Lavender is in full bloom and tomorrow the EO Team will be trekking to Healdsburg, CA to participate in a lavender harvest. While there, we will work as a team to gather up these fragrant fronds to distill them for their precious essential oil.
Learning when to harvest lavender can reward you with a crop of fragrant blooms. Timing is important when you harvest lavender to maximize the fragrance and essential oil content.
When To Harvest Lavender
- The lavender flower has two main parts: the base, called the calyx, and the flowering corolla. The calyx starts out dull gray and begins to gain its purple-blue color as it matures. When the corolla appears, it typically has a contrasting, brighter violet shade that is easy to pick out from the deeper colored calyx.
- Corollas typically begin to bloom at the base of the flower bud and progress toward the top. The average lavender plant will have a bloom period of five to six weeks. You’ll want to avoid harvesting lavender that is a year old, if possible.
- Most experts agree that a lavender bloom is at its peak in terms of fragrance and essential oil production when about 10% to 20% of the corollas have blossomed on a bud.
- Lavender plants release their essential oils to cool themselves. To harvest lavender with a maximum concentration of essential oils, try to cut them from the plant in the morning, after any dew has evaporated from the plant.
- Use a pair of sharp by-pass style garden shears to harvest lavender blooms. By-pass shears use a scissor action to make a sharp, accurate cut that will limit the chances of fungal infection occurring at the site of the cut.
- To harvest lavender, cut the stems just above the foliage and arrange the stems into easy to manage bunches.
Once harvested, lavender blooms can be placed in a vase or hung upside down to dry, distilled, used in recipes or made into lavender wands.