Drying lavender is a wonderful way to preserve your harvest. Learn all about how to dry lavender, including the best variety to use, and when to cut it. Plus I’ll give you step-by-step instructions for five different methods to try, and tips for storing dried lavender buds or stems.
Lavender is a beautiful flowering herb that is well known for its calming fragrance and beneficial essential oils. If you’re growing lavender in your garden, you can easily make your own DIY dried lavender.
There are so many wonderful uses for it too. It’s excellent for making tea, cooking and baking, crafting, making sachets, and tons of DIY beauty products.
And guess what… drying lavender is really easy, and doesn’t take much time or effort. Win, win! In this guide you’ll learn all about how to dry your homegrown lavender.
What Part Of Lavender Do You Dry?
You can dry any part of the plant. However, the flower buds are the most popular, because they have the highest concentration of essential oils. Which means they’re more fragrant and flavorful.
But the leaves are edible and fragrant too, and there are lots of great uses for them in cooking and crafting. So, you might want to try drying the leaves and sprigs of the stems too.
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Best Lavender For Drying
The best lavender to use for drying is English lavender. The reason is because it contains more oils than other varieties.
But don’t worry, you can dry any variety you have in your garden – whether it be English, Spanish or French.
When To Cut Lavender For Drying
If you want to dry lavender leaves, you can cut them at any time. The timing doesn’t matter for the leaves, but it does matter for the flowers.
The flowers are the most fragrant and colorful when you cut them before the buds open. So, the best time to cut the flowers for drying is when the buds are bright purple, and right before they open.
You can still dry the flowers after they open, but they won’t be as fragrant, and may lose their color after. Learn exactly when and how to harvest lavender here.
How Long Does It Take To Dry Lavender?
Lavender drying times vary depending on the method you choose to use. It also depends on which part of the plant you’re drying. Small flowers and buds tend to dry faster than sprigs and leaves.
Hanging bunches, and using a drying rack are the two slowest methods. It can take a few days or more for your lavender to dry completely.
If you want to dry lavender faster, then use a dehydrator, the oven, or the microwave. It only takes a short time for it to dry using these methods. Plus, the whole house will smell wonderful.
How To Dry Lavender
The steps for drying fresh lavender are the same whether you want to use the leaves or the flowers. The first step is making sure you know how to cut it for drying.
So, in this section, I’ll talk about how to cut the flowers and leaves for drying. Then in the next section, I’ll talk in detail about the different methods for drying them.
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Drying Lavender Flowers
You can either cut the flowers at the base of the stem, right above the leaves. Or you can cut them just below the buds, depending on your intended use and method of drying.
Don’t attempt to remove the buds before they are dry though, or you could crush them.
To cut lavender flowers for drying, be sure to use a sharp pair of precision pruners to snip off the stalks, rather than picking or breaking them off.
Related Post: Lavender Cookies Recipe (Using Dried Or Fresh Buds)
Drying Lavender Leaves
Lavender leaves smell wonderful, and are just as easy to dry as the flowers. For best results, use the tender new growth that is at the tips of the stems.
You can cut the leaves at any time. But, if you don’t want to sacrifice the flowers, then wait until the stem is done blooming before cutting it. Or, you could simply pluck off the individual leaves, if you prefer.
Just make sure you don’t cut the branches too far down on the plant, or they may not grow back. Learn how to properly prune lavender here.
Best Way To Dry Lavender
The exact steps for how to dry lavender depend on the method you use. There are several methods to choose from, and all of them are pretty easy.
You can use any of these methods whether you want to dry the flowers or the leaves. Choose the one that’s the most convenient, or experiment with a few to see which one works the best for you.
Below are the best ways to dry lavender, along with step-by-step instructions for each method…
Hanging Lavender To Dry
One of the easiest ways to dry out fresh lavender is to hang it upside down. If you chose to use this method, make sure your bundles are small, and bunch them loosely to prevent mildew.
It can take a week or more for it to dry when you hang the bunches upside down, depending on how humid it is. Here are the steps for how to hang lavender to dry…
- Once you have a nice bunch of lavender stems (10-15 stems), bundle them into a bouquet.
- Tie the base of the stems using twine or string, leaving one end long for hanging. You could also buy a cute hanging rack that’s made for drying bunches of herbs.
- Hang the bundles in a cool, dry location protected from sunlight (the sun will fade the color). I like to hang mine in my kitchen or in the garage.
- Check the bundles every few days to ensure they are drying, and not molding
Using A Drying Rack
You could try spreading the stems out on paper towels and leaving them out on the counter, which will also work. But it may take a little longer for them to dry.
It usually takes a several days for lavender to dry using this method. The looser you lay them, the faster they will dry. Here are the steps for using a drying rack…
- Lay the stems on the rack so that none of them are touching, rather than piling them on top of each other
- Place the drying rack in a cool, dry, and dark location that gets good air circulation
- Check them every few days to ensure they aren’t molding, and to test for dryness
Using a food dehydrator is an easy way to dry lavender fast. It only takes a few hours using a dehydrator, and you don’t have to worry about burning it like you would in the oven or microwave.
Here are the steps for how to dry lavender in a dehydrator…
- Spread the stems out on the dehydrator sheets or trays, and place them into the dehydrator
- Set it to the lowest setting (my dehydrator has a setting for herbs, which is what I use)
- Check it every hour, and remove it from the dehydrator once it’s completely dry
Drying Lavender In The Oven
Another great way to dry lavender quickly it to use your oven. It doesn’t take very long to dry it in the oven, so make sure to keep a close eye on it. If you leave it in for too long, you can burn it.
Here are the steps for how to dry lavender in the oven…
- Preheat your oven to it’s lowest setting (I use 200F for mine)
- Spread the lavender out on an ungreased cookie sheet, and place it into the oven
- Check it every 10 minutes, and remove it from the oven as soon as it’s dry
Drying Lavender In The Microwave
Yes, you can dry your lavender in the microwave. But, just like using the oven, you can overdo it. So, take care not to run your microwave for too long.
Here’s how to dry lavender in the microwave…
- Spread the lavender on a paper plate or a towel
- Run the microwave for one minute, then check for dryness
- Continue running the microwave in 15-20 second bursts, checking for dryness between each run
Related Post: How To Grow Lavender From Seed & When To Plant
How To Store Dried Lavender
It’s important to make sure your lavender is completely dry before storing it. You’ll know it’s dry when the flowers and leaves are brittle, and fall off the stem easily when disturbed.
You can remove the dried buds from the stems by gently running your fingers along the stem. Otherwise, you can just store the fresh dried stems whole.
Whatever container you choose to use, just be sure to store it in a cool, dry and dark location.
Related Post: How To Collect Lavender Seeds From Your Garden
How Long Does Dried Lavender Last?
You can keep dried lavender for many years, it never goes bad. But the smell will fade over time.
So, for the freshest, most fragrant supply, I recommend drying it every year, and discarding your old stash. Otherwise, you can try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to refresh the scent.
Drying lavender is easy, and doesn’t take much time. Experiment with the different ways to dry it, and choose the method that works the best for you. Soon you’ll have a constant supply of dried lavender to use anytime you need it.
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Leave a comment below to share your favorite method, or add your tips for how to dry lavender.