Lavender is a beautiful, fragrant flower that is widely used for its wonderful fragrance in potpourri, soap, and sachets. It is also a popular herb for cooking and medicinal purposes. However, if you are growing lavender, you need to know when to harvest it to ensure it retains its fragrance and flavor. In this article, we will guide you about the right time to harvest lavender flowers.
When to Harvest Lavender Flowers?
Timing is Vital
The timing of the lavender harvest is critical to get the maximum potency of the flowers. Harvesting too early will lead to immaturity of the flowers, and harvesting too late will cause the flowers to lose the fragrance and flavor. Timing also depends on the variety of lavender you are growing.
Check when the buds are in bloom
The first method to check whether the lavender buds are in bloom is by looking at the buds on the stalks. The buds start to bulge up, and the peduncle that supports them becomes stiff. In some varieties, the buds may change color from green to purple or blue. Lavender flowers usually bloom from June to August, so it is usually best to check on your plants around early to mid-July.
The sniff test
The next method to check the harvest time is by sniffing the flowers. Inhale deeply and check if the fragrance is strong and sweet. If the scent doesn’t feel strong, that means your lavender still needs some more time on the plant.
Known ideal time based on variety
The ideal time to harvest lavender also depends on species. For instance, English lavender should be harvested when the buds have not opened, and the color is purple. In contrast, French and Spanish lavender should be harvested right after it begins to bloom.
Consider external factors
Other factors that you should keep in mind while harvesting lavender plants include weather conditions and sunlight exposure. Harvesting lavender after a dry spell will produce a higher oil yield in the flowers. Conversely, harvesting lavender in damp conditions can lead to mildew growth, affecting the quality of lavender oil.
Step by Step Guide to Harvest Lavender
When harvesting lavender, remember to follow these simple steps to retain fragrance and quality:
- Use pruning shears to cut off the flower stalks a few inches down from the buds.
- Harvest the lavender when it is dry and sunny, usually in the morning before the sun has evaporated the essential oils.
- Avoid cutting more than one-third of the plant at a time, as this could inhibit growth in the following season.
- Hang the flower stalks in bundles to dry in a dark, airy room. It takes about ten days to dry lavender completely.
- Strip the dried flowers off the stalks to store them in a dark, cool place.
Yardley English Lavender Hand Soap
Harvesting lavender at the right time is crucial to retaining fragrance and flavor. The right time to harvest lavender is critical because it will determine how fragrant and potent the flowers will be. Use the sniff test, check the buds’ stage, and other external factors to determine the right time. After harvesting, be sure to dry the plants in a dark and airy room, strip the flowers off the stalk, and store them in a cool, dark place. Follow these simple steps, and you will have high-quality, fragrant lavender flowers ready for use.
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Last update 2023-03-31. Price and product availability may change.