Once the flower stems are cut, use your hedge clippers to shape the plant into an ornamental form, giving it a nice spherical shape. Feel free to trim the foliage as needed to create the ball shape that suits lavender so well.
How to Harvest Lavender?
You can harvest lavender when pruning, towards the end of the flowering period. After pruning is done, two simple techniques are often used:
- You can make bouquets with the harvested flowers and hang them upside down to dry,
- You can also gently remove the individual flowers and let them dry flat on cotton cloths.
Keep in mind that the faded flower has already lost almost all of its natural essential oil. This essential oil is what gives the flower its delightful fragrance. So, if you want to make long-lasting lavender sachets, it's better to harvest the flowers earlier in the season, during blooming when the flowers are opening.
Lavender is particularly rich in essential oil when it's just starting to bloom. This is the precise moment when lavender growers harvest their lavender fields. Conversely, when the floral spikes are fully bloomed, they release their fragrance to attract pollinating insects, and the essential oil evaporates.
Lavender sachets are perfect for scenting your closets and repelling moths. A lavender sachet can last up to 2 years when regularly shaken to release the essential oil contained in the flowers.
How to Care for Lavender Successfully?
Lavender is a plant that requires very little maintenance. The most important aspects for enjoying beautiful blooms year after year are managing watering and pruning.
Lavender's Watering Needs
Lavender only needs a small amount of water to thrive. In the first year after planting, don't hesitate to water as needed in spring and summer. This prevents the soil from becoming too dry while allowing your plants to develop deeper roots.
After the first year, rainfall is usually sufficient unless there's a prolonged drought.
Presence of Pests
When all the conditions are right for lavender to thrive, it's very resistant to diseases. However, small pests can sometimes invade it. This is the case for cicadas, lavender gall midge, lavender bugs, caterpillars of various moths, and froghoppers.
Pruning lavender is a good time of year to inspect your plants and ensure they haven't been invaded by pests.
If you notice an insect colony, start by identifying the species. You can then spray your plant's foliage to remove as many pests as possible. Additionally, you can rely on certain natural predators such as ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps to assist you.
Using Fertilizer for Lavender
It's unnecessary to fertilize lavender planted in open ground, as its roots naturally extract the necessary nutrients from the soil.
For potted and container-grown plants, you also don't need to apply fertilizer. The replacement of some of the soil during repotting will be sufficient.