The beauty and fragrance of lavender blossoms capture the hearts of people worldwide. This plant has been cultivated for centuries and is prized for its medicinal properties.
The beginning of the lavender flowering season is just around the corner, so if you’ve been wondering how to harvest and use this plant, you’re in the right place to find out.
You’ll also see some growing tips and easy methods for drying and storing this captivating plant.
Let’s embrace the magic of lavender!
How To Harvest Lavender
We always start the harvesting process by gathering tools.
One of the best tools to use when cutting a lot of lavender blossoms is a harvesting knife. If you don’t have this tool, or your lavender patch is small, you can use a sharp pair of scissors.
Also prepare a basket and a couple of rubber bands if you plan to dry bunches of lavender.
Before I show you the harvesting process, I would like to briefly go through the care requirements of lavender.
Quick Tips For Growing Lavender
This aromatic herb is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 10. You can keep it in containers or grow it as an annual if you live in hardiness zones 4 and below.
Growing lavender isn’t a hard task; it isn’t finicky over growing conditions but there are some things to pay attention to. One of the essential things to provide for your lavender is a free-draining and fertile soil type (apply a layer of mulch over the soil).
Also make sure it’s exposed to full sun for at least 6 hours per day. Lavender drought-tolerance is another reason why growers decide on these plants.
You can use lavender in different garden designs, such as rocky, scented, or cottage gardens.
English, French, and Spanish lavender are the three most popular types. If you want to add lavender to your low-maintenance garden, English lavender is the best choice.
French lavender has a stronger scent and a more compact growth habit.
Choose Spanish lavender if you need a plant for borders and you prefer a delicate fragrance.
When To Harvest
Many growers, especially beginners, harvest lavender when they have time during the day, which is completely reasonable but not recommended. There’s one simple word I use when someone asks me when to harvest this plant: early.
This means that you should start harvesting early in the flowering season and early in the morning.
For instance, if you want to extract oils from lavender blossoms, it’s better to start harvesting when the flower buds haven’t opened yet. Harvesting during the hottest part of the day will affect the scent, i.e., it will evaporate.
Tips For Harvesting
When harvesting this wonderful plant, grab a few stems and cut them off just above the node. If you intend to dry the blossoms, take a rubber band and put it on the bunch.
One of the best techniques to prepare lavender for drying is putting the bunches on a paper towel. Freshly picked flower heads still have some moisture inside and a paper towel will absorb it.
By using this method, you’ll promote air circulation between each harvested portion and prevent mold development.
If you intend to use the blossoms in flower arrangements, put them in a vase filled with cool water to preserve freshness.
Tips For Pruning
Once the blossoming season ends, you can start pruning. Cut off approximately ⅔ of the plant above the soil line. Be careful not to damage woody plant sections because it can harm your lavender.
These herbs typically generate blossoms twice in the growing season. This means you’ll need to prune at the beginning of the summer and at the end when the second blooming cycle finishes.
It will help your lavender to retain a more compact shape and display new healthy growth in the next season.
If your plants are still young, don’t prune during the first year of growth. Once they establish, which typically takes a year, you can start pruning.
How To Dry Lavender Blossoms
I’m sure you’ve heard of many methods for drying lavender but I’ll show you three most common.
We’ll start with the easiest one. Simply take the bundles secured with rubber bands and hang them in a dark, dry spot with good airflow.
The second method requires a little more effort but takes less time. Place the bundles in a food dehydrator at 95-105 degrees Fahrenheit and leave it for a day or two until it’s completely dry.
Some gardeners prefer to put the harvested lavender stems to dry on screens. Alternatively, use airy baskets to dry the stems or buds.
Storing Dried Lavender
Once your lavender is completely dry, it’s time to store it. Remember that even a little moisture can lead to mold.
The first thing you need to do is separate the blossoms from the stalks. I simply rub them between my hands to do this.
Now take an airtight container, put the dried blossoms inside, and seal it tightly.
Dried lavender may lose its original color if exposed to light, so it’s best to store the container in a dark spot. You can also use colored containers because they’ll prevent the sun from reaching your dry lavender.
Make sure the air circulation is good to prevent mold development.
6 Ways To Use Dried Lavender Flowers
Your lavender is now ready to use! I’m sure you’ve many seen different ways of using these herbs when dry, but I’ll show you my favorites.
1. Make a homemade lavender soap. Here’s a tutorial https://youtu.be/XL20kRuOHB0
2. Take a cheesecloth, put some dried lavender inside, and place it in your closet or near your bed. This is one of the bedroom plants that improve sleep.
3. Make a lavender sugar by mixing a cup of dried lavender with a cup of sugar and blending it for about 15 seconds. Put the mixture in a bowl, add one more cup of sugar, and whisk it well.
4. Use it to make a dream pillow.
5. Make an infused oil and use it to treat bug bites or burns.
6. Make a sachet and put it in stinky shoes.
As you can see, lavender is simple to grow, harvest, prune, and dry. Since it has many excellent uses, there’s no reason not to start growing it in your garden!