Bye bye Summer! Sad to see you go. Fret not though people, it’s time to prune your lavender! Although strictly speaking the best time to harvest English lavender is when the buds have formed on the plant but the flowers have not yet opened, it still bears much of its fragrant essence this time of year so definitely still dry it out and use it! You can click here to find out more the therapeutic benefits of lavender.
First, cut your lavender…
Ask yourself, how much space have you got for drying it and what do you want it for? If you want a bouquet of dried lavender to put on display for example, you’re going to need to cut your lavender at the stem base. And drying lavender with stems involves hanging them upside down for 4-6 weeks. Well I don’t have a tonne of space for doing that here. Plus, I will be using this batch of lavender to make a batch of lavender water, also known as lavender hydrosol. (Very excited to get my distillation game on!) So I don’t really want the stems for distillation either, I want the more potent flowers. I cut my lavender right up close to the flower heads.
What you will need:
Ok, so you have your bag of lavender heads (hopefully minus too many bugs hitching a ride) and now you need a container to dry them in. Personally, I had a plastic crate lying around and it seemed perfect for the job. Lots of holes for aeration. Also, you’re going to need some kitchen roll for creating the layers between the flower heads.
I know kitchen roll sounds really wasteful but actually, I’m just going to reuse it after I’ve finished using it to dry the lavender. Lavender scented kitchen roll?! Yes please.
Start by lining the bottom of the crate with kitchen roll and begin arranging the lavender heads across it, ideally in straight-ish lines and not overlapping too much.
Once you have filled one layer, put more kitchen roll on top of it and repeat the process.
Do this until your crate is full.
Leave in a warm and dry place for 4-6 weeks to dry.
Simple stuff but certainly a useful space-saving way to dry lavender flower heads and not let their precious essences go to waste!
You can also dry rose heads on kitchen roll but don’t layer them up as this is likely to damage them. If you have a wire tray to place underneath your kitchen roll you can use this to help to maintain the original form of your rose heads and aerate their undersides as they dry.