fbpx

Harvesting Lavender

I got a late start on harvesting lavender this summer. I did that on purpose: I wanted to leave the flowers as long as possible for the bees. If last year was a useful indicator, we should have another harvest in the fall, and I’ll make sure that I harvest these on time. Harvesting lavender on time means starting when the flowers begin to bloom, but leaving food for the bees was more important during the summer season.

Lavender buds

We have hundreds and hundreds of lavender plants on the farm. Lavender provides a source of nectar for pollinators and a featured ingredient in our Peace of Mind collection. In your garden, you may only have a few bushes, but processing the blooms will be the same! Here are our most helpful tips for harvesting lavender.

new row of grosso X featuring yellow butterfly

When to harvest Lavender

First, you want to harvest your lavender when it just begins blooming (unless you’re leaving it to feed pollinators as we did). At bloom, your crop will have the freshest buds and be the most full of essential oils. You can harvest only a section of your plants to leave flowers for the bees if you would like.

cutting lavender
Cutting Lavender Spikes

Harvesting Tips

  • Harvest before sunrise. During the season, you expect new growth if you don’t cut the spikes too close to the plant. For the final harvest of the year,  cut spikes close to the plant shaping plants in mounds to get ready for the winter. 
  • Cut in bunches to make it easier for tying and drying.
  • Tie your bunches as soon as you cut them to keep everything tidy.
Banding Lavender
Wrap bunches that you plan on drying as soon as you harvest them
  • Wrap in bunches using a thick rubber band. Thin rubber bands break.
  • Create a “drying rack” by installing hooks in the ceiling of a cool, dark, and dry room. Attach a single row of chain links from the ceiling hooks to create the drying rack.
letting freshly harvested lavender dry
  • Insert a paper clip under the rubber band to use as a hook for hanging your lavender.
Rubber band and paperclip holding harvested lavender together
  • Hang lavender upside down in a cool, dry, dark place and let dry for 2-3 weeks.
letting freshly harvested lavender dry

Drying and Processing Lavender

Once the waiting period is over, you may begin processing your lavender. To do this, lay down a clean sheet, tarp, or paper to catch the lavender buds as you roll the bundles between your hands. You may find that crunching or shaking the bundles helps to remove the most buds.

Sift through the lavender buds and pick out any sections of stems, leaves, and large particulates that you may find. You may find small bits and pieces of other plant material as well, so pick that out when you see it.

  • Remove flowers by rubbing lavender bunches as if you are trying to start a fire with them.
  • Collect flowers and store them in an airtight container.
  • We store our dried lavender buds in the freezer for future use.
  • Store in a cool, dry, dark area.

How To Harvest Lavender

  • Decide what you are doing with the lavender flowers to determine the best time to harvest
  • Cut in bunches to make it easier for tying and drying
  • Tie bunches as soon as you cut them to keep everything tidy.
  • Wrap in bunches using a thick rubber band. (Thin rubber bands break.)
  • Create a “drying rack” by installing hooks in the ceiling of a cool, dark, and dry room.
  • Attach a single row of chain links from the ceiling hooks to create the drying rack.
  • Insert a paper clip under the rubber band to use as a hook for hanging your lavender.
  • Hang lavender upside down in a cool, dry, dark place and let dry for 2-3 weeks
  • Once the waiting period is over, begin processing your lavender on a clean sheet or tarp to catch the lavender buds as you roll the bundles between your hands.
  • Sift through the lavender buds and pick any stems, leaves, and large particulates 
  • Remove flowers by rubbing lavender bunches as if you are trying to start a fire with them.
  • Collect flowers and store them in an airtight container
  • Store in a cool, dry, dark area
  • You may freeze the buds for later use

FAQs

What is the Best Time of Day to Harvest Lavender?

Harvest, as the sun rises after the dew, has dried but before it’s so hot that the plant will burn in the heat of the sun, If it is particularly hot, as it is most of the time here in the south, we plan our harvest before the sun rises. If you prune properly, cutting spikes two inches above the bark, you will see regrowth before fall. At the final harvest of the year, cut spikes close to the plant shaping plants in mounds to prepare plants for the winter.

How Do You Dry Lavender?

• Cut in bunches
• Tie bunches to keep everything tidy.
• Wrap using a thick rubber band. (Thin rubber bands break.)
• Create a “drying rack” by installing hooks in the ceiling of a dry room. Attach a single row of chain links from the ceiling hooks to create the drying rack.
• Insert a paper clip under the rubber band to use as a hook for hanging your lavender.
• Hang lavender upside down in a cool, dry, dark place and let dry for 2-3 weeks
• Once the waiting period is over, begin processing your lavender on a clean sheet or tarp to catch the lavender buds as you roll the bundles between your hands
• Sift through the lavender buds and pick any stems, leaves, and large particulates 
• Remove flowers by rubbing lavender bunches as if you are trying to start a fire with them
• Collect flowers and store them in an airtight container
• Store in a cool dry dark area
• You may freeze the buds for later use

7 thoughts on “Harvesting Lavender”

  1. oh so French , how great to have this here locally,would love to be involved sometime soon!

  2. Very informative , never knew how it was done just remember seeing fields of lavender in Southern France.

    • So far this is how I do it. It’s lovely but very labor intense. Perhaps one day some equipment and some more hands will help move it along a little better! Thanks for the comments!

    • You are right! My best friend is gifted in creative problem solving. It may not always be the best solution but it may be the fastest! ;0)

  3. I’d like to know where you purchased the plants of lavender. I cannot find it locally nor does it grow well when I do….how do you do it????

    • Hi Sharlene, Thanks for writing! Whenever I’ve tried to grow them from seed it’s been a real disaster. When I did a small patch of lavender I bought my plants from a grower out of Davidsonville, Homestead Gardens. They have beautiful plant material. We plant thousands of plants so we buy from a grower that grows them specifically for us. I hope this helps.

Comments are closed.