When should lavender be harvested?

lavenderIf you are not a commercial grower, why not leave the flowers on the bush for yourself or the bees and butterflies to enjoy all summer? Lavender is harvested according to the desired end product.

Fresh Flowers: Spikes are best cut when the stem is one-quarter to one-third opened. The majority of the spikes will still be in the bud stage. Cut flowers can be set in water for 2-3 days.

Potpourri and Sachets: Harvest the lavender flowers when the stem is ½ bloomed. If the flower is to remain on the stem for dried bunches or wreaths, hang to dry in a cool, dry location with low-light. Sun will bleach the color from the flowers. At this point there may be a few brownish withered flowers on the stem. Stems can be stripped of the lavender buds for sachets after drying.

Oil: As a general rule, the optimum time to cut for oil depends on the cultivar, generally this is when ½ of the flowers on the spike have withered. The longer on the spike the more oil.

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