Three Ways to Use Lavender


If you are looking for plants for your garden with a heav­enly scent, lavender has to be right up there at the top of the list.

From a garden design point of view, lavender’s silver-gray fol­iage is an excellent neutral. Use it as a backdrop for brighter plants and as a bridge between contrasting colors.

To successfully grow lavender, select a spot with well-drained soil and a full day’s sun. Water consistently and apply an all-purpose, liquid fertilizer in spring as new growth emerges. To keep plants full, lightly prune after the flowers fade in summer.

Lavender is a multipurpose plant that is useful in herbal remedies, aromatherapy, cooking and perfumes. Here are three easy ways to put lavender to work around your house.

Lavender Syrup

Slowly boil one cup of sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Add ¼ cup dried lavender flowers and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and cool. Lavender simple syrup will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.

Lavender Swizzle Sticks

Freshen up your drink with a little lavender. Snip a stem that is an inch or so longer than the depth of the glass. Strip the leaves from the bottom, leaving the ones at the top. The pungent flavor is particularly good for a gin and tonic or martini.

Lavender Tea

A cup of lavender tea is good for anxiety, upset stomach or sleeplessness. Mix one tablespoon of dried lavender flowers with boiling water in a teapot and steep for 10 minutes. Save leftover tea to use as a hair rinse.

43 Responses to Three Ways to Use Lavender

  1. I love your column and look forward to it in my e-mail box. Each time it comes I don’t open it until I have plenty of time to absorb everything in it. Thanks for this wonderful edication you give all of us.

    • I enjoy your blogs. I enjoy practicing aromatherapy and use lavender essential oil in all my blends. It is excellent to place lavender oil in your favorite shampoo and conditioner. Lavender is the the best overall plant and oil to use on everything from your teas to helping you capture restful sleep.

  2. Just yesterday I attended the 4th Annual Finger Lakes Lavender Festival @Lockwood Farm. I loved the opportunity to experience the French/English varieties of lavender perfectly arranged in abundant rows that allowed each visitor to admire/stroll/collect samples ~ a lovely time. I am inspired to extend my lavender garden to a garden space that just may be suited to grow lavender now that I have witnessed the beauty! I will be perusing your blog as I plan for this new challenge. There is nothing quite like lavender to fill the senses!

  3. Lisa L. says:

    The fragrance of Lavender is what I favor. I particularly love watering on a warm evening and the mist from the hose brings out that wonderful fragrance. My mom being French, lavender is a must have in her garden.

  4. D. says:

    Ya’ll should read the book called Holy Shit by Gary Logsdon and start utilizing real manure for all your garden needs, not just the flowers. It’s the best thing on earth if it comes from grassfed cows ONLY. Learn to use what nature gives us, not what Monsanto and their ilk give us. You’ll love your gardens twice as much.

  5. Rita Hopper says:

    Lavender cookies are good too – light and crispy.

  6. Carol says:

    I thought I had read that for cooking purposes, you needed to use
    a certain grade of lavender. Is that true and where can you find it?

    • Ellen Stenstrom says:

      I buy cooking grade Lavender from Cate Tureff, at She sells direct or you can place through or .
      The product is excellent.

    • Carol, the only type of lavender that would not be appropriate to use for culinary purposes are those known as “stoechas” lavender, because they do not produce buds (they produce egg-shaped flower heads, instead). All non-stoechas varieties of lavender — which includes True Lavenders (English Family, French Family, and Spanish Family) as well as Spike Lavender, as well as all of the hybrids (including the famous Provence variety) — produce buds that are edible. Although I find the English Family lavenders to be slightly sweeter than any other, the differences are very slight. — Dave, Seafoam Lavender Farm

  7. Thea Boucher says:

    I just tried something fun recently: I cut up some lavender stems and leaves (I dry the flowers for other uses), pounded them a little with a mortar and pestle, and then put them in a jar with white vinegar. I set it out on my deck in the bright sun to steep for a few days, then strained out the leaves and stems, and put the liquid in a spritz bottle. Now when I want to clean up a spill or spot, I spritz it with my lavender vinegar. It smells so nice!!

  8. Merle LeDonne says:

    I have two huge lovely Lavender plants. I want to know the best way to dry it to use as potpourri in some fabric handerchief type holders I’m going to make. Or, I may also use the drawstring pouches that you can see through found at any good craft store and add a row of dangling beads along the bottom. I want to use these as gifts. I’ve heard it should be dried in the sun. If so, do you leave the blooms intact until the stem of blooms is dried? Or, do you shred off the blooms and dry that way?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also, I suppose you can do this in the microwave?

    • Merle, drying lavender buds in the sun will cause the colour to bleach. The best way to acquire lavender buds for making a sachet is to cut a bouquet AFTER the buds turn purple (which indicates they are full of lavender essential oil) but BEFORE the buds begin to flower. Using a pair of scissors, harvest a handful of bud stalks (no more than 100 stems), strip off all leaves, and then tie the stalks together in a bouquet with a rubber band. Hang this bouquet upside down (using a large paperclip or a Christmas ornament hanger) in a dry, DARK place for several days. The darkness causes the pigment in the buds to “set” (permanently, as long as they remain out of direct sunlight). To make a sachet, simply tap the flower stalks on a clean, smooth tabletop and the buds will crumble off the stems. — Dave, Seafoam Lavender Farm

  9. Teri says:

    Once I make the Lavender Syrup, what would I use it on?

  10. Barbara Harman says:

    I have some small antique baskets that I enjoy filled with lavender. Pour a drying medium, available at the craft store, into a plastic bag that will fit nicely into the basket. I use enough medium to fill the basket about half full. Tuck the bag edges down into the basket so it’s not seen. Then arrange fresh picked lavender stems into the medium, tuck the plastic bag down inside the basket (but don’t close the top) and place in any room that you want a fragrant display. I’ve used this method for years. The lavender dries in a couple of days, doesn’t lose it’s color and retains it’s fragrance. Use shorter stems around the edges to further cover the medium and bag.

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