How late can you harvest lavender?
Lavender flowers and buds are harvested throughout the growing season from late spring until early fall.
You can harvest lavender buds as long as it is blooming. And you can gather the leaves as often as you want at any time during the summer.
Generally, you want to harvest a stem of lavender when about half of the buds are in bloom. Of course, you may not be inclined to harvest lavender stem by stem. You can approach your lavender plants in sections, harvesting parts of the plant at various times, when each part is at its peak bloom.
Harvesting and drying lavender is simple – simply snip off the stems just before the flowers open and when you've gathered enough for your needs, tie the stems together and hang them up to dry somewhere sheltered.
If flowers have bloomed to the tips and you're still wanting to harvest, no worries. Just snip stems and dry. After flowers are dried, you can harvest lavender buds to use in crafts like potpourri, sachets or soaps. Or you can store dried lavender buds to add their sweet floral flavor to kitchen creations.
A full-grown lavender bush can give you 7 to 8 bundles of lavender each season, which you can dry and store for months to come. Plus, harvesting lavender is actually good for the longevity of the plant, as it removes old growth to make room for new shoots.
Best Time to Take Lavender Cuttings
As mentioned, the best time to take your cuttings or cuttings is between June and September. However, if you are taking softwood cuttings, then you should be aware that this can only be done in the spring when the growth is both fresh and young.
Colorado State University Extension recommends planting lavender in fall or late summer so the young plants have time to establish roots during the cooler months, which will help them bloom better the following summer.
Test it by cutting a small stalk close to the base. If it snaps easily, that stalk is dead. Test several more stalks around the base of the plant before giving up hope – sometimes a plant can die out in one section, but still have life left in others.
Lavender should be stored in a dark place, away from the direct sunlight and away from the sources of any heath or humidity. It means the kitchen or living room are not good places to store it. The sunlight will fade its colors and possible humidity will make it go stale. So, keep it in a cool, dry, and dark location.
When should I dry lavender?
So, the best time to cut the flowers for drying is when the buds are bright purple, and right before they open. What is this? You can still dry the flowers after they open, but they won't be as fragrant, and may lose their color after. Learn exactly when and how to harvest lavender here.
Prune right after the first flowering and again in late August after the last flush has faded. Cut off about 2/3 of the plant's height or to just above the bottom two sets of leaves on each stem. Take care not to cut into the woody part of the plant which can cause damage.
March through May, early spring is the best time to prune. Remove any dead branches all the way down to the hedge bottom. (see image) Following a harsh winter season as seen during the winter of 2013-14 (see 2014 Winter Blog) you may want to prune the entire lavender bush down to the bare woody hedge.
(1) Prune lavender only in the spring, while the plant is still in winter dormancy or once green growth is noticed, but prior to bud formation, if possible (usually the month of May). Do NOT prune lavender in the fall in northern climates, as this may kill the plant.
The bunches should be tied secure enough to not fall apart, but not crazy-tight against the stems. Hang the lavender bunches in a warm, dry location with good air circulation. An open window or fan nearby will help. Drying lavender in a dark place (out of direct sunlight) will improve color retention.
When these shoots have finished flowering, you should consistently prune back to the bushy, leafed part of the plant. Most hobby gardeners follow a one-third-two-third rule when pruning Lavender. This stipulates you prune back the plants by a third in the summer and two thirds in the spring.
The most common way lavender is consumed is by brewing a tea from its buds. Brewing lavender buds into a tea helps release the oils and scents.
Both fresh and dried lavender can be added to both sweet and savory dishes for both flavor and its gorgeous color. Add the fresh herb to salads, lamb, teas and cocktails. It also works very well with citrus, fruits, and desserts like crème brulee.
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.
While Lavender is usually regarded as a summer-blooming flower, some Lavender plants are early bloomers with their magnificent blooms appearing early in spring. Others are late bloomers with blooms opening up in midsummer and lasting until late summer. Some bloom almost continuously from spring to summer's end.
How long does lavender last in the ground?
Lavender is a perennial and has been known to survive up to 15 years in home gardens. Longevity can be increase through many methods of lavender growing. Soil preparation, soil amendments, drainage, pruning, winter protection and proper harvesting can result in a life long lavender hedge.
The best time to see the plants in bloom is from the last week of June to the beginning of August. Peak bloom is around mid-July – although this may vary year to year depending on the rainfall.
At the farmers market, lavender can sell for between $3 and $6 per bunch, depending on the area. There are also other lavender products farmers can sell at the market, including dried lavender bunches, lav- ender plants, lavender sachets, lavender soap, and other value-added lavender products.
California's lavender fields bloom for one to two months in June and July. Lavender hits its peak in mid-to-late-June and is harvested soon after. By the end of July, most farms have harvested and pruned back their plants to neat domes.
'Annual pruning will improve flowering and prevent lavender becoming woody,' says plant expert Sarah Raven, who suggests pruning lavender immediately after flowering has finished. 'Remove shoots to within one inch (2cm) of previous year's growth,' she says.
Lavender plants undergo a natural dormancy period every winter. The leaves on your lavender plants will change from their deep, summertime green to a silvery, sage green. Your plants are not dead, merely resting. In cold climates, we advise not pruning nor covering your plants in the wintertime.
They love the flowers, but other bugs stay away. Lavender has a pleasant scent that comes from the essential oils in the leaves of the plant, but the bugs hate it. Hang some dried lavender in your closet and you won't have to worry about moths eating your clothes.
You can't rejuvenate plants by cutting into old wood, but you can try to rejuvenate them by pruning to points just above the wood. A good rule of thumb is to count to the third node (a raised bump from which leaves grow) above the woody part and then cut just above it.
Cut a 4″ – 6″ stems from the plant using garden clippers. Remove leaves gently from the bottom 1/3 of each clipping. Fill potting soil to the top of your potting tray. Make small holes in the soil about 2-3″ deep for each stem.
Lavenders with higher oil content, such as Lavandula x intermedia 'Grosso', will stay fragrant longer. Squeeze or crush the flowers to release the scent. You may want to apply some lavender essential oil to the flowers to refresh their fading fragrance.