When Is It Too Late To Harvest Lavender

Do you want to get the most out of your lavender plant come harvest time, or ensure you can harvest each year?

You can find growing lavender offers multiple harvests or a single one each year, depending on the type you grow. In addition, you’ll find differences between English Lavender, Spanish, or French Lavender varieties.

Because of this, if you are making dried bouquets, it puts more onus on harvesting at the right time, especially in certain USDA zones.

In our guide, you can learn more about how to prune lavender to make lavender tea or freshen up your home with a warm aroma. By the end, you’ll have enough information on when to cut lavender for drying from your garden, so you have enough for your use and without harming your plants. (Learn When To Apply Grubex)

Harvesting Lavender at the right time

What Happens If You Harvest Lavender Too Late?

Because some drying has already begun on the plants before you cut the blooms, late-harvested lavender may dry quickly – even within a couple of weeks. Check the bags and bundles for mold growth. (Learn How To Harvest Romaine Lettuce)

Here’s a bit more to learn about lavender as you wait for it to grow. Lavender is a semi-shrub, or subshrub, which seems perennial since most of its growth is soft and green, but the older root stems convert to wood.

The lavender is attempting to transform to wood in the heart of the mounded semi-shrub, weak wood that can split and no longer generates new shoots.

Pruning your plant once a year will help slow the growth of wood and extend its vigor and lifespan.

Pruning can be done in early or mid-spring without endangering the current year’s blossoming because lavender flowers on stems grow in the current year.

Pruning in the late summer or early fall promotes good air circulation, protecting the tree from rot. Pruning twice a year, if possible, is desirable and can typically produce more growth of the entire plant.

Begin pinching the tips of new growth when your lavender plants are still young; the plants will respond with dense branching to form an attractive shape.

If you wait too long to prune, the plant develops older, woody growth that doesn’t react to pruning. Cut back at least one-third of an established lavender plant to help it thrive with the right conditions.

Harvest lavender in the morning

How to Harvest

Many lavender growers prune and harvest together. It promotes new root growth, keeps the plant clean, and produces fragrant, fresh lavender flowers.

  • Lavender is best dried in bunches or dried buds for cooking.
  • Less water is needed to dry the stem, and the buds won’t fall as quickly.
  • Early spring to early summer harvesting permits lavender blooms to be gathered twice a year.
  • Harvest lavender in the morning when the dew has dried and the sun hasn’t drained the essential oils.

Lavender requires a harvesting knife; however, various hand pruners can be used if sharp. First, make a clean incision with your thumb and middle finger slightly below the flowers.Young plants such as a first-year lavender bush can produce two bunches of blossoms. Mature plants produce 8-10 bunches.

How You Dry Lavender

The simplest way to dry lavender is upside down.

  1. Bind the lavender stems with each other as you cut the bunches using twine or a rubber band.
  2. Keep the bunches upside down in a cool dark place while drying lavender.
  3. Your bunches need checking as they shrink while drying, and the twine loosens.
  4. Once dry, you can use them with a few ideas for flower arranging.

Can You Harvest Lavender After It Has Bloomed?

Lavender can be used for crafts, cooking, decor, and landscaping. A mature lavender bush can produce 7–8 lavender bundles per season, dried and stored for months. Plus, harvesting lavender promotes plant longevity by removing old foliage to make place for new shoots. (Learn How To Harvest Kale)

Here are straightforward ways to cut and dry lavender for any of the potential uses.

Cutting the Flowers

Wait until about half the plant has flowers open and blossomed buds. Spring arrives early, so keep an eye open for lots of bees flying around to pollinate each plant to know when your lavender has more flowers ready to prune.

  • If you pick lavender from the garden in the spring, it may flower again for a second harvest.
  • Try to collect lavender from your garden while the flower buds are big and the flowers are just opening.
  • Lavender is best harvested early in the morning. Therefore, early morning is the optimum time to collect lavender. Thus, your lavender harvest will have the highest concentration of oils.
  • Waiting until late in the day may cause the sun to drain some of the plant’s essential oil. They’ll still smell lovely, just not as powerful.
  • Pick the blooms that seem the freshest and vibrant from your lavender plants. Small or droopy flowers won’t smell or taste as well.
    Pick lavender as you would fresh fruit: if it isn’t vibrant and ripe, don’t pick it.
  • Gather 50-100 stalks, or enough to fit in your fist comfortably. The stalks are tough and can be collected from any area of the shrub without ripping it apart.
  • The “new growth” above it is green and fragile. Cut 2 inches (5.1 cm) above the woody part of the stem to give the plant enough room to bloom again.
  • A harvesting knife is the greatest lavender cutting instrument. It’s scythe-shaped with a serrated edge. If you don’t have one, a hand pruner will do.
  • To keep your lavender flowers together, wrap them in a rubber band before cutting them.
  • It’s advisable to cut the stalk rather than simply the blossom. So you don’t end up with a plant full of sticks.

