The three most popular and widely available lavenders are common or English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), French lavender (Lavandula stoechas) and lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia). In the US, every region is separated by plant zones that are guidelines as to what grows best in that area. For the Pacific Northwest, you want to plant lavender varieties English Lavender.
In the Southwest, you would do best to plant French Lavender.
Most lavender varieties though are good for Zones 5-9 as they are quite hardy and drought-resistant plants.
The right time and method for harvesting lavender
When to Harvest Lavender
Prune and harvest when the flowers bloom. Pruning and harvesting lavender are essentially the same – you’re removing the flowering stalks from the bush. This promotes new growth in the plant’s roots, keeps the plant looking neat, and leaves you with bunches of fresh lavender flowers. Lavender should be cut when the flower have just opened in spring. This is the time during which they’re most fragrant and beautiful.
How to Harvest Lavender
To harvest lavender, use sharp bypass pruners and gather a small handful of long flower stems. Cut the lavender a few inches above the woody growth. If you examine the lavender bush, you’ll see it’s rooted to the ground with tough, woody growth, above which grow the green stalks – green growth. Cutting into the woody growth can hurt the plant. Give it plenty of room by cutting about two inches above the end of the woody growth. Continue collecting stems in your hand until you have a nice sized bundle. Secure the bundle with twine and continue until the plant is fully harvested.
Cut after the dew has dried but before the heat of the sun draws out too much of the essential oils. Dry lavender bunches by hanging them in a warm, dry spot, out of direct sunlight. After 2-4 weeks when the lavender has fully dried, you can shake or gently rub the lavender buds into a tray or bowl and store it in a lidded jar in a cool dark place. You can also place the dried stems in vases to decorate your home, make sachets or delicious confections with your harvest.
Adding some drying lavender around your home will make it smell heavenly.