For as long as I can remember, I’ve made it a point to grow lavender somewhere in my flower garden! Its aroma is absolutely incredible, it has a host of medicinal purposes, and it looks absolutely phenomenal paired with just about any other plant variety. For me, the hardest part about growing lavender was knowing how (and when) to harvest it! If you are like me, struggling with harvesting lavender, use these tips and tricks when harvesting your lavender! After harvest, what you do with it is completely up to you. Use it to make tea, essential oils, or press them for a dried flower arrangement!
Did you know that lavender is ready for harvest as soon as flower blooms appear? You read that right, as soon as your lavender sprouts, it’s ready to be harvested! Typically, it’s best to plan on harvesting lavender flowers after they bloom for the first time in the Spring. Many varieties bloom again in the summer, but these might not look as pretty. You’ll want to harvest as soon as the flowers open, so make sure that you are watching carefully! Now that we’ve established when to harvest, let’s talk how to harvest. Read the step-by-step instructions below for harvesting lavender!
Step One: Gather a bundle of lavender stems in your fist. You’ll want to grab a substantial amount but a number that isn’t too overwhelming or difficult to grab. Make sure that you are grabbing the area BELOW the blooms and don’t be afraid to hold them tight! Lavender is a hardy plant and you aren’t likely to hurt it when gathering like this.
Step Two: After you’ve wrapped your fist around the lavender stems of your choice, use a harvesting knife to cut through the green part of the plant, just above the woody growth found at the base of the plant. Always move the harvesting knife in the direction towards yourself. Take special care to avoid cutting into the woody area, as this will damage the lavender. Continue using the harvesting knife until all of the lavender stalks in the bunch have been cleanly sliced. For best results, wait to harvest lavender after any morning dew has dried.
Step Three: At the end of the growing season, you’ll want to take your harvesting knife out to the garden once more. But this time, it won’t be for a harvest, so pruning sheers are probably better. Come Fall, you’ll want to remove any dead plant matter from your lavender. Be sure to cut back dead plant stems and make an effort to remove any other unsightly part of the plant. Upon finishing, your lavender may look a little small (and perhaps even wilted) but you’ll notice massive growth come Spring!
Step Four: Now, you’ll just need to decide what you want to do with your freshly harvested flowers! Use this recipe to learn how to make your own essential oil, this one for DIY soap, and this recipe for homemade lavender sugar cookies. Yum!