Make Miniature Pomanders for Christmas

comments (0) December 18th, 2018

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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Pomanders are an old-fashioned favorite for adding the aroma of cloves to Christmas decorations and centerpieces.Click To Enlarge

Pomanders are an old-fashioned favorite for adding the aroma of cloves to Christmas decorations and centerpieces.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

As far back as ancient China, people have used clove-studded oranges to freshen stuffy rooms. These scented balls, also called pomanders, are still popular today as a type of Christmas potpourri. 

Instead of full-sized oranges, I decided to use pint-sized clementines. These small fruits are a type of mandarin orange, but smaller with an orange and glossy peel. Because the peel is thinner than a navel orange, it's easy to poke whole cloves through the peel to create pleasing designs.

Cloves are one of the most traditional Christmas scents. Cloves are a key ingredient for hot mulled wines, scented candles, baked goods and many other holiday treats.

For as long as I can remember, I've seen clove-scented pomanders used as hanging decorations or to fill a special bowl as a fragrant centerpiece. The aroma is especially long-lasting. 

Here's how to get started on your own miniature pomanders:


  • Clementines or other small orange citrus fruits
  • Whole cloves
  • Toothpicks
  • Decorative ribbon (optional)
  • Cinnamon (optional)


  1. Wash and dry clementines.
  2. Use a toothpick to create small holes to form a design with the cloves. Arrange the cloves in straight lines, create a star pattern or cover the entire surface of the orange with cloves. If you'd like to hang the pomander, leave space to wrap a ribbon around the clementine to tie at the top.
  3. Stick one clove in each of the toothpick holes until the design is completed.
  4. For more intense fragrance, sprinkle the finished pomander ball with cinnamon.

Hang or place the aromatic pomander balls where they'll be sure to help spread some Christmas cheer.

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posted in: spice, cloves