One of the biggest questions we get is how to make a garden lavender plant into a sachet or a dried bouquet. Both of these can be prepared the same way and used in different applications.
The objective is to harvest at the perfect time so that when it is thoroughly dried, all the essential oils are sealed inside the floret. With that being said, the most important step is harvest time. If you harvest too early, the florets will be undeveloped, and the stems will be limp. If you harvest too late, the tiny flowers will fall out of the florets leaving the vessel empty. The ideal harvest time is before the flowers pop out of the flower bud. Depending on how early spring starts, this is generally mid to late June. It is a concise window for harvesting. Once harvested at the correct time, the florets can last for years.
After determining when your flowers are ready to harvest, the next step is to bunch the flowers together and cut them with scissors or pruning shears. There are 100’s of different types of lavender, and each having an extra stem length. The method to judge how far to cut down the stem is to look at the plant and to cut 1” to 2” above where the hardwood starts. This will allow the plant to have enough growth for a second flowering. A young lavender plant will only produce 1 to 2 bouquets, but a fully matured lavender plant will produce 8 to 10 boutiques. As you are cutting your bouquet, it is a good time to prune. Giving you plant around, bush shape.
Now you have a beautiful fresh-cut lavender bouquet, so let us get drying. Hanging the bouquet upside down in a dark, cool, and well-ventilated area is ideal. Hanging it upside down will help keep the stems nice and straight, creating a superior bouquet. Leaving it in a dark area will help retain the boutique’s purple colour, and the breeze will prevent it from molding. Adding a sheet directly underneath the hanging bouquet will catch any flower buds that may fall. This process can take 7 to 10 days for it to be thoroughly dried. If you cannot hang the bouquet upside down, the lavender wands can be spaced out on a piece of paper. The bouquet will be flat on one side, but if using it for sachets, this will not matter.
The best indication that your bouquet is fully dried is by touch. If the leaves feel brittle or the florets fall off the stem when disturbed, your bouquet is ready to put into your favourite vase to enjoy. When making a sachet there is one more step to prepare. Simply run your fingers gently along the stem to take off all the lavender florets, then stuff into your favourite sachet. For the leftover stems, try putting them in a bbq to smoke meats or in a bonfire as kindling. In the end, no waste. A little tip, if you find your lavender sachet or bouquet does not have any smell, give it a squeeze to refresh. Squeezing it will help crack the florets, releasing the hidden essential oils into the air.
Whatever method you decide to use to dry your lavender bouquet or sachet, there is one fact not to be forgotten. Your house is going to smell amazing. What a great way to destress and calm the house.