a rich burgundy color and look lovely in a ginger jar, candy dish, or antique canister. Add your potpourri to the stuffing of pillows, or hang it in the pomanders in your closet. Small sachets can be used in any drawer or be used as thoughtful little gifts for friends and loved ones.

An easy way to make a rose potpourri sachet is to place a small handful of the fragrant mixture in a lace or linen handkerchief or any other handy fabric and tie up the corners with a satin bow or ribbon. Let the gift of roses you receive give you enjoyment throughout the year by adding delightful fragrance to every room in your house.