Confused about Drying Lavender. Looking for advice.

valleymermaidMay 7, 2008

Can you use the stem of dry Lavender for making potpourri, I want to use for a sachet? I have never dried flowers before and would like to learn, but with all the research I have done on the net I find myself more confused than informed. Lots of info seems to be contradicting, so I don't know for sure what and when etc,.

Do you really have to let the Lavender dry upside down in a garage for at least a month? I wonder if my garage is to hot? We keep it cool in our house in the summer time with our a/c, so I don't have a dark warm room inside. I live in Visalia California, (zone 8),right in the pit of the San Joaquin Valley, where it gets pretty hot and even humid in the summer time.

If I am adding essential oils to my dried lavender, does it really matter how early in the morning I harvest them? It gets pretty hot here, pretty early. How about evening? Is that comparable to mornings?

Can anyone recommend a good, easy, book for a beginner? I know nothing about drying or pressing. I would like to learn about when to harvest, easy methods of how to dry, and press, and how to make my own potpourri? Nothing complicated. Thanks!

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neil_allen(z5/6 Chi IL)

The best part of lavender to use for a sachet or potpourri is the flowers, although every part of a lavender plant has scent and I suppose could be used if you want.

A lavender flower has two parts. There is the calyx, which is the part attached to the stem, that people may call a "bud," and that later holds the seed. This colors up first and stays on the plant longest. Then there is the corolla, which opens up and attracts bees. I'm giving you a link to a site that has a good picture of this. Click on the "Advice" link and you'll find pages about lavender and also some information on other dried flowers.

For the best fragrance, you want to harvest a stem of lavender when corollas have appeared on just one or two flowers, but it's ok if a few have bloomed and even fallen off -- just don't wait until all the corollas have bloomed and the stem has gone on to making seeds.

My guess is that in a garage in Visalia a bunch should dry in 3-5 days, certainly no more than a week.

You shouldn't have to add oil to your lavender if you're making a sachet, and I don't think time of day makes a big difference as far as harvest goes -- the bulk of the fragrance is in essential oil that's inside glands in the plant.

For a sachet, strip the dried flowers from the stems. If the stems are long enough to be worthwhile, you can gather them into a bundle and tie with a nice broad ribbon -- we sell these as "lavender logs." They can be used as fragrant kindling, but I think they're much nicer just kept in a living area and occasionally rolled between your palms -- they'll release fragrance.

I just looked at what comes up on Amazon.com when I search for "dried flowers," and I don't recognize anything -- books on the subject come and go. Maybe someone else can recommend a good book that's easily available these days.

Here is a link that might be useful: Goodwin Creek Gardens

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 8:01AM
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valleymermaid

Thank you so much, neil_allen, for taking the time to answer my questions. I really appreciate it!

As I look around this forum, the more I want to learn.

~Valerie

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 8:50PM
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sylky00(z6 KY)

Hi, Valerie. If you would like to craft with dried flowers, Phyllis Shaudys has authored 2 books that are really helpful and informative. One is "The Pleasure of Herbs," and the other is "Herbal Treasures". They are not recent books, but most of the info is still relevant. She provides growing & harvesting information, potpourri recipes, herbal cooking tips, and much more. I've seen some very reasonable dried flower books on Amazon, and you can try e-bay, too. Your local library probably has some books on dried and/or pressed flowers, too.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 10:22AM
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valleymermaid

Oh! Thank you Sylk00! I will check these books out. They sound exactly what I am looking for. :)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 10:27AM
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