Drying Lavender: How to Dry Lavender Flowers at Home

Updated on June 3, 2015
DIY lavender drying.
DIY lavender drying. | Source

There are many uses for dried lavender in and around the home. It can be used in home medical remedies, for scenting a room, in potpourri, for cooking, and for making lavender bags or lavender sachets.

Also, dried lavender is attractive and decorative. Some people hang them in bunches around the home or use them as part of a dried flower arrangement.

You can, of course, buy lavender already dried. But why would you when you can do it yourself at home?

It's an easy plant to grow, and adds a wonderful scent and colour to any garden. It's also a plant bees love, so you might not want to harvest all of it—leave a little for the bees.

Once you do grow lavender and harvest it, it's fun to dry for use in all of the aforementioned projects. This article explains how best to cut and dry lavender, and how to store it for later use.


Choosing the Right Time to Harvest

A field of lavender grown commerically at a lavender farm in Spain.
A field of lavender grown commerically at a lavender farm in Spain.

You should pick your lavender when it has just opened fully and smells fragrant.

The newly-opened blossoms and fragrance means it has a strong concentration of the essential oils and freshness you want to preserve.

If you leave the flowers to bloom for longer, the dried bunches will be less potent.

It's best to harvest lavender in the early evening, after a dry day. Harvesting at this time will mean that you do not need to dry any rain or morning/evening dew before being able to dry the flowers.

How to Harvest

When it's time to cut your lavender get a pair of sturdy scissors or secateurs. Then follow these steps to harvest the plants:

  • Cut carefully, avoiding crushing the flowers.
  • You should cut just above the leaves, with a good long stem, to make it easier to hang the stalks for drying.
  • Don't cut into the woody part of the plant; leave an inch or two at least of the green growth to encourage future flowering.
  • Don't worry about damaging the plant—pruning like this will encourage the bush to grow even more enthusiastically the following year.
  • Even if you want to leave some stalks of flower for the bees so that the rest of your garden benefits, it's a good idea to cut the stalk once the flowers as finished to encourage new and healthy growth next year.

Preparing the Lavender Stalks for Drying

Dried lavender flowers still on the stalks.
Dried lavender flowers still on the stalks.

If you have a drying rack for flowers and herbs, by all means use it. But while racks are useful, if you do not have one, they're not essential.

If you don't have a rack, all you need is some string. There are two ways of tying the lavender stalks for drying:

  • The first is to group about half a dozen lavender stalks together and tie the bunch firmly with string. This is the quicker method.
  • The second is to tie the stalks individually, with about 3 inches between them. Each stalk is tied with a knot in the string so that if the ends of the string are held taut, the stalks hang individually from the string rather than in a bunch.

The first method is quicker and easier, and fine if you live in a place with low humidity. The second is useful if you live in a fairly humid area—the flowers will benefit from being separated and dry more quickly than they would otherwise.

You can also use rubber bands to hold the ends of the stalks together.

Drying the Flowers

Once the lavender stalks are on a rack, or tied with string, you need to find a place to put them while they dry.

It's important that the stalks and flowers are in a dark and dry place so that they do not get mould or rot before they dry properly.

A warm place is best. The ideal drying area is 30 to 32 degrees Celsius for the first 24 hours, and 24 to 28 degrees after that. It doesn't have to be exact, don't worry.

Suitable drying places include attics, lofts, and airing cupboards.

If you don't have a place that's suitably dark, you can cover the bunches with brown paper bags (with holes cut along the sides and bottom to allow air to circulate) and dry them in a place with more light.

Check the lavender every few days, as the stalks can shrink a little as they dry, and you may need to tighten the string or rubber bands.

It takes on average a month for the lavender to be thoroughly dried, but hanging longer will certainly do the bunches no harm.

Storage

Once it is dry, you need to store your dried lavender until you are ready to use it. You can store the flowers still attached to the stalks, the way they were dried, or by themselves, depending on the intended use.

