English lavender is a beautiful and fragrant plant that can be harvested for various purposes like oil extraction, making potpourri, or even culinary use. Harvesting time of English lavender is an important factor that determines the quality and yield of lavender. In this article, we will learn when to harvest English lavender and how to do it correctly.
Harvesting Time of English Lavender
English lavender, also known as angustifolia or true lavender, typically blooms in early summer between June and July. Harvesting time of lavender mainly depends on when the flowers are fully open, and the best time to harvest lavender is when:
- At least half of the flowers on a lavender spike have bloomed,
- The flowers on the spike are just starting to fade on the stem’s bottom half,
- When you rub the buds between your fingertips, and they feel dry and papery and release their strong aroma.
It is important to harvest lavender before the flowers have all gone to seed because it affects oil quantity and quality. The most delicate and desirable oil is extracted from the newly opened flower but can be taken from open flowers that are still on the stem’s lower half.
How to Harvest English Lavender?
Once you have determined that your lavender plants are ready to be harvested, it is time to begin the process. Here are the steps you can follow to harvest English lavender:
Step 1: Choose the right time of day
The best time to harvest lavender is early in the morning, after the dew has dried but before the heat of the day. This is because sunlight evaporates essential oils from the flowers, affecting the quality of the resulting oil, so harvesting in the cool morning air ensures the best quality lavender oil.
Step 2: Cut the lavender stalks
With a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears or scissors, cut the stem of a lavender spike just above the first or second set of leaves. Cut when at least half of the flowers are open and before the flowers on the spike start to wither. Make sure to leave enough foliage on the plant so that it can regrow in the spring.
Step 3: Bundle the lavender stems
Bundle no more than 100 stems together, tightly securing them with a rubber band or string. This makes it easier to handle the lavender and prevent bud drop. Store the bundle in a warm, dry place out of the direct sun and make sure that they have access to fresh air.
Step 4: Dry the lavender
Hang the bundles upside down in a warm, dry place that has good air circulation. This can be a warm room or a dry, dark place in your home or outside. It can take one to two weeks for the lavender to dry completely, check the bundles periodically until it is dry.
Step 5: Separate the lavender flowers
Once the lavender has dried completely, remove the flowers from the stem by pulling the buds off the central stem by dragging your fingers down the stalks.
In conclusion, harvesting English lavender is a pretty straightforward process. The best time to harvest lavender is when half or more of the flowers on the spike have bloomed, and the best time of day to harvest is early in the morning. Once you’ve harvested, bundle the stems, keep them in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place to dry, and then carefully separate the flowers from the stem. With these tips, you can enjoy a bountiful and fragrant lavender harvest.
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Last update 2023-12-09. Price and product availability may change.