How to Dry Lavender

imagesThis post is all about the amazing and diverse herb that is lavender and some of the techniques that can be used to dry it.

Don’t miss my follow up post to this giving you lots of amazing ideas with  10 Ways to Use Dried Lavender

Traditionally lavender has been used as an aid to relaxation and sleep.  What many people aren’t aware of is that, in too high a concentration, lavender can also be a stimulant.

I’d like to thank Stephanie Locsei from Homemade Gifts Made Easy as I’ve used her lavender drying tips as reference many times.

IDENTIFY

The first thing you need to be aware of is that there are two main types of lavender;  English lavender and French lavender.

Lavandula_Victory_23087_15148_1280_1280.jpg

The French variety is what is typically described as butterfly lavender and is often found being sold in supermarkets etc.  It has leaves the whole way up the stem and the bud at the end is large and usually has two larger petals sticking out of the top of the bud like wings.

images-1-1The English variety typically has longer flower stems with smaller,slimmer buds on the end.

Most people use English lavender for drying especially if its for flower arrangements as the stems tend to be longer and often grow straighter making it easier to use for arrangements.  However both varieties can be used for drying.

CHOOSING YOUR USE FOR THE LAVENDER 

Choosing what you use the lavender for will determine the type of lavender as well as the drying method.  For instance if you are drying for use in lavender bags, scented pillows or potpourri you can use either type of lavender and it is not necessary to keep the stems as only the buds and leaves are required.  If you are wanting to use the herb for fire starters or flower arrangements then a hanging method would be more appropriate.

DRYING FOR LAVENDER BAGS

If you’re using your lavender for scented pillows, lavender bags or potpourri you therefore do not require the stems unless you want them for another project.

  • If all you need are the buds then these can be removed and placed in a cardboard box lined with tissue, kitchen roll or newspaper.
  • If using for pillows or sachets and your using French lavender you can also remove and dry the leaves.
  • This box should be placed somewhere warm, dry and dark to air dry.
  • This should take approximately one week and the buds should feel crispy to the touch.
  • They are now ready to be used in your chosen craft.

DRYING FOR ARRANGEMENTS/FIRE STARTERS

If you’re drying the lavender and are using the whole stem and bud it is best to hang dry them.

  • Collect a large bunch of lavender.  It’s usually best to use English lavender for this purpose.
  • Bind the ends of the stems with string or elastic bands.
  • Hang the lavender upside down in a dark, warm, dry space and leave for a week until crisp to the touch.
  • It is usually best to cut the lavender before the buds are fully open as they hold their scent for longer.
  • It is also a good idea to place a paper bag (not plastic as this may cause the plant to “sweat”) over the flower heads this way if any buds drop off as they dry you will not loose them.

DRYING TRAYS

Another option for drying is to use drying trays.  These are great if you are regularly drying your own herbs.  They are essentially a wooden frame with chicken wire mesh fixed in the centre.  These are then slotted into shelves with the herbs lay on them drying.  The mesh allows the air to circulate around the herbs drying them out.  A great tutorial for building your own can be found on Amy Pennington

Great uses for dried lavender include:

  • Scented Pillows
  • Lavender Bags
  • Fire Starters
  • Dryer Sheets
  • Draw Fresheners
Details on how to make these can be found on my follow up post next week.
Do you have another use for lavender you’d like to share?  Do you have a preferred drying method not mentioned here?  Hit the comments and share your thoughts.

One thought on “How to Dry Lavender

  1. Pingback: 10 Ways to Use Dried Lavender | A Beautiful abode

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