Choosing the exact moment to harvest our wonderful Jersey lavender is one of the most important parts of our work here on our lovely Jersey Lavender Farm. Harvest too early and the lavender will not be fully mature enough to produce the perfect highest quality, but harvest too late and the plant will have begun to wither and will have lost some of the volatile molecules that are so essential in producing our amazing lavender oil. Most varieties of lavender will start to flower from about June onwards, but here on Jersey we tend to find that harvesting around late July or early August is just about perfect.
However the exact purpose of the lavender after harvesting also affects precisely when we choose to harvest. If we are harvesting lavender that is destined to be dried and then sold as, then the lavender should be harvested when approximately one quarter to one half of the buds on the stem have come into flower. This ensures that there is a high level of essential oils present in the buds, but if too many of the buds are in bloom then they are liable to fall off the stem during the drying process.
Conversely if the lavender is destined to be turned into our famously deep, rich and gorgeously velvety lavender essential oil, the lavender should be harvested when all of the flowers have opened and a small percentage of them have started to wither. It is at this point that the oil accumulation is at its maximum, and quality is typically at its peak.
So if you are lucky enough to be growing lavender in your garden, when should you gather in your very own lavender harvest and what should you do with it? As stated above what you intend to do with your lavender should influence exactly when you decide to harvest it, but it is also worth remembering that harvesting your lavender crop also serves to prune the plant ready for next year. So when you have decided that the time is right then it is recommended that you cut the flower stems approximately one or two inches about the woody part, which will encourage the plant to regrow next year.
Then if you are planning to dry your own lavender tie your lavender stems together at the base and hang them upside down in a dark, but well ventilated space. This will ensure that your lavender dries evenly and doesn’t lose too much colour during the drying process.
However if all of this just seems like too much work, why not just have a browse around our online shop and simply select your favourite lavender products and get them delivered directly to your door – much easier!
You may also be interested in reading Top 10 Uses of Lavender Oil.