The Best Time To Harvest Lavender For Optimal Fragrance

Lavender is a slow-growing shrub that produces fragrant purple flowers. The scent is known worldwide as an instant bringer of relaxation, and according to Medical News Today, consuming it is thought to help treat depression, anxiety, indigestion, abdominal discomfort, and insomnia. When it comes to harvesting, the best time to do it is in the early spring, late summer, and early fall. Harvesting in spring also guarantees that you'll be able to collect more than two bundles of herbs in that season, depending on the number of plants that you have. Most varieties will begin to continuously produce flowers after reaching maturity, from two to five years, depending on the variety.  

When harvesting these pretty purple blooms, it's important to follow proper harvesting protocol. You can't just run in with a pair of shears or snap them off at the stem. Once you've collected and dried your aromatic bouquets, they can then be used around your home in a variety of different and eco-friendly ways.

Harvesting for peak fragrance

For optimally fragrant plumage, begin harvesting your lavender when at least half of the flowers have begun to bloom. It's recommended to always use clean, sharp shears to prevent damage to the stems, and it's best to avoid cutting the woody part of the shrub. Keeping this part of the plant intact will allow it to continue producing flowers for the next season. It's also recommended that you harvest your lavender early in the morning because the heat from the sun will actually begin to dry out the buds, diminishing the fragrant oils and calm-inducing terpenes.

The optimal length for harvesting will leave your plant with one-third of the stem remaining. Be sure to bundle as you go, taking a handful of the stems and cutting them at the same time. Bundle and secure each fistful as soon as you remove them. Once you've finished, hang your freshly cut lavender in a shady spot so that the sun doesn't do further damage. Remember that the thicker the bundles, the longer they'll take to dry.  

Dried lavender works wonders in your home

The scent of dried lavender not only calms and soothes, but also brightens and energizes your space and works around your home. Sachets filled with dried blooms can be used to freshen closets, shoes, bathrooms, and other places that don't get much aeration or tend to get a bit funky smelling. When they start to lose their potency, you can refresh them by adding a few drops of lavender-infused essential oil. Spread flowers over your carpet before vacuuming, or create your own lavender-filled dryer bags.

While the scent of lavender gives humans a sense of calm and ease, this doesn't necessarily apply to our four-legged family members. The lavender plant contains a compound called linalool, which, if ingested in large amounts, can be toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. That being said, the concentration of this chemical is pretty low, so the risk of your furbabies becoming gravely ill is minimal. Still, it's good to keep this in mind to protect any pets.