Lavender Harvest

On July 26, 2010 by Team EO in INSIDE INFORMATION

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.