How To Dry Lavender (Preserving Methods And Tips)

If you love your garden and hate seeing it die off at the end of the growing season, try drying some of your favorite flowers and herbs throughout the winter. This post will show you everything you need to know about how to dry lavender properly!

Fresh lavender picked and cleaned ready for drying.

If you’ve been following this site for a while, you probably know how much I love my garden. I may tend to go slightly overboard, and I’m ok with that.

One of my favorite plants in the garden is lavender. Mine is a vast, happy plant that I cut back every year only to watch it grow even more. I love to dry the flowers at the peak of blooming!

Before the first freeze, I dry many lavender leaves differently throughout the year.

Today, I will share just how I do that and some of my best tips for drying lavender!

Table of Contents

    Key Points: How to Dry Lavender

    Varieties and Harvest Timing
    : Different lavender varieties have unique characteristics and uses, and harvest timing is crucial to maximize the potency of their essential oils.

    Preparation for Drying: Before drying lavender, remove damaged or discolored flowers and shake off dirt and insects without washing the flowers, as water can hinder the drying process.

    Drying Techniques: Lavender can be dried using methods like air drying, dehydrator, or oven drying, with each method preserving the lavender’s fragrance and color differently.

    Hanging Method for Optimal Drying: The hanging method involves bundling lavender stems and hanging them upside down in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight to prevent mold and preserve fragrance.

    Storage and Usage of Dried Lavender: Store dried lavender in airtight containers, protect it from moisture and heat and use it for various purposes like aromatherapy, skincare, culinary uses, and home decor.

    Small bundles of lavender tied with string resting on a wooden tray.

    Understanding Lavender and Harvest Timing

    When it comes to harvesting your lavender flowers for drying, timing is everything. If you want to dry the blooms and preserve as much fragrance as possible, harvest your lavender when the buds form but before they open up.

    The day you want to cut your lavender, wait until mid-morning so that the morning dew has dried, but the hot sun hasn’t dried out the plant’s oils.

    If you plan only to dry your lavender leaves and aren’t worried about oil potency, you can do it anytime before the first frost.

    Each variety of lavender has its own specific uses and benefits, and the harvest timing is crucial for maximizing its fragrance and essential oil content. It’s important to note that the exact timing can vary depending on your climate and weather conditions.

    The complete Lavender Harvest Guide.

    Discover the secrets to harvesting lavender like a pro! Our expert guide outlines the optimal times for harvesting different varieties of lavender and provides essential tips for maintaining the best color and fragrance.

    Preparing Lavender Flowers for Drying

    Remove Damaged or Discolored Flowers

    Before drying lavender flowers, removing any damaged or discolored ones is essential. These flowers may dry poorly and affect your dried lavender’s overall quality. Take a close look at each stem and pluck out any buds that appear wilted, brown, or have spots of discoloration.

    Shake or Tap to Remove Dirt and Insects

    To ensure your dried lavender is clean and free from dirt or insects, gently shake or tap the stems. This will help dislodge loose soil and small insects hiding among the petals. Doing this will prevent unwanted debris from ending up in your final product.

    Avoid Washing The Flowers

    While washing the lavender flowers before drying them may be tempting, it’s best to avoid doing so. The water can interfere with the drying process and potentially cause mold or mildew growth on the flowers. Instead, rely on shaking off excess dirt, as mentioned earlier.

    Fresh lavender bundle ready for drying. The lower flowers have been removed, the flowers have been bundled and tied together and the flowers have been left to hang to dry.

    Methods for Drying Lavender

    There are several methods for drying lavender at home; here are three of the most popular and most effective:

    Air Drying

    Air drying is a traditional method that requires patience but yields excellent results. To air-dry lavender:

    1. Gather a small bunch of stems and tie them together with a string or rubber band.
    2. Hang the bunches upside down in a well-ventilated area away from direct sun.
    3. Allow the lavender to dry naturally for about two to four weeks until the flowers feel crisp.

    This method preserves the fragrance and color of the lavender effectively.

    Lavender bundles wrapped with elastics hanging to air dry.

    Using a Dehydrator

    Using a dehydrator speeds up the drying process without compromising quality.

    Start by removing the leaves from the lavender stems, leaving only the flower buds intact.

    Arrange them in a single layer on the dehydrator trays, ensuring they do not touch each other. Set the dehydrator temperature to around 95°F (35°C) and let it run for approximately 2 to 4 hours until completely dry.

    Check periodically until you achieve your desired level of dryness.

    Oven Drying

    Oven drying can be an alternative when time is limited, but caution must be taken. Preheat your oven to its lowest setting (around 180°F or 80°C).

    Spread your lavender stems on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring they are evenly spaced apart. Place them in the oven and leave the door slightly open to allow moisture to escape.

    Check every few minutes as oven temperatures may vary, removing them once they feel dry and crumbly.

    Hanging Method for Optimal Drying

    The hanging method is a popular choice for drying lavender effectively. By bundling lavender stems together and hanging them upside down, you can promote even airflow during the drying process. This method helps to preserve the color and fragrance of the lavender flowers.

    When selecting a location to hang your lavender bundles, choosing a well-aerated area away from direct sunlight is essential. Direct exposure to sunlight can cause the flowers to lose their vibrant color and aroma. Instead, opt for a cool, dark place with proper ventilation.

    Proper ventilation around the hanging lavender is crucial to prevent mold growth. Ensure there is enough space between each bundle so air can circulate freely. This will help maintain the quality of the dried lavender and prevent any moisture buildup that could lead to mold or mildew.

