Thanks to tougher, more weather-resistant varieties, such as the 'Phenomenal' plant, lavender lovers in the humid South can use creative avenues to enjoy this sun-loving aromatic, which will flourish in raised beds or container gardens despite our Southern climate.Pruning in late summer or early fall encourages good air circulation, which guards the lavender plant against rot.Since lavender will grow vigorously in the right conditions, you should prune back at least one-third of an established plant each year in order to ensure the best possible growth outcomes.Harvesting in the spring or early summer will give your lavender plant enough time to possibly produce even more of its fragrant flowers for a second cutting.Using your thumb and middle finger, encircle a bunch of stems above the leaves and make a clean cut, being careful not to crush any flowers. .
How to Harvest, Prune & Dry Lavender Flowers ~ Homestead and
In this article, we’ll go over the best time to harvest lavender, exactly where to trim it, as well as how to give the plant a deeper prune.Then I’ll show you three ways to dry fresh lavender buds, and share plenty of ideas on what to do with them!In general, lavender can grow as a perennial in USDA zones 5 through 10, though nuances among each variety or climate can make the plants more or less happy.That is because lavender thrives in warm, sunny, arid Mediterranean climates, and it doesn’t do well in high humidity or wet conditions.When planting lavender directly in the ground, choose a sunny location with excellent drainage and sandy soil.Follow these tips to start lavender seeds indoors, but give them up to a month or two to germinate.If you aren’t sure what your USDA growing zone is, use this simple zip code lookup tool to find out.I always suggest plant shopping at locally-owned nurseries – they’ll likely carry lavender varieties best suited to your area!We grow a wide selection of French, Spanish, and English lavender varieties in our temperate garden.Harvesting lavender flowers in the early spring will give the plant ample time to produce another flush of blooms to enjoy again in the late summer to fall.If you have hopes for the highest fragrance and essential oil content, the best time to harvest individual lavender flowers is early in their bloom cycle.Also, mature browning flower buds will crumble and fall off the stem more easily, which isn’t ideal for bouquets and can make for a messy drying process.Finally, herbalists traditionally harvest medicinal flowers in the early morning, once any dew has dried but when the plants are still perky from the cool night air.You may find the need to do this with smaller, compact lavender plants that have less space between the bud and leaf nodes.After harvest, you ’ll be left with a nice little bunch of lavender – perfect to hang and dry, or to display as a beautiful bouquet.To enjoy lavender like classic cut flowers, simply place the harvested blooms in a vase of water (if you don’t intend to dry them).Within a few days after trimming the center stem, the young side branches will rapidly grow and develop flower buds of their own.The first and less crucial “pruning” session can simply be harvesting a good amount of the first bloom of flowers in spring.Even if you aren’t harvesting flowers to keep and dry, the act of deadheading (removing spent blooms) is great for overall plant health and promotes new growth.The best time to give your lavender plant a slightly harder prune is in the fall, after the last bout of flowers fades.Trim at least a few inches above the naked woody part, leaving behind a couple leaf nodes per branch.We have cut some established plants that were yellowing and looking a bit sad waaaaaay back (almost to the ground, into the “no-no” woody zone) and they were full of lush new growth within a few months.This massive lavender bush had grown unchecked to block an entire pathway in our front yard garden (out past the row of pavers) – so we hacked it back hard!I knew it was established enough to handle a good prune, and I did end up cutting down into the wood growth in some places.Even though I cut into the woody parts (avoiding the main “trunk”), you can see fresh new green growth already starting to sprout from the wood.Collect handful-size bouquets, secure the stems together with twine or a rubber band, and hang them upside down to passively dry.Large dense bunches of lavender will receive less air flow, dry more slowly, and are more prone to developing mold.Large dense bunches of lavender will receive less air flow, dry more slowly, and are more prone to developing mold.The time it takes to fully dry can vary from a couple of weeks to over a month, depending on your climate.Living near the coast, we experience a bit of fog and mild humidity, and our decorative lavender dries pretty well this way.Inadequately dried herbs that contain leftover moisture can easily cause medicinal oils to develop mold and spoil.However, it is best to avoid overheating the lavender in order to preserve the highest level of essential oils and therapeutic benefits possible.Even though I will only dry the buds themselves, I like to remove the entire long flower stem during harvest to keep the plant looking fresh.Our Excalibur dehydrators have a “living foods” setting (95-105°F), designed to preserve beneficial plant enzymes.Our Excalibur dehydrators have a “living foods” setting (95-105°F), designed to preserve beneficial plant enzymes.Some traditional herbalists simply lay out their fresh herbs and flowers to dry on screens, or in airy baskets.Homemade herb drying racks can be assembled of a single