Want to maximize your lavender harvest year after year? We did too so we did some quick calcs to find out which varieties to grow so you can harvest up to three times per year.
So how many times does a lavender farm harvest? Spanish Lavender can be harvested up to three times per year (May, June, and Late Summer). English lavender is harvested once usually in June or July. Lavandin (Hybrid Lavender) is harvested a month after English one time in either July or August through late summer. If you grow all three species you can harvest lavender up to 5 times per year.
Do Different Varieties or Lavender Species Get Harvested At Different Times?
In order to get 5 harvests a year you have to understand when each species likes to be picked and when each goes to flower.
The following breaks down the three most commonly grown species and when you can harvest each as well as how many times a year.
- English Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) – Harvest English Lavender when purple buds have appeared but not yet opened into full flowers. This will happen once per year in June or July and will last for 3-4 weeks.
- Dutch Lavender or Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia) – Another mid-summer bloomer. Expect flowering to occur 1 month after the English Lavender season. Lavandin flowers starting in July or August and go through the end of the summer.
- Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas) – Known as a continuous blooming lavender. Flowering starts in May and is often followed by a second batch in June which may be followed by a final batch in late summer or fall. This lavender requires hot weather (US hardiness zones 8 and 9). Ultimate blooming times will be affected by temperature and rainfall conditions that year.
When To Harvest Lavender For Common Products
Fresh lavender flowers are harvested when the flowers open. Most other lavender products will be harvested when the buds are ripe but haven’t opened yet. This maximizes the amount of essential oils in the flowers which can quickly volatilize away in the heat of the sun after the flowers open.
- Lavender Flowers (Fresh) – Spanish lavender can be harvested fresh up to three times per year.
- Lavender Flowers (Dried) – English lavender or Hybrid lavender (lavandin) are harvested once per year usually in mid-summer for English and late summer for lavandin.
- Lavender Bags, soap, lotion, infused oils, infused alcohols – These are typically made from dried products. Harvest these from English or Hydrid lavender once per year either in June/July for English or July/Late Summer for hybrid lavender.
- Essential Oil – These are most commonly made from fresh flowers and stems. See video example below. If you grow a combination of Spanish lavender, English, and Hybrid you can harvest up to 5 times per year.
Does It Matter What Time Of Day To Harvest?
In general you want to harvest in the morning after the dew has dried and before the heat of the sun comes out around 10-11 AM. This maximizes the amount of essential oil retained in the flowers.
Sunlight can quickly burn out a good amount of the oils that give lavender its best feature.
While this is important for product quality it doesn’t affect the total amount of lavender you can harvest or the amount of harvests per year.
A Note On Close Buds Vs Open Flowers
Not all buds will open at the same time. While it’s more efficient to harvest an entire plant at once, you could technically get more flower harvests through the season if you carefully select only the stalks with fully open flowers.
This is tedious and time consuming and really would only work for small gardens to give to friends and family or if you’re selling at a local market just for fun.
Still, it’s a way to get more harvests out of the year if that’s the goal.
How To Maximize The Number of Lavender Harvests Per Year
The easiest way to maximum your harvests of lavender is to do the following:
- 3 Harvests – Grow Spanish Lavender. Harvest in May then again in June. Wait for a later summer/early fall flowering then harvest again.
- 1 Harvest – Grow English lavender and harvest in July/August.
- 1-2 Harvests – Grow Hybrid lavender (lavandin) and harvest in August through Early Fall.
Max harvests – 5 and possibly 6 per year
Note that rain and temperature changes from year to year will affect when your plants will bloom.
Can You Grow English Lavender and Spanish Lavender Together?
English lavenders like cooler climates and can grow in the colder US Hardiness zone 5.
Spanish lavender prefers the warmer southern climates. Hence the Spanish aspect of the name. These as well as French lavender varieties do well in warmer US hardiness zones 8 and 9 (the South as well as Southern Arizona and Florida).
But can you grow them together to maximize your harvests? Yes if you get the conditions right.
If you live in the south then Spanish lavender will naturally do well but English lavender may struggle.
Make sure to use a well drained soil and really space out your english lavender. They won’t like the humidity and all the extra moisture. If need be grow less of it and use well drained soils in pots.
Spanish or French lavender won’t handle the cold spells if you live in the north. Plant them in microclimates that are naturally warmer (e.g. on the south side of large boulders or stone walls that retain heat through the night).
You can also use row covers or cold frames to help them pull off both another harvest in late summer as well as to help them live through the winter.
In the end you’ll have an easier time growing the right type of lavender for your area. If you want to really maximize the number of harvest though you’ll have to grow these different species and you’ll have to bend to their needs.