Drying Lavender

Drying and Storing Lavender

Keep your bundles in water until you need them. Fill a vase with water and place your lavender bundle in it to keep it fresh. This isn’t a long-term cure, but it can keep lavender fresh for a few days.

This is an excellent way to keep lavender until you’re ready to use it in a bouquet.

  • Submerge lavender blossoms and stalks in water to eliminate dirt and bugs. To clean them, dry them on a paper towel. Rinsing lavender is critical if you plan to eat it. However, if you’re using it to decorate or dry it, don’t worry about it.
  • You can dehydrate it in a food dehydrator or dry it on metal screens in the sun. Sun-drying it may brighten the petals a little.
  • If you choose to dry your lavender by hanging it upside down, gather the stalks in bunches and hang them upside down from hooks or nails. Retie the stocks as needed to keep them together as they dry.
  • Lavender might take weeks to dry indoors, but only days in the sun.
  • Keep lavender fresh in a plastic bag, glass jar, or plastic container with a lid. Before storing it, tightly seal it to prevent air entry. Also, before storing your lavender, let it completely dry! Mold can grow on wet lavender, affecting the smell.
  • Dried lavender has a season-long aroma.

Dried lavender should be kept cool and dark. Keeping lavender out of the sun and heat helps extend its life and keep its natural flavor and aroma. You can keep lavender in your pantry, a cabinet, or even the basement.

Is It Too Late To Cut Back Lavender?

It is necessary to understand when each species prefers to be harvested and when each species goes into blossom to get five harvests every year.

The following section describes the three most widely grown species, pruning lavender and harvesting lavender when ready to be harvested, and how many times they can be harvested per year.

English Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia): Harvest English Lavender when the purple buds have formed but have not yet bloomed into full flowers around the end of summer. Typically, this will occur once a year in June or July and linger for three to four weeks.

Dutch Lavender or Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia): Another plant that blooms in the middle of summer.

Flowering should begin around one month following the conclusion of the English Lavender season. Lavandin flowers begin to bloom in July or August and continue to bloom until the end of summer.

Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas): Lavender that blooms continuously is known as a continuous blooming lavender.

Flowering begins in May and is frequently followed by a second batch in June, which may then be followed by a final batch in the late summer or fall, depending on the variety.

This violet necessitates warm weather (US hardiness zones 8 and 9). Therefore, temperature and rainfall circumstances that year will have an impact on the final blooming time of the plant.

Harvest Lavender For Common Products

Fresh lavender flowers are gathered when the blossoms open. Most other lavender products will be picked when the buds are ripe but haven’t opened yet.

This maximizes the amount of aromatic essential oils in the blossoms, which can quickly evaporate when the petals open in the sun’s heat.

Lavender Flowers (Fresh): Spanish lavender can be gathered up to three times per year.

Lavender Flowers (Dried): English lavender or Hybrid lavender (lavandin) are picked once each year, usually in mid-summer for English and late summer for lavandin.

Lavender Bags, soap, lotion, infused oils, infused alcohols: These are often manufactured from dried goods. Once a year, either in June/July for English lavender or July/Late Summer for hybrid lavender, harvest them from English or Hydrid lavender.

Essential Oil: These are most typically produced from fresh flowers and stems. If you grow a combination of Spanish lavender, English, and Hybrid, you can harvest up to 5 times per year.

Overview of time to harvest

  • 3 Harvests: Grow Spanish Lavender. Harvest in May, then again in June. Wait for a later summer/early fall blossoming, then harvest again.
  • 1 Harvest: Grow English lavender and harvest in July/August.
  • 1-2 Harvests: Grow Hybrid lavender (lavandin) and harvest in August through Early Fall.
  • Max harvests: 5 and maybe six each year

Guide in Lavender Care

Late Summer Lavender Care

Lavender is one of the best xeric (waterwise) shrubs for New Mexico gardens. And August is an excellent month for deadheading lavender plants.

Pruning and deadheading lavender plants will improve the number of flower spikes harvested for dried flowers while also improving the appearance and health of your plants.
Pruning lavender in the spring and deadheading it in the summer provide substantial benefits.

Deadheading

Now is the moment to trim wilted flower stems just below the tips of the leaves. It is best to cut the tops of the branches when you deadhead to generate bunches of new branches that will eventually sprout more flowering spikes.

The drying process starts with spreading the deadheaded blooming spikes out to dry in a safe, shady area, and you can strip off the calyxes and bugs from the dried stems to make sachets and fill jars for use as indoor air fresheners using the fragrant essential oils in the plants leaves.

Pruning

Wait until mid-spring when the fresh leaves begin to push out of the dormant stalks. When the fresh new foliage begins to come out from the sides of the dormant stems in mid-spring, this is the perfect time to do it. (Learn How To Harvest Rosemary)

Growing English Lavender

Two outstanding English lavender cultivars (varieties) grow particularly well in northern NM, ‘Sharon Roberts’ and ‘Buena Vista.’ By deadheading them early in August, they will bloom again in September, extending the lavender flower season and providing additional nectar and pollen for grateful bees and butterflies.

When Is It Too Late To Harvest Lavender

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