The Best Way To Dry Lavender Like A Pro

Lavender is one of the most popular plants and flowers used in homes and gardens, known for both its rich color and immediately recognizable scent. While bunches of fresh lavender are beautiful, you may also be looking for a way to preserve lavender for later use. There are several things you can do during the harvesting and drying process, as well as storing your dried lavender, that will go a long way toward preserving beautiful blooms.

Dried lavender bunches are not only beautiful in a vase or arrangement, but can keep their vivid color and distinctive scent for years if handled well. You can also use bunches of stems in art and craft projects like wreaths and as accents on gift wrapping. Loose lavender buds can be added to bathwater, teas, soaps, candles, potpourri, and recipes, as well as preserved in scented sachets for fresh-smelling drawers.

Harvesting and preparing

Drying lavender for best results begins with harvesting it well. Experts advise cutting your lavender during the afternoon after the morning dew has dried, avoiding rainy or moist days that may contribute to mold growth on your stems. For best results, cut your lavender when 3⁄4 of the blooms on any stem are open, as this is the peak moment of both color and scent. When preparing bundles for drying, avoid making them too large, as thicker bundles can harbor moisture in the plants. Aim for groups of 10 to 25 stems.

After you've grouped them, secure them with a rubber band around the bundle. Be careful to make it firm enough so that they don't fall out of it (they shrink a bit when drying), but not so tight that the band crushes or distorts the shape of the plant. You can use metal holiday ornament hooks, wire, or extended paper clips to create hooks. Loop one end through the rubber hand, and use the other end to hang your bundle. 

Drying and storage

In the drying process, make sure to place the bundles in a dry, well-ventilated place. If you are drying many bundles, take care to allow ample space around each bundle for fast drying. A length of rope, chain, or twine with airflow all around the plants is best for larger batches. For 1-2 bundles, you can also hook them over a doorway. Since sunlight can fade or discolor your lavender, a dark room or shaded spot is best. 

Drying time for lavender depends greatly on the environment where you store it, as well as the general climate of where you live. Humid or rainy climates necessitate longer drying times than arid ones. The drying process can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks. After they are fully dried you will want to continue to keep the lavender out of the sun to retain its vivid color. While the scent will remain rich for a long time after harvesting, keeping loose lavender in a cool, dry place will help it retain its fragrance.