How to dry lavender?
- 2.The usefulness of lavender for drying
- 3.Pruning lavender prior to drying
- 4.Methods of drying lavender flowers
- 5.How to store dried lavender flowers?
- 6.Best ways to use dried lavender flowers
The aroma of lavender, for which essential oils evoke memories, have a calming and refreshing effect. You can choose from many varieties of narrow-leaved lavender (known as the medicinal lavender - Lavandula angustifolia L.), with varying aroma intensity.
If you want to keep the aroma of lavender flowers, you can dry them. There are two basic methods of drying lavender. It is up to you which one you choose.
The usefulness of lavender for drying
The suitability of lavender for drying largely depends on its cultivation. Only the proper selection of soil, position and proper care will provide optimal conditions for the growth and development of lavender.
Lavender planted among tall plants or under trees will be unattractive and faded. In turn, it translates into the quality and quantity of flowers produced by the plant. Lavender loves the sun, therefore it is best to choose flowers from plants growing in a sunny place for drying.
Lavender isn't flowering
If the lavender is not flowering, it has probably been planted in the wrong place. Lack of sun and compact acidic soil are the main causes of poor flowering of lavender. To counteract poor plant health, you need to replant the lavender. The best is permeable sandy loam soil with a reaction close to neutral and, of course, a sunny position.
Lavender in shady areas
If lavender grows in the shade, its flower's suitability for drying will be much weaker. It is because weaker plants produce flowers with less essential oils responsible for an attractive scent. The color of lavender flowers from the shaded area will also be less intense. And after drying it is more faded.
Pruning lavender prior to drying
The basic principle of pruning lavender flowers is to remove faded flowers. Cutting them will not only give lavender a beautiful appearance. It will also result in its next, less abundant flowering in late summer. Flowering usually occurs in the second half of August.
Faded lavender inflorescences are not recommended for drying as they contain a small amount of essential oils.
When to prune lavender for drying?
Lavender flowers can be cut at any time during the flowering period of the plant. For the best results, however, cutting off colored buds (closed bud phase) just before flowering begins.
Pruning the lavender flowers later in flowering favors the color fading. Such a pruning gives the best results in terms of preserving the color. Also it will preserve aroma of lavender, for which volatile essential oils are responsible. We make the pruning on a sunny day, when the inflorescences will not be wet with dew.
Methods of drying lavender flowers
Okay, you will ask: "I have already cut lavender and what is the next step?" Proceeding after pruning the lavender flowers may take a while, but I guarantee you - the effect is worth it. Find out about 2 methods that will allow you to dry lavender the right way.
Hanging lavender to dry
- Immediately after pruning, clean the inflorescences of unnecessary leaves that may be at the base of the inflorescence.
- Once we remove them, we create small bouquets. We arrange 50-60 pieces per bunch, creating lavender bouquets, perfect for hanging.
- Due to the high density of lavender inflorescences, they receive less air, which makes the lavender flowers dry more slowly and are more susceptible to mold growth.
- For the same reason, don't tie the ties too tightly around the stems. Lavender bouquets should be tied tight enough not to fall apart, but not too tight.
- In order for the flowers to dry well, we should place them in a dark and airy place. The attic is best suited for this. A dark place without sunlight will keep the lavender flowers retain their color and aroma. Light fades the inflorescences and causes the volatilization of essential oils. Airy place will positively affect their faster drying.
- For straight stems, hang the lavender flowers upside down.
- To keep the lavender from dust, cover the flower heads in a paper bag with a few air-venting holes. Hang the bag so that it resembles a bell with the heart of a lavender bouquet.
- The time to fully dry the lavender can take from several weeks to more than a month, depending on conditions.
To learn more about methods of drying other flowers read ultimate guide on our blog titled - "How to dry flowers and plants?".
Drying lavender in a vase
If you do not want to dry lavender in the above way, we have a much simpler solution for you. Place the lavender bouquets vertically in a vase without water. It is also a good method of drying lavender.
When using this method of drying, pay attention to the tops of the inflorescences. Inflorescences may fall off during drying and look as if they are wilting. The less attractive appearance of dried lavender flowers makes this method of drying lavender flowers much less popular.
