How to dry lavender?
By. B&B Family Farm 02/2016
So you have a few beautiful lavender plants in your yard and you are not sure what to do with the lavender? The best way to keep the beauty and scent of those lavender plants all year round is to dry the lavender. Plus the plants really like to be cut. Dried lavender can last for years and if dried properly, it can also look great. So how do I dry lavender? Here is a quick guide on the best techniques for drying lavender to get the best looking finished product.
5 Easy Steps to Dry Lavender.
1. Harvest the lavender
I know this seems logical, but I start here because this might be one of the most important steps. You do not want too large of a bunch of lavender. If you have too much lavender in your bunch you run the risk of getting mold in your lavender bunch due to excessive moisture. A good rule to follow is no more lavender than will fit from your pointer finger to your thumb if you press them together and make a circle.
2. Prepare your bunch for drying
Once the lavender is harvested you want to rubber band your bunch of lavender. You do not want to put too much pressure on your lavender stems so you do no distort there shape, you also do not want to have the rubber band too loose so the stems fall out of the bunch one they shrink from drying. The best practice we have found is to wrap the rubber band around the bunch 3 times a couple inches from the cut end.
Once the bunch is rubber banded. Take a paper clip and pull the end point of the paper clip out creating a 45-60 degree angle. Attach the paper clip to the rubber band so the point of the paper clip you just pulled out is pointed toward the flower heads.
Now your bunch is ready to dry!
3. Where do I hang my lavender to dry?
Maybe equally as important as the size of the bunch is the location where you will be drying your lavender. Depending on your conditions this process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 weeks. Here in Sequim where it is very very dry in the summer, our barn densely packed with lavender, the process takes about 2-3 weeks to dry. If you live in an area with high humidity expect this process to take at least a month probably longer.
There are two factors you need to consider when selecting your location. First, is the area well ventilated. You want an area with open windows or fans blowing. The open windows may be a difficult task because our other suggestion is a dark area. The more light your lavender bunch is exposed too the less colorful it will be. If it is in too much sun light the lavender will brown. If you are just using the lavender buds for a sachet or potpourri this is not a big deal, but if you want a pretty bouquet the area must be free from sun light or very limited in sun light. An ideal situation for a few bunches would be a room with windows that have shades. Crack the windows open but leave the shades down. If you have a fan or two at your disposal place them in the room running to speed up the process.
4. How do I hang my lavender?
Quantity is key here. Do you have a few bunches? Or do you have 20, 50, 100 bunches? If your answer is only a few the simplest solution is to place the lavender bunch over a door way by placing the point of the paper clip mentioned above on the top of the door way. Just remember to duck when you walk through this door. If this is a seldom traveled doorway you can hang a few bunches here.
If you have a lot of bunches there are a lot of solutions. An easy one is to hang a string tightly, and securely between two wall and hang the lavender on the string. Another option is to hang a piece of rope or chain from your ceiling (If you have a lot of bunches this chain can get really heavy so make sure it is secured properly to your ceiling by anchoring the chain in a stud or using a wall anchor). Once the rope or chain is hung, hang your lavender bunches flowers towards the ground. Try not to pack the lavender too densely. We skip about 3-4 links on our chains in our barn when we hang lavender.
5. When is the lavender dry enough to take down?
The key thing to remember is chips not tortillas. When your lavender is ready to take down from drying it should feel like chips, meaning the stems should crack and crunch if you bend them. If they still bend and feel cool and wet like a tortilla when you touch them, then they probably need to dry longer.
We hope we gave you some great information on how to dry lavender. Please share our page, like our facebook page, or pin some of our photos. Thanks for visiting!