Kew Red Lavender Small

Drying Lavender = Garden Decor

I bought a Kew Red lavender plant at the farmer’s market this past spring at which time I met a Lavender Guru. He told me the secret to beautiful lavender on the West Coast is to harvest the flowers and cut back the shrub by half all before August 15th.

I have eight different lavender plants scattered around the garden, all in bloom now and covered in bees. It’s hard to harvest these gorgeous plants and take the blooms way from the bees, but my plants are leggy, patchy and woody the rest of the year so I’m committed to cutting them back for the greater good.

I started with one plant today, and stumbled upon a problem, what to do with all that lavender? First I will have to dry it, and that leads me to a space issue, which I’m proud to have resolved by decorating the Virginia Creeper that trails along my side fence.

Next up? I’ll harvest the rest and use it to make a dried lavender wreath for the house.

About the Author : Stephanie Rose

A city girl who learned to garden and it changed everything. Author, artist, Master Gardener. Better living through plants.

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  1. Tamara {Delish Mag}
    Tamara {Delish Mag}August 8,11

    Hi Stevie,

    I think I’m doing something wrong with my lavender! I planted a nice one into a big black pot but it’s already dried up and done flowering. It’s not thrived, at all!! Do you think I should still cut it back?

    We’re building a fence here and I am going to plant quite a bit of it on the street side of the fence — the boulevard that is really District property but that I want to beautify!

    Hope you’re well,

  2. Stevie
    StevieAugust 8,11

    Hard to say what happened… too much water, too little water, disease… but it sounds like an unhappy plant. I would cut it back, plant it in the ground, and hope it finds the strength to come back to life!

  3. Stevie
    StevieAugust 8,11

    BTW, the hell strip (the city property between the sidewalk and the street) is a great place for lavender and other drought-tolerant plants (echinachea, sedum, some grasses). Great idea to put it out there.

  4. Allison
    AllisonAugust 9,11

    I love Lavender; I like to put some dried in a little cloth baggie hanging from my bed headboard. I scrunch it as I get into bed and fall asleep to the aromoa of Lavender :)

  5. Melanie
    MelanieAugust 9,11

    What a beautiful plant! I have 2 lavender plants so I’m looking forward to finding out how too make a wreath with them. :)

  6. Daphne
    DaphneAugust 10,11

    I love lavender. I’ve got a handful of plants that we put in this year. Some are really struggling so I hope they make it.

  7. Susan Harrington
    Susan HarringtonAugust 25,14

    After growing lavender for more than 12 years, I thought I’d share a tip or two:

    For Tamara–lavender is a plant of the rocky limestone hills of the Mediterranean; it really doesn’t take will to the confines of a pot. The black of the pot will also soak up the suns rays and cook the roots. Stevie is correct in suggesting that you get the plant out into the garden.

    For Stevie–the photo of the drying lavender bundle looks great for a Pinterest post but you will be far happier with the results if you dry the lavender in a dark, dry environment with good air circulation. The resulting buds will maintain their color and fragrance far better for your crafting.

    And so true…the “hell” strip is ideal since it usually receives far more direct sun. Just make sure that there’s good drainage. One caution: don’t use it for your culinary lavender since it is too exposed to the environmental hazards such as car exhaust etc.

  8. Susan Harrington
    Susan HarringtonAugust 25,14

    P.S. Be careful when pruning, not to cut too deeply into the plant. The rule of thumb for healthy lavender is to shape the plant no closer than 2-3 inches of the old wood. If you do this every year before Labor Day you will indeed have a healthy, productive plant for 10 or more years!

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