If you want to harvest and dry your own lavender but concerned it’s a complicated process, then read on to see how easy it really is.
You can make lots of bunches of sweetly scented dried lavender yourself with just a few steps.
Basic items needed:
- Sharp scissors or cutters
- Basket or flat shallow container
- String or rubber bands
- Location for drying
Lavender can be harvested at any time during the bloom cycle. However, its fragrance and color is at its peak when flower buds have formed but not yet opened.
The best time to harvest lavender is in mid-morning once the dew is gone and the heat of the sun has not affected the plants. Heat and sunlight make the fragrant oils evaporate.
There may be a few flowers starting to bloom on the stem. If using the lavender for crafting, make sure the flowers are in the very early stage of bloom. Older flowers tend to fall off during drying or when handled. Choose stems that have closed buds or in very early stage of the blooming cycle for best results.
When cutting stems, use a sharp blade or cutter to prevent damage to the plant. Cut the stem above the point where two side leaves or branches have started to form. Now the plant will grow new branches and flowers for future cutting.
Collect cut stems in a flat container where you can spread out the cuttings rather than bunching together. Avoid using enclosed containers such as bags or sacks that limit air flow or build up heat.
Gather stems in bunches and secure the stems with twine or rubber bands. Rubber bands keep the stems secure but are a little more difficult to remove from stiff dried stems, unless you cut them.
A piece of string about 14” – 16” works well. Leave a tail on one end for hanging the bunch. If using rubber bands, use wire to hook into rubber bands for hanging. A partially un-bent paper clip works well for this too.
To avoid mold forming don’t layer stems deeply or tie too tightly together. If in doubt make smaller sized bunches.
The ends of the bunches can be cut even or left at different lengths.
Here is a free download for a DIY Lavender wreath you can make yourself.
Hang the bunches upside down so flowers will stay erect as they dry in a dark dry location. To help maintain the flower color keep protected from direct sunlight. Leave space between bunches so they don’t become entangled with each other. Buds can be stripped off trying to untangle stems and they can get messy!
Lavender dries best when there is good airflow. You can open windows or use fans to improve circulation. Check the hanging lavender regularly to assure no mold is forming. As the stems dry, they may loosen within the string tie so check to make sure they are still secure and won’t slide out.
Your lavender is fully dry when stems snap rather than bend. This can take 2 – 4 weeks depending on conditions.
Now you know how to harvest and dry lavender and can have bunches of it ready for your next project.
Extend your enjoyment of this much-loved flower and its lingering scent well into the year by using dried lavender throughout the house. It makes a great gift that friends will love because you did it yourself!