If you want to keep it on the stalks, for hanging in a room or using in a dried flower arrangement, put the whole bunch in a paper bag and store them somewhere dry and dark, in a place that's neither too hot nor too cold. Dryness is more important than temperature.

If you want to use the flowers for cooking, tea, potpourri, or lavender bags, gently run your fingers along the stalks to remove the dried flowers. You can then store the flowers in a box or paper bag.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Kathleen 

        5 months ago

        If you want to use lavender to impress and baffle friends and family get the cookbook - The Lavender Cookbook- by Sharon Shipley, Try the Lavender chicken chili with white bean first. My family no looks forward to new taste treats with lavender.

      • profile image

        Linda 

        10 months ago

        How do you make lavender potpourri

      • profile image

        Liz 

        23 months ago

        I have just experimented with drying in the oven,hanging in small bunches in the greenhouse and hanging in small bunches in a dark room.

        The oven dried ones have no lavender smell after 3 weeks, the greenhouse dried are fine but the dark room ones are more successful and only take about a week longer. Hidcote is not as successful as Angustifolia.

      • profile image

        lavendar tea 

        5 years ago

        i hadn't thought about lavendar sachets what a nice idea...which type of lavendar do i use to make tea?

      • profile image

        Chris 

        6 years ago

        I've been looking for instructions and can't wait to make my bags! I use them for all sorts of things. Will definitely have to look up cookie recipes! I have English and Spanish Lavender. Are both dried the same?

      • Keri Summers profile image

        Keri Summers 

        6 years ago from West of England

        Hello P&O. I found these instructions so helpful, that I've included a link to your Hub in a "bunch" of Hubs about lavender. I hope you don't mind.

      • profile image

        Sharon 

        6 years ago

        I'm going to dry the leaves of my first-year's growth from my lavender plants. I hope to use them in my medicine bags that I keep in the freezer to use as ice packs when I have a migraine. I'm glad to learn that the plants will have flowers next year! Thanks for the info.

      • profile image

        H. Pinto 

        6 years ago

        I think the instructions are very precise and clear; anyone can understand it... even me. I wish everybody could explain other things this way. Great job!

      • StephenSMcmillan profile image

        StephenSMcmillan 

        6 years ago

        Learned something new here. Thanks to share.

      • profile image

        me 

        7 years ago

        i was wondering how you preserve the scent because mine does not smell any more, sadly. please answer back and thanks for all the information, it was very helpful.

        ps plz answer back asap!

      • profile image

        Rose 

        7 years ago

        VERY informative instructions, I'd like to try it myself. Was thinking to use it in my baking, but how do I know it's the right kind of lavender?

      • profile image

        Polly B 

        7 years ago

        I've been growing a well admired lavender hedge for many years and so far it was just for the bees and butterflies, which give me such pleasure to watch.. now I will dry half of it for me! thank you. have to replace next year as going very woody so have taken some cuttings... ready for planting in the spring. Roses and lavender, lovely!

      • profile image

        jacboromeo 

        7 years ago

        Some lavenders look nice but smell and taste nasty.

        You have to get the right kind if you are going to use it for food.

      • craftybegonia profile image

        craftybegonia 

        7 years ago from Southwestern, United States

        Great article. The aroma of lavender is wonderful!

      • profile image

        Julie Bell 

        7 years ago

        i use the lavender in post-natal bath herbs for healing after childbirth. along with other herbs such as yarrow, calendula etc, they make a beautiful fragrant herbal bath that speeds healing. wonderful for new mothers.

      • profile image

        Janet Vevere 

        7 years ago

        Thank you for the information. I was wondering if there was any way how to preserve the fragrance for a longer time? Doesn't draying the lavander for a month or longer in an opened space leads to losing the fragrance? As I am trying to do an English garden near Rome, my lavander is still in full bloom...

        Thanks!

      • profile image

        KK 

        7 years ago

        I use my dehydrator and it makes the house smell amazing! Everyone loves it when I am drying my chocolate mint, lavender and other herbs....its amazing!