    Step-by-Step Instructions For Hang Drying Lavender Bundles

    By following these simple steps, you can successfully dry your lavender using the hanging method:

    1. Gather a bunch of freshly cut lavender stems.
    2. Remove any excess leaves from the bottom part of each stem.
    3. Bundle together around 10-15 stems with elastic bands or twine.
    4. Hang the lavender bunches upside down in a well-ventilated area. The flowers need good air circulation to encourage even drying.
    5. Leave them undisturbed for about two weeks until thoroughly dried.

    Once your lavender bundles are completely dry, you can remove the flowers from the stems and store them in an airtight container for future use in various crafts or culinary creations.

    Dried bunches of lavender hanging on wooden ladders. Traditional lavender flower drying.

    Alternative Lavender Drying Techniques

    If you’re looking for alternative methods to dry lavender, there are a few options you can consider. Each technique offers its benefits and considerations.

    Microwave Drying

    Microwave drying is a quick option for those who want to expedite the process. Place small bunches of lavender on a microwave-safe plate and heat them in short intervals. However, it’s important to note that this method may produce less fragrant dried lavender than other techniques.

    Silica Gel Drying

    Another efficient method is using silica gel to dry small quantities of lavender. This desiccant absorbs moisture from the flowers, allowing them to dry quickly while maintaining their color and shape. To use this method, bury the lavender buds in a container filled with silica gel and leave them undisturbed for a few days.

    Pressing Between Books

    If you prefer preserving the flatness of your lavender while drying it, pressing between heavy books is an excellent option. Arrange the lavender buds between absorbent or parchment paper layers, then place them between two heavy books. Leave them pressed for several weeks until completely dry.

    Lavender bouquet laid in an old book. Vintage style. Purple flowers.

    Storing Dried Lavender Properly

    There are several best practices for storing your dried lavender to ensure it stays as fresh and fragrant as possible:

    Use Glass Jars

    Proper storage is crucial to maintain the freshness and fragrance of your dried lavender. Experts recommend using glass containers with tight-fitting lids to prevent moisture and air exposure. Glass containers are better suited as they help preserve the quality of the lavender. Moisture will cause mold and discoloration.

    Dried lavender flowers stored in an airtight glass jar isolated on white.

    Label and Date Your Containers

    Labeling and dating each container makes organizing your dried lavender collection much more manageable. By doing so, you can quickly identify different varieties or batches of lavender, allowing you to use them accordingly. Labeling and dating your containers will help you keep track of their freshness, ensuring that older batches are used first.

    Store in a Cool, Dark Place

    It is important to store dried lavender in a cool and dark place to maintain its color and fragrance. Exposure to heat and sunlight can cause the essential oils in lavender to break down over time. Finding a storage location away from direct sunlight with relatively low temperatures is recommended to prevent this. A pantry or cupboard makes for an ideal place to store dried lavender.

    What Can You Do With Dried Lavender?

    Dried lavender is a versatile herb for its calming scent and medicinal properties. Here are some ways it can enhance your life: aromatherapy, sleep aid, skincare, dried bouquets, lavender sachets for dressers, culinary uses, crafts, natural repellent for moths, medicinal uses, home decor, gifts, and laundry freshener. Dried lavender is a must-have in any household!

    What to Do with Dried Lavender

    Transform your home with the versatile aroma of dried lavender. Our comprehensive guide offers many ideas, from enhancing your culinary masterpieces to elevating your home decor. Don’t miss out on the endless possibilities of dried lavender. Check out our guide now!

    Learn More About Growing Lavender

    We adore growing lavender, one of our most beloved flowers. We have discovered numerous uses for it in our garden and around our home, and we always attempt to grow as much of it as possible, regardless of our location.

    We’ve grown lavender in spots in Canada where no one should even try, and we grew it successfully after many failed attempts. But now we’re sharing what we know to save you all that hassle. To get you started, here are a few of our most popular lavender posts:

    Or check out the US Lavender Growers Association’s website for additional information: USA Lavender Growers Association.

    Check out all our Lavender flower posts.

    Check out our category page with everything you need to know to grow healthy and vibrant lavender plants.

    Drying Lavender Summary

    So there you have it, all the ins and outs of drying lavender! Now that you know the best time to harvest, how to prepare the flowers, and the various drying methods, you’re ready to embark on your lavender-drying adventure. Whether you choose the traditional hanging method or get creative with alternative techniques, one thing is sure: the sweet scent of dried lavender will bring a touch of tranquility to your home.


    Learning new techniques, such as how to dry lavender, tends to invite questions. Check to see if I answer your question below. If you don’t see it, please leave it in the comments so I can respond back!

    How Long Does It Take For Lavender To Dry?

    This answer varies depending on your method and how much lavender you’re drying. Tying lavender in bunches and hanging it upside down is the slowest method and will take 7-10 days.

    By contrast, drying lavender in a dehydrator speeds up the process to hours.

    Where Is The Best Place To Dry Lavender?

    If you want to preserve its color, slow-drying your lavender (by hanging it upside down in bunches) in a dark, dry, warm place (like a closet) is the best method.

    Does Dried Lavender Still Smell?

    Yes! Usually, dried lavender will keep its fragrance for several weeks. You can refresh the scent by sprinkling a little lavender essential oil on the blooms when the scent starts to fade.

    Editors Note: This post was originally published on December 30th, 2021, and updated on Nov 30th, 2023. The post was updated to include additional drying methods and preparation before drying. Additional images were also included.