There is nothing more charming than the perfume released by Lavender. Native to the Mediterranean area, Lavender was already used by the Romans to perfume their baths (Lavender derives from "lavare" in Latin meaning "to be washed") and even by the Egyptians who covered their bodies with the perfume of Lavender unguents. To enjoy the delightful fragrance of your Lavender, long after its blossoms have faded, follow these easy steps.
- Plant those varieties of Lavender known for their strong fragrance. Not all Lavenders are highly scented. Some varieties are wonderful as accent plants, but have little fragrance. Others might not look as spectacular, but exude a rich perfume. The most fragrant Lavender plants are the Lavandin (Lavandula x Intermedia). Several cultivars of English Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) are also prized for their delightful scent. Find the list of the most fragrant lavender cultivars.
- Harvest your Lavender plant once a few flowers have begun to emerge from the Lavender buds. This practice will reduce shedding and keep the Lavender buds tight on the stem. Use a curved, serrated blade with a handle. Grab a bunch, where the stems meet the foliage, and cut a handful.
- Pick optimum conditions to harvest your Lavender. The weather conditions and humidity will have a definite impact on the quality of your dried Lavender. Avoid harvesting when its raining or when dew is present on your Lavender buds. Wait for dry weather before cutting your Lavender flowers. Morning and evening are the best moments of the day to harvest your precious bunch.
- Bundle your Lavender bunch with a rubber band toward the bottom of your bouquet.
- Hang your harvested Lavender upside down in a warm, dark, dry room with adequate air circulation. This will protect your Lavender against mold. Your Lavender should dry within a few weeks.
- Insert your fully dried Lavender flower buds into zip lock bags, or airtight containers and store it away from light, heat, and humidity to preserve its fragrance, color and to avoid mold and rot.
- Generally, dried Lavender will keep its delightful fragrance for a season. Lavenders with higher oil content, such as Lavandula x intermedia 'Grosso', will stay fragrant longer. Squeeze or crush the flowers to release the scent. You may want to apply some lavender essential oil to the flowers to refresh their fading fragrance.