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How To Dry Lavender – 3 Steps (Plus What To Do With It!)

If you would like to preserve lavender, drying is the most common and easiest method. Dried lavender has innumerable uses, including culinary, medicinal, and crafting. Wondering how to dry lavender and what to do with it? Here’s all you need to know.

dry lavender buds spilling out of a aglass jar.

How to Dry Lavender

The important thing to remember when drying lavender is “low and slow.” For the best quality, you want to maintain a low temperature and humidity and allow the lavender to dry slowly.

Horizontal vs. vertical drying methods

lavender that was dried in the dehydrator.
Lavender dried in the dehydrator

Lavender can be dried in two ways: horizontally and vertically. The horizontal method involves laying the stems on screens or wire shelves in thin layers. On a small scale, this setup may be as simple as an old window screen lain across a pair of sawhorses. One benefit of drying lavender horizontally is that it doesn’t require bundling.

For the vertical method, the lavender stems are bundled and hung to dry. This option uses less space but requires a bit more time and materials.

Lavender hanging to dry.
Lavender hanging to dry

When deciding between methods, consider the amount of lavender (a basketful or a field’s worth?), harvesting method (by hand or machine?), available drying space, and intended use.

How to Grow Lavender for Fun and Profit: Lessons Learned from Planting Three Hundred Lavender Plants

How to grow lavender for fun and profit

Preparing lavender for drying

1. Harvest

a red basket with freshly harvested lavender.

This might seem obvious, but you first have to harvest the lavender. The manner in which you do so can make more or less work later in the process. First, cut as low as possible on the stem without including leaves if you want neat, tidy bunches. Otherwise, you will have to strip the leaves off by hand.

Do not wash the lavender! Wet lavender is difficult to dry and likely to mold. When drying lavender for culinary use, simply take extra care in separating buds from stems and chaff (once dried), and make sure your hands, tools, and work area are clean.

Want to sell some of your lavender harvest? Here are 8 easy ways to market lavender.

2. Bunch

Lavender bundles laying on the sidewalk.

If you choose to dry your lavender vertically, you must bunch it. Gather a handful of stems, ensuring the buds all point the same way, and secure the bundle with a rubber band a few inches from the bottom of the stems.

Make sure the bunch is small enough that your thumb and forefinger overlap when you wrap your hand around it. An overly large bunch can retain too much moisture and lead to mold. To save time, bundle the lavender as you harvest it.

A paperclip bent into an S shape can be stuck into the rubber band for easy hanging. Use different colors to help identify different lavender varieties.

3. Hang

Hanging lavender bundles.

Once the lavender is harvested (and bunched), it must be hung or laid out. Choose a dark, well-ventilated area for drying lavender. For horizontal drying, lay the lavender in a thin layer on the prepared screen or wire shelf.

Bundled lavender can be hung from several different supports. Chains or cattle panels work great for larger quantities, while small amounts (such as for home use) may be hung from a clothes drying rack or even a doorway. Get creative! Just provide enough space for proper airflow – it’s okay for the bunches to touch, but they probably shouldn’t overlap.

How long does lavender take to dry?

Depending on the conditions, lavender may take two to six weeks to fully dry. High temperatures and too much sunlight can cause the lavender to dry too fast and result in browning. Ideal conditions are 60°F and 60% relative humidity. If you live in a humid area, you may want to run fans or a dehumidifier in the drying space.

Bend a few sample stems to determine whether the lavender is completely dry. A dry stem should crack and break like a tortilla chip. If the stem bends or folds, leave the lavender to dry a bit longer.

What to do with dried lavender

Heart-shaped lavender wreath.

Dried lavender may be kept whole for some uses, but most lavender products require only the buds. The simplest way to remove the buds, especially on a smaller scale, is to rub the heads of the bunches between your hands over a large bowl. You may want to consider investing in a machine for a larger operation.

Here are some of the many wonderful uses for dried lavender:

  • wreaths
  • decorative bouquets
  • bath salts
  • soap
  • dryer bags
  • sachets
  • potpourri
  • linen spray
  • rice bags
  • candles
  • sleep masks and dream pillows
  • infused oil
  • tea
  • syrup
  • lemonade
  • baked goods

Here’s how to properly store dried lavender to preserve its color and aroma and keep it fresh for long-term use in cooking, crafts, and more!

What to do with dried lavender stems and leaves

Pretty lavender sachets.

While the stems and leaves of dried lavender may seem destined for the compost pile, they also have uses. The stems make a wonderfully fragrant fire starter, which can be chopped up and added to a potpourri bowl. The leaves share many properties with the buds and can be used in many of the same ways, especially where appearance is not significant.

Learn more about what to do with lavender stems.

Where to buy dried lavender

If you have more ideas than lavender buds, you can always buy them in bulk from someone else. The freshest will likely come from a local source, so do an online search for lavender farms in your area or visit the local farmers market to see if anyone sells lavender there. This will also be your best bet for lavender bunches or bouquets. Otherwise, there are many online sellers to choose from. These come recommended:

Whether you grow lavender for fun or profit, drying is an excellent way to preserve lavender and enjoy this fragrant herb all year. Hopefully, you now know better how to dry lavender for long-term storage.

How to dry lavender.

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