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Growing and Drying Lavender

Lavender plants  are a beautiful and fragrant addition to any garden. The bees love it and the subtle fragrance the lavender plants releases when brushing against it while weeding or walking by the blooms is the sweetest of scents. It’s beautiful as both fresh lavender and the aroma in bundles. While lavender can be a fussy plant, growing and drying lavender isn’t as hard as you think! If you live in colder zones and want a few growing tips, make sure to watch the video that goes with this post.
relcaimed brick path with lavender

The first trick to growing lavender is that Lavender likes really well-drained,sandy soil.

My grandma would have said, “they like to keep their feet dry…”  very similar to the herb Rosemary… Which makes sense because they both grow very well in places such as Italy and California. I have mine on the western sun exposure on a slight slope in slightly sandy soil.
Growing and drying lavender in colder zones
  Every year I add a few new plants; occasionally with a really wet,damp winter I lose a few and have to replace them. You can grow your own lavender plants  by using a  layering technique to propagate new plants  instead of always buying new ones.
growing and drying lavender
We are zone 5A/5b here and  I think it does so well where it’s at, it’s kind of  a micro-climate and runs slightly warmer than the rest of the yard. There is a raised bed behind it and the house in front of it and it is sheltered by a fence. When growing lavender micro-climates are really important.

There are different lavender varieties  including lavandula angustifolia (English lavender), Lavandula stoechas (French Lavender also called Spanish lavender or Butterfly lavender),  and Lavandula intermedia (Lavandin). Which lavender variety to grow depends on your growing zone.

Lavender augustifolia
Lavender variety
 Lavandula Augustifolia (Traditional English Lavender)
Bundling lavender at the stems to dry
When you are ready to harvest lavender,  the best time to clip the stems is early in the morning before the full sun hits them and evaporates much of  their essential oils.
Growing and Drying lavender in a paper bag in a cool dark place

 Gather them in bunches and wrap with a rubber band or twine. Hang them upside down, or spread out on an herb drying rack in a single layer.  in a plain paper bag that has some slits cut in the side for air circulation. I like this method best because it allows for plenty of air flow and catches any lavender buds that fall off of the bunches as they dry. While they are super flexible, you can also twist the stalks into fragrant wreaths. You can use this technique.

Drying lavender in paper bags

When using the paper bag technique,  hang them to dry in a cool area away from direct sunlight for a few weeks. Any  flower buds that fall off are caught in the bottom of the bag and be removed when the lavender bunches are completely dried. make sure they are completely dried and throw out anything that could seem even possibly moldy. You don’t want any moisture left. Even though lavender  stems aren’t as fragrant as the buds, you can still use them for  potpourri or sachets. Store any dried buds or leave in tight jars  with a lid until ready to use.
Lavender in a tray
The best thing is, you can use the entire plant. You can make lavender sugar for baking in recipes, or making lavender syrup. The left over lavender stems  can be used for laundry sachets orpotpourri, and the dried buds and leaves can be used for salt scrubs or sachets.
Even a few lavender stems or purple flowers by the bed at night in a vase  are a sweet addition to your sleeping routine.
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  1. Thanks so much for sharing how you do this. I love lavender as well and had no idea how to dry it. I have a lavender sachet next to my bed that I rub on my pillow before I go to sleep at night. So relaxing…

    Thanks again and God bless.

  2. I just planted some Lavendar this year, all along the edge of my south facing deck. I am hoping it will grow tall enough to hide the ugly ‘under the deck’ area, and add some pretty color and scent there.
    How long does it tend to take to really ‘take’ and start growing and filling it?
    I wonder if my West facing, mostly shaded area long the basement walkout would be a good place to plant some more?


  3. Oh I am so dearly jealous. I have a hard time growing lavender here, and I was just visiting my sister; walking down her lavender scented garden path, and feeling horribly envious. Your lovely post just puts that intoxicating scent all around me. Thank you – and now I want to make lavender syrup! I have never tried that one before 🙂

  4. I’m new to planting lavender and I really appreciated this post. I too love the smell in just about any way. Can you split your plants or how do you propagate them? Thanks

  5. I tried once but it didn’t do well but you have inspired me to try again. I started a new garden last Fall and everything I have planted in it seems to do very well so I’ll try that spot. I always include a handmade lavender sachet with any vintage linens I sell. And love that tip in drying in paper bags. Your hanging bags are a fabulous photo! xoxo Lynn
    P.S. Looking forward to being at your party Friday. 🙂

  6. I’m so jealous. I have not had good luck with it at all. I can grow anything but Lavender. Yours looks beautiful!

  7. Lovely post and pictures! I love lavender and a few years ago, I visited the lavender fields in Provence, France. I was in heaven!

  8. Hi Jen, Great idea to hang the stems in the bag. I have had success on the south side of the house, the dry soil and reflected heat from the house seems to be the perfect combination for a good harvest.

  9. Hi Jen, Florida’s not good for growing lavender and I’ve never seen it actually growing. It’s so pretty in the pics and I love my sachets, they’re so good for sinus problems. It must be an aquirred scent. I remember first smelling it and thinking it was awful and now I love it!

    Have a great day…Tracy @ Cotton Pickin Cute

  10. Jenn,

    I just bought a really big bag if dried lavender at a yard sale with two dozen canvas bags. Now I just need to figure out what to do with it 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration.


  11. Thank you so much for sharing how to dry lavender…I love it, and had wondered about how it is dried…I only grow a pot filled with it each year, so this is helpful information for me….
    Geri Lawlis

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