Monday, June 28, 2010

Harvesting lavender and making sachets - DIY a la mode

Lavender harvest, originally uploaded by alamodestuff.

I harvested my first batch of lavender this year.  Lavender is a perennial that actually benefits from being cut in addition to being pruned after blooming.  As an accidental gardener, I began harvesting lavender because I have a row of them that likes to overtake a walkway.  I have to cut the plants back often and absolutely hated disposing of the fragrant blossoms.  Thus, my sachets were born.

[Did I ever mention that I don't have a green thumb.  This said, my ability to keep these plants year after year means that they are super easy to grow and manage.]

I do not claim to know what I'm doing, but for the past several years my harvesting technique has worked.  The first thing I do just after the flowers bloom, is cut the stems.  I tie them in bundles and then hang them to dry. 

[This year, I didn't even tie them.  I simply left them to dry in a pile as pictured above.]

After about a week or so, they will easily shake off the stem.  You can put them in a pillow case or paper bag and gently shake them off their stems.  I simply pull them off into a bowl because I love the smell on my hands.

Harvested lavender

[I do not spray anything other than water on my plants:  no fertilizers, chemicals, plant food, etc.]

I make sachets from my bounty, like this one I made last year.  Even after a year, with a gentle squeeze, the sachet's fragrance is renewed and has lasted this long.

Lavender has a very soothing quality.  It is said that if you sleep with a sachet under your pillow, you will have a more restful sleep.  Of course, throwing them in a drawer, closet, or simply hanging one nearby adds a wonderful aroma.


Did you know that you can also use them in your dryer?  Trader Joe's sells reusable packs for your laundry.  You can easily make your own with lightweight muslin or cheesecloth squares. 

What else can you do with dried lavender?

- sleep masks
- travel pillows
- throw and vacuum to add scent to your room/vacuum
- leave in a bowl as potpourri

I will be making several sachets.  Do you want one?  I'll send one to the first three individuals who respond in the comments below.


  1. I absolutely love lavender! my MIL brougt me back little lavender sachets from France last Christmas, but now they dont really have anymore scent to them! :(
    I would love to get one from you! :)


  2. I've often thought of growing my own lavender as it's so expensive to buy all ready harvested. Now that I know how easy it is (I like you have a black thumb) I may have to try it!

  3. I'm back in the land of internet access! So far Tahoe is beautiful. I'm impressed with your lavender growing skills -ive managed to kill it several times....maybe because I haven't pruned it? You've convinced me to try again though. ;-)

  4. Tracy, Desi, and Sassy, I'll send you each one.

    Yes, I do believe the key is pruning. They get very woody if they aren't pruned regularly. I really hack the heck out of mind and they keep coming back.

    Thanks everyone and good luck with your plants!

  5. Thank you so much for this info I've been wondering when to harvest my lavender but then I feel mean cos the bees are so busy in it.

    Our Trader Joe's stopped selling the lavender sachets,about a year or more ago! I couldn't believe it so this year I intend to make my own.

  6. I too love lavender, and have not yet attempted to grow my own--having only managed to kill plants in the past. Dried lavender is also wonderful for bath salts--very relaxing. You can whip up a quick batch with a mix of semi-course sea salt, some epsom salt, a bit of almond/jojoba/grapeseed or other oil good for the skin, dried lavender of course, and a couple drops of Vitamin E. (Mix together and pour directly into the bath.) The result is a luxurious bath with a relaxing scent.

  7. I made my lavender into little sachets to put in my boxes of yarn. Its supposed to keep the moths away and its working so far!

  8. Great ideas, Brigitta and Kimberj! I love lavender bath scrubs and salts. And I hadn't thought about the anti moth properties it has.

    Lizzie, would love to hear how your diy laundry sachets turn out. Also, I never cut all of my blossoms. Just the ones that get in the way of my path. The bees are still happily buzzing around the others ;)


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