or many “shelves” of flat framed screens.Also like the first method, allowing lavender to passively dry on screens or in baskets requires warm arid conditions – and time.Otherwise, snip or strip the flower bud portion off of the stem and store it in an airtight glass container for maximum freshness, flavor, and aroma.With natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and pain relieving properties, dry lavender is ideal to use in homemade medicine and body care products.Use a small mesh bag or cheesecloth to create sachets of soothing lavender potpourri, perfect for a dresser drawer, bathroom, car, or bedside table.We make homemade organic lavender salve (learn how to here), and recently began offering it in the Homestead and Chill shop!My friend Tanya over at Lovely Greens has a great recipe to make lavender bath bombs.Lavender can be included in sweet and savory marinades – most often used for meats, but also amazing with roasted potatoes or other veggies.Sprinkle dry lavender in your chicken coop and nesting boxes to repel flies, cut odor, and calm your hens.We routinely add old dead-headed lavender buds and stems as a soil top-dressing in potted plants, to serve as organic mulch as well as repel pests.Our homemade lavender salve (now available for sale here) works wonders on dry skin, bites, scrapes, stings, scars, and more. .
Growing Lavender: Planting & Care Guide
Lavender, an herb with many culinary uses, also makes a stunning addition to borders and perennial gardens, providing sweeping drifts of color from early summer into fall.With its silvery-green foliage, upright flower spikes and compact shrub-like form, lavender is ideal for creating informal hedges.It typically starts blooming a few weeks later than most English lavenders and features long spikes of highly fragrant flowers.Although not considered edible (due to high camphor content), the flowers and foliage are often added to sachets and potpourris.Although all lavender (Lavandula) is native to the Mediterranean, there are many varieties offering a vast selection of bloom times, colors, flower forms, and sizes.Some hybrids come in other lovely pastel hues such as violet blue, rose, pale pink, white, and even yellow.Because of its Mediterranean origin, lavender loves blazing hot sun and dry soil.English lavenders and their hybrids are the best varieties for cooler climates, since they are cold hardy north to Zone 5.For southern gardens in extremely hot, humid climates, Spanish and French lavenders are more tolerant of the moist conditions, but should be spaced apart to allow good air circulation.If your winters are too harsh or your soil is heavy and dense, consider growing lavender in containers.They will flourish as long as they receive at least 8 hours of direct sunlight a day and are planted in a high-quality potting mix with good drainage.Because of its low profile, you can use it as a tidy hedge plant around herb or perennial gardens or alongside walkways.Growing to 3 feet tall and wide, this heavy bloomer needs ample space to accommodate its vigorous growth habit.L. angustifolia This early-flowering English lavender is tolerant of tough growing conditions, including heat, humidity, and drought.It grows to a compact height of 12 to 18 inches and produces masses of lavender blue flowers from late spring well into summer.Lavandula x intermedia 'Provence' is one of the tallest of the lavandin cultivars and gets its name from the area in southeastern France where it is commercially grown for the perfume industry.L.
angustifolia True to its name, ‘Thumbelina Leigh’ is a dwarf English lavender ideal for containers, low borders, and rock gardens.It produces a profusion of strongly fragrant, violet-blue flower spikes that will bloom continuously from early to mid summer.L. angustifolia Silvery white blooms with a light-blue blush distinguish this attractive English lavender cultivar.It has silvery foliage like other English lavenders but produces delicately scented light-pink flowers that gradually fade to white.It produces bi-colored purple and deep blue flowers on stems that fan out around the plant, so the form is not as tidy as some other cultivars.L.
angustifolia 'Royal Velvet' English Lavender is a real showstopper, producing velvety, richly colored navy and purple flower spikes on tall 2 to 2.5 foot stems.It blooms from late spring to early summer and is one of the best lavenders for use in dried arrangements because the flowers retain their gorgeous color.Use lavender along walkways and garden paths where you can enjoy their scent and where they can benefit from the heat reflected off the pavement.Create aromatic hedges or borders along fences and garden walls as shown in this video for Sweet Romance® lavender.The scent deters mosquitoes, flies, fleas, and other problem insects while attracting butterflies and bees.A member of the mint family, lavender has been used for centuries as a versatile, unexpected flavoring in both sweet and savory foods.English lavenders are the best varieties for culinary purposes, and both the buds and leaves can be used fresh or dried.Chop the fresh buds and add to a cake batter or sweet pastry dough before baking.Add flower buds to preserves or fruit compotes to give them subtle spicy notes.Make Herbes de Provence by blending dried lavender with thyme, savory, and rosemary.In midsummer, use hedge clippers or hand pruners to shape the plant into a symmetrical mound, like a shallow bowl turned upside down.In zone 7, where you live, and northward, you can perform that annual haircut in early spring or in midsummer, right after heavy flowering. .
