I love the smell of lavender drying around the house. It is so soothing and calming, and just so lovely and homey too.
Gathering and drying lavender is easy. On this page I will show you how to gather lavender properly, two easy methods for drying lavender, and discuss some of its uses.
Make sure you take a look at my lavender crafts page for many more lavender craft and gift ideas :-)
Gather a long-stemmed variety of lavender if you can, or otherwise remove the excess leaves from each stem.
It is best to pick your lavender before it is in full bloom, i.e. before the little florets are completely open. This ensures that the dried buds will retain their fragrance for longer, and it also means that they won't fall apart as they dry.
As with most herbs, the best time to pick is in the mid-morning after the dew has evaporated.
If you want only dry lavender buds or petals and have limited hanging space, remove the lavender stalks from the fresh lavender, keeping the lavender heads.
Place your lavender heads in a layer at the bottom of a box lined with newspaper. Store this box in a warm, dry place, and gently shake each day to aerate. Once dried, rub the lavender heads to separate off the individual buds.
If you would like to dry lavender bunches, make sure you cut nice long stems of lavender. You can hang each stem individually to dry (time-consuming!), or gather together small bunches (so that your hand can wrap around the base of the bunch).
Secure the stems of lavender together with a rubber band, because the lavender will shrink as it dries. Once dried, you can replace the rubber band with a decorative ribbon or piece of raffia.
Hang your bunch of lavender upside-down to dry in a well ventilated area of your house (in your garage, from a curtain rail, etc). You can also pop a tray or paper under the lavender to catch any of the petals that might fall off during the drying process (these are good to use for making lavender sachets!).
The lavender drying time will depend upon the level of humidity and temperature, so check on your bundles periodically to assess their dryness. It can be anywhere from 1 week upwards (usually taking between 2-4 weeks).
Check that the buds and stalks are completely dry (they should feel dry and a bit brittle or crunchy to touch) before you use them, otherwise they might grow mould, fungus, or rot.
Once dried, remove the rubber band from around the stems, and use the dried lavender to make fragrant flower arrangements.
Why not gather together a large bunch of lavender and tie with a beautiful ribbon or some raffia? Put your bunch of dried lavender in a vase, or lay on a shelf or table. These bunches will add a beautiful fragrance and look to any room.
Alternatively, collect the lavender buds and use them in pot-pourri, lavender sachets, and other lavender craft projects. The remaining lavender stalks can be used as fragrant fire-starters during winter.
Make sure you store dried lavender out of direct sunlight, heat, and humid conditions (eg. your bathroom) to prolong the fragrance of your dried lavender.
Now that you have learnt how to dry lavender, check out my lavender craft ideas for lots of different ways you can use dried lavender around the home.
If you have any other drying lavender tips that you'd like to share, or you just want to say hello, then please contact me directly. It's always a pleasure hearing from you!