Harvesting Lavender in the Okanagan!
Most lavender in the Okanagan is ready for the first harvest of 2023! After a nail-biting spring, we are happy to say that our lavender plants are flourishing. If you read our June update, you’d know that this winter in the Okanagan took a toll on many farmers’ crops across the valley. Thankfully, our plants were some of the few that survived the long, and cold winter. Unfortunately, not all of our lavender made it to see the sun, but the plants that did are doing better than ever! In lieu of harvest season, this article will be all about cutting and maintaining your lavender plants. Follow along below to learn more about harvesting fresh lavender!
All About Harvesting Lavender in the Okanagan
- When to Harvest?
If you’re growing lavender in a climate like ours, it can be harvested about twice per year. Our first harvest usually occurs in the early summer, while our second harvest will occur in the early fall. However, if you live in a climate that doesn’t get frost and lavender can bloom year-round, then you can usually harvest small bunches of lavender periodically throughout the year. Although, depending on what you want to use your lavender for, you may want to harvest it at specific times. For instance, younger buds are best for oils and fragrance so you’ll want to cut your plants early if you have plans to make perfumes or essential oils.
- Do Different Varieties of Lavender Require Different Care?
There are so many different varieties of lavender that a person can grow. Although, most plants fall under the broader categories of English, French or Spanish lavender. Each category has its own unique look that sets it apart from other varieties. For instance, English lavender is short and sweet, while French lavender is tall and has a stronger, piney scent. Most lavender varieties require the same kind of care and maintenance. However, it is important to check that you are growing the right lavender for your zoning.
Some lavender varieties don’t do well in certain climates, while others will flourish! In Kelowna (where our farm is located), we can’t grow most Spanish lavender varieties since these plants are typically zoned for 8a to 9b. Instead, we have to grow plants that are suited to zone 6a. Understanding your zoning is one of the most important steps in caring for your lavender in the Okanagan. With this information, you’ll be able to ensure that your plants have the most optimal growing conditions.
More Tips for Harvesting Your Lavender!
When harvesting lavender it is important to cut them in the right location. Many people make the mistake of cutting too far down which can damage the plant. Instead, when harvesting the plant, you want to grab your bunch like you are forming a ponytail and cut above the part where the stem starts to turn woody and brown. The bunches that you cut should have soft green stems—not wood-like ends! You can determine where to trim your lavender by pushing the plant back and taking note of where the green stems stop and where the brown begins. By doing this you’ll also notice that the woody part of the plant has no flowers, new growth, or leaves.
If you want to prune your lavender plants, make sure you do so after harvesting. Otherwise, you could significantly delay when your plants will flower. It is very important to prune your plants after the final harvest in the fall in order to get maximal growth the next season.
After harvesting your bunches, you should be left with a perfect bouquet of purple flowers. This little bundle can now be used for cooking, distilling, crafts or simply as a bouquet for your home. You can keep fresh lavender in a vase with water if you don’t have plans to dry the flowers. If you do want to dry your bundles, be sure to hang them somewhere that doesn’t get much moisture or lie them flat. This way, they will dry more evenly and maintain their straightness.
Contact us About Lavender in the Okanagan!
Our farm is getting ready to unveil our latest project! Be sure to stay tuned to our social media, website, and blog until the opening date of Lavender Jack’s! As always, if you have any questions about purchasing lavender in the Okanagan, feel free to contact us. Or, if you have any inquiries about Lavender Jack’s, don’t hesitate to reach out. We look forward to welcoming you soon at our new location!