How to Prune Lavender
An annual pruning is an important step for long-lasting lavender (Lavandula spp.and hybrids) plants.Without it they grow a large, lanky, woody base that can split open — it looks bad and shortens the plant’s lifespan.Start pruning lavender when it’s small to encourage your new plant to focus on making more roots and branching stems, which results in a nice mounded habit later.The dotted line in the illustration above shows you how to cut foliage and any flowers back by one-third to one half before planting.With the outside stems slightly shorter than the center ones so the plant will have a mounded growth habit from the start.Lavender grows quickly, so by the second year, the plant should be about twice as big and ready for pruning once the blooms are spent (or cut blooms while they're still fresh and make a luxurious lavender sugar scrub!).Follow these simple steps to keep your lavender looking great for years to come.Get a second flush of blooms quicker on reblooming varieties with deadheading.That encourages tender new growth which will be killed by winter cold, weakening the plant so it might not make it through another season. .
How to Prune Lavender Plants
A hardy plant for dry spots and one of the longest-blooming semi-shrubs around, lavender (Lavandula) would earn a place in most sunny gardens even if it didn’t have such a heavenly scent.There’s more good news: Lavender is easy to prune, and when you do it you’ll be covered for the rest of the day in those aromatic oils.Pruning in late summer or early fall before the first frost encourages good air circulation, which guards against rot.Lavender is regarded as a semi-shrub or subshrub—a plant that looks like a perennial because most of its growth is soft and green but older base stems turn to wood. .
How to Prune Lavender: Simple Tips
“Pruning lavender keeps it looking full, encourages new growth and flowering, and gives you lots of fresh tips to harvest throughout the season,” says Amy Fedele, a home gardening expert and Pretty Purple Door blogger.Since lavender dislikes extreme heat or cold, it can grow perennially in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 8.North or south of those zones, it does better as an annual, or in containers that are brought inside during extreme wet or cold weather.“Ideally, you should prune your lavender twice in a growing season — once in early spring and once in late summer, after it’s done blooming,” she says.Do your last pruning by early fall, especially if you live in a cold climate, where frost can damage fresh growth.If you live where there’s risk of extreme cold, Connecticut nursery White Flower Farm experts advise that you cover your lavender plants with evergreen boughs to protect them from frigid winds. .
Growing lavender & pruning lavender for plant health
These plants may need a sheet covering the lavender bush during winter ice storms.Most damage occurs when ice coats stems, leaves, and base for several days.It's best to plan a pruning routine to reduce maintenance and to harvest the best dried lavender bundles from your plants in a timely manner.This method reduces loosing valuable buds and eliminates the need to return for another day of pruning your lavender plants.Pruning & harvesting lavender (LEFT)has a specific method on where to cut to reduce stress on the plant.This reduces stress on the plant by avoiding pruning into the woody growth which can lead to rot.Leaving two leaf sets encourages stable growth and a healthier thicker lavender plant.This reduces stress on the plant by avoiding pruning into the woody growth which can lead to rot.Leaving two leaf sets encourages stable growth and a healthier thicker lavender plant. .
How To Collect Lavender Seeds From Your Garden
Collect lavender seeds from your garden is fun, and you can share them with friends.Below I will show you exactly when and how to harvest lavender seeds, and also how to save them for planting next year.I love collecting seeds from my garden so I can grow more of my favorites, or share them with friends.It’s very easy to harvest lavender seeds and save them to grow next year, or to share with friends.Once they’re ready, collecting lavender seeds from the garden doesn’t take much time.After the flowers have faded, lavender seed pods will start to form in their place.If you want to separate the seeds from the chaff (you don’t need to do this), dump them onto a flat surface, and lightly blow on the pile.Once they’re dry, lavender seeds can be stored in plastic containers (film canisters work great!I like to store mine in a plastic shoe box, but if you’re more organized than I am, a Seed Keeper would be perfect.Share your tips for collecting lavender seeds in the comments section below. .