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How to Harvest Lavender

Two Methods:Pruning and Harvesting LavenderDrying and Using Lavender

Lavender is a beautiful flowering herb that grows in bushy shrubs that get larger each year. A full grown lavender bush yields 7 - 8 bunches of lavender, which can then be dried and used in cooking or to make sweet-scented sachets and other crafts. Pruning and harvesting lavender properly ensures the longevity of the plant, which can keep producing flowers for decades if you're lucky. See Step 1 and beyond to learn the right way to prune and harvest lavender.

Method 1
Pruning and Harvesting Lavender

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    Prune and harvest when the flowers bloom. Pruning and harvesting lavender are essentially the same - you're removing the flowering stalks from the bush. This promotes new growth in the plant's roots, keeps the plant looking neat, and leaves you with 1 - 8 bunches of fresh lavender flowers. Lavender should be cut when the flower have just opened in spring. This is the time during which they're most fragrant and beautiful.[1]
    • Monitor the lavender in the early spring so you can catch it right when the flowers open.
    • If you cut lavender in the spring, the plant may have time to produce more flowers for a second harvest.
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    Gather the lavender into a bunch. Use your hands to gather enough stalks to comfortably fit in your fist. This is one bunch of lavender. The stalks are quite hardy, so you can gather from all parts of the bush without worrying about tearing it apart.
    • A first-year lavender bush will typically produce only enough flowers to form one or two bunches.
    • Lavender bushes reach full maturity by the third year, during which they may produce 8 - 10 bunches of lavender.
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    Cut the lavender a few inches above the woody growth. If you examine the lavender bush, you'll see it's rooted to the ground with tough, woody growth, above which grow the green stalks - green growth. Cutting into the woody growth can hurt the plant. Give it plenty of room by cutting about two inches above the end of the woody growth.
    • The best cutting tool for lavender is called a harvesting knife. It's curved like a scythe and has a serrated edge. If you don't have one on hand, a hand pruner will also work fine.
    • When using a harvesting knife, hook it around the bunched lavender and pull the knife toward you, cutting off the lavender stalks.
    • Continue cutting the lavender until all the stalks have been cut, and the bush that remains is shaped in a neat-looking mound.
    • Cut after the dew has dried but before the heat of the sun draws out too much of the essential oils (you will want those intact to evoke the scent in your home).
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    Cut the lavender stems in order of blooming. The first harvest will be early in the flower cycle. As the bush continues producing more flowers throughout the season, cut when necessary. Areas of smaller variety lavender will tend to flower in patches, and should be harvested in timely order that way, to encourage re~flowering. In general, lavender will act like any other flowering plant, when they are de-flowered early enough, at the base of the flower, a new flower grows, giving you more than one harvest per year.
    • Blooms should be ready for reharvest in 2 weeks to a month; when re-flowering slows (to approximately 1 month), do one final harvest.
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    Remove the dead leaf matter. Cut back any stalks that are dead, along with any stringy twigs and other plant clutter. You will almost always be "pruning" for harvest, but sometimes it's necessary to prune unsightly plant matter at the end of the season. Don't cut into the woody growth.

Method 2
Drying and Using Lavender

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    Dry the lavender in bunches or on screens. You can either hang it upside down to dry in a cool, dark spot in your home, or dry it outside on screens in the sun. The latter method affects the color of the dried lavender, since time in the sun will lighten it.
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    Store in a cool, dark place. Storing the lavender away from sun and heat will help it last as long as possible
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    De-stem your lavender if desired. The small variety of lavender makes the finest final product, but requires the most additional processing. To remove the flowers from the stems, lay the lavender between 2 1'x 2' sheets of plywood. Crush and roll the stems between the wood pieces. Pour the crushed lavender through a sieve to catch the flowers.
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    Use the lavender in cooking and crafts. Now it's time to put the lavender to use. You can placed the dried stems in vases to decorate your home, use the flowers to make sachets, or make delicious confections with your harvest. Here are a few ideas:


  • The bits you have cut off can make cuttings. Put them in a tray of soil, water them occasionally, and they should grow.
  • New growth will appear in the spring. Do not over water. Lavender should be grown in direct sunlight. When twigs start to pulse, and branch, one light (over) pruning (of last fall's pruning spots) will further branch flowering tips.


  • Watch your fingers. The sharper the secateurs, the better.

Article Info

Categories: Harvest and Storage