      • profile image

        Jules 

        7 years ago

        Very informative - just what I was looking for. Can't wait to make my lavender bags.

      • profile image

        Selena 

        7 years ago

        I Like to break up the dried lavender and use as a carpet fresh when I vacuum. I have a dog and the vacuum holds the dog odor in the bag I brought special bags and spray from Oreck but it did not help. The lavender does wonders and the vacuum does not smell like dog when I turn it on anymore.

      • profile image

        Johannah 

        7 years ago

        If anyone wants to go to somewhere beautiful then the Lavender field in Ickleford, Hitchin, Herts is the place to go. My children loved cutting it and bringing it home. I'm about to dry it so your website has been just as good a find.

      • profile image

        Heather Squires 

        7 years ago

        Can't wait to give it a go!

      • profile image

        Linda 

        8 years ago

        Thank you, need to dry all my lavender this year to throw at my daughters wedding in December. I guess now is about the right time to be doing it.

      • profile image

        Lois 

        8 years ago

        My lavender is not as fragrant these last 2 years as it was the first year we moved here. I don't know how old it is. Should I cut it back in the fall?

      • profile image

        Nicki 

        8 years ago

        Finally, easy to understand instructions to use this awesome plant.

      • Plants and Oils profile imageAUTHOR

        Plants and Oils 

        8 years ago from England

        Thanks very much, glad you liked it.

      • Gift Experts profile image

        Gift Experts 

        8 years ago

        interesting ideas......

        thanks!

      • askjanbrass profile image

        askjanbrass 

        8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

        Beautiful Hub!!

        Thanks..

      • Plants and Oils profile imageAUTHOR

        Plants and Oils 

        8 years ago from England

        Glad you found it useful, hope your lavender dries well

      • joebangles profile image

        joebangles 

        8 years ago

        Thanks, I have just found this post at the right time as my lavender is ready from your description, but waiting now for the rain to move away for a couple of days, a good explanation.

      • Plants and Oils profile imageAUTHOR

        Plants and Oils 

        9 years ago from England

        Thanks Deborah, glad you have found it useful.

      • Deborah-Lynn profile image

        Deborah-Lynn 

        9 years ago from Los Angeles, California

        This is the information I have been looking for, thanks so much! I have so many lavender plants, I now do not have to limit my enjoyment to outdoors, dried lavender makes such lovely wreaths.

      • Plants and Oils profile imageAUTHOR

        Plants and Oils 

        9 years ago from England

        Lavender fields are wonderful, thanks Audrey!

        Brian, home-made lavender bags are the best.

      • BrianS profile image

        Brian Stephens 

        9 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

        My wife harvests our lavender and turns it into hand sewn lavender bags, they smell really good and its much better than letting it all go to waste.

      • profile image

        audrey 

        9 years ago

        Beautiful lavender fields.

      • Plants and Oils profile imageAUTHOR

        Plants and Oils 

        9 years ago from England

        Lavender is great for cooking and herbal tea, too.

        Make sure you plant it in well-drained soil, lavender needs to avoid water-logged soils.

        If you plant in spring, you should get some flowers next year, and more the year after. The plants fade after about a decade.

      • LeM22 profile image

        LeM22 

        9 years ago from Northern VA

        Thanks. I just bought a lavendar plant and was wondering how to do that! Doesn't it take two years before it flowers?

      • Camping Dan profile image

        Camping Dan 

        9 years ago

        Lavender is easy to dry and I found a cookie recipe that uses it that I absolutely love.

      • LondonGirl profile image

        LondonGirl 

        9 years ago from London

        My parents have lots of lovely lavender bushes outside their house - it smells wonderful!

      • JamaGenee profile image

        Joanna McKenna 

        9 years ago from Central Oklahoma

        These instructions are clear enough that even I could dry lavender. Ans I'm told lavender makes a wonderful tea!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)