How to store dried lavender flowers?
We store dried lavender flowers in airtight containers, placed in dark and dry rooms. Preferably in a wardrobe or drawer. The dried lavender is best used during the year, because the inflorescences lose their color and aroma. The greatest losses in the health value of dried lavender occur under the influence of sunlight.
Best ways to use dried lavender flowers
Lavender is one of the most important medicinal plants used in the food, cosmetics and perfume industries. At home, we put dried lavender flowers in a linen bag and hang it in a wardrobe or bedroom. Thanks to this, the calming scent of dried lavender flowers will accompany us every day.
If you do not have access to dried lavender flowers, you can buy natural lavender oil,. Natural lavender oil has the same but condensed effect. For the production of lavender oil, narrow-leaved lavender flowers are used on a large scale. Lavender essential oil is considered one of the safest substances for babies from the first months of life.
Bath with lavender essential oil
The name 'lavender' comes from the Latin words 'lavo', 'lavere' which mean 'to wash' or 'to take a bath'. Even kings appreciated its healing properties. Elizabeth I Tudor herself used lavender to create lavender water.
Today, lavender can be used to create a relaxing bath. To make it, pour water over dried lavender flowers (2 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers and 250 ml of water). Add the prepared solution to the bath. A bath with lavender will improve the appearance of the skin and its fragrance will soothe the senses.
Perfumes with lavender oil
Perfumes based on natural lavender oil have been popular for many centuries. In the 18th century, the famous "Eau de Cologne" cologne with lavender oil was used at European royal courts. Currently, due to its too intense aroma, lavender oil is used much less frequently. It is also one of the ingredients of men's eau de toilette.
Dried lavender as a drawer freshener
If you are wondering how to naturally fight moths in the closet or are looking for a natural air freshener, opt for scented lavender flower pouches. The essential oils contained in lavender flowers act as a deterrent against moths while gently refreshing the wardrobe. You can buy ready-made dry bags or make them yourself.
To make bags with lavender flowers, you need a piece of fabric or a ready-made jute bag in which to put dried lavender flowers. Make sure that the bag has a string or a ribbon, thanks to which you can hang it in the wardrobe.
Dried lavender for better sleep
Lavender oil has a calming effect, which in turn affects the quality of sleep and reduces the number of wake-ups. In 2018, research, the results of which were published in the journal Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, proved that lavender aromatherapy can be used to improve the quality of sleep in women.
The use of lavender oil prolongs the NREM phase responsible for deep sleep. If you want to improve your sleep quality, rub a few drops of natural lavender oil on your neck or chest. You can also spray the oil in the form of an aerosol in the bedroom just before going to bed.
Lavender oil for infections
Pathogenic bacteria causing respiratory system infections are highly susceptible to lavender oil, such as: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes.
Due to the high healing potential of essential oils, intensive research is carried out on the possibility of using lavender oil to combat pathogenic microorganisms resistant to antibiotics and dangerous, even drug-resistant microorganisms.
Cookies with dried lavender
Cookies with lavender flowers are a perfect proposition for fans of this plant. Lavender cookies are extremely tasty, crispy with a noticeable, but not dominant, lavender aroma.
Lavender tea is worth drinking for several reasons. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties and has a calming effect on our body, improving the quality of sleep. In 2015, research, the results of which were published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, proved that drinking lavender tea before bed calms down and accelerates falling asleep. Lavender tea is especially recommended for women because it soothes menstrual pain while having a beneficial effect on the appearance of the skin.
To make lavender tea, you will need half a teaspoon of dried lavender, pour 150 ml of boiling water and leave covered. After two minutes, pour another 100 ml of warm water and wait 5 minutes, after which the lavender tea is ready for consumption.
Narrow-leaved lavender is a beautiful plant with a beneficial effect on our well-being and health. This is due to the essential oils that give it its characteristic scent. If we want the aroma of lavender to stay with us for a long time, it is worth trying to fix its inflorescences by drying. The right temperature and the lack of light will make the aroma of Provence stay with you for longer.