Have you ever dreamed of having a lavender farm that provides beauty and income? With the right planning and care, growing bountiful lavender in your backyard is possible. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know, from choosing the most profitable varieties to selling fragrant lavender bundles. Follow these tips for lavender farming success.
Introduction to Lavender Growing
Lavender is an aromatic flowering herb cultivated for over 2,500 years. Today it is grown commercially across the globe for:
- Fragrant oils used in soaps, perfumes, lotions and candles
- Dried bundles and potpourri crafting
- Culinary flavoring and teas
- Cut flowers and decorative landscape plants
Growing lavender can be extremely lucrative if planned and managed correctly as an agricultural crop. Properly tended lavender can produce marketable yields for 20+ years from a single planting.
In this guide you’ll learn insider tips on the following:
- Selecting the best Lavandula varieties for profit
- Preparing and planting acreage for optimal blooms
- Maintaining healthy lavender growth
- Approaches for harvesting thousands of fragrant lavender stems
- Crafting and selling specialty lavender products
Follow these key steps below to plant your profitable backyard lavender farm operation.
Choosing the Best Site and Lavender Varieties
The first step is identifying an optimal outdoor site to grow your lavender. Requirements include:
- Full sun – at least 6-8 hours of direct sun daily
- Well-drained alkaline soil, sandy loam is ideal
- Spacious acreage – plan approximately 2,500+ lavender plants per acre
Next, select from over 400 types of lavender. Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula intermedia species have properties ideal for:
- Culinary use – flavoring sweets and drinks
- Crafting – wreaths, potpourri, sachets
- Extraction – fragrant oils for soaps, lotions
Top performing lavender cultivars for profit are:
- English Lavender – highly aromatic flowers
- French Lavender – a very fragrant, sturdy variety
- Spanish Lavender – easy to grow, deliciously scented
Purchase young starter plants to allow focused care early on.
Preparing and Installing Your Lavender Field Site
Before planting, install an efficient irrigation system and ensure proper drainage across the acreage. Test soil and amend as needed to pH 6.7-7.3.
Lavender thrives when:
- Soil has ideal drainage and nutrient balance
- Sunlight is plentiful across all planted rows
- The watering system keeps roots moist but not soaked.
Map out rows with 5 feet between rows and 2-3 feet between plants. This allows easier pruning, weeding, and harvesting access without overcrowding.
Methods to Plant and Propagate New Lavender
You can propagate from:
- Seeds – slower to establish but higher plant volume
- Cuttings – quicker yield, preserve flower properties.
- Take 6-inch cuttings from last year’s new growth
- Dip ends in rooting hormone powder
- Propagate cuttings in pots indoors
- Transplant outside after new roots form
- Carefully transplant young lavender plants outside to permanent spots in rows
- Space plants 2-3 feet apart
- Gently firm soil around roots
- Water thoroughly after planting. To protect newly planted lavender from wind damage during establishment, support them with stakes and apply organic mulch around the base.
Growing and Maintaining Your Lavender
Ongoing care is crucial for lavender to thrive year after year. Regular maintenance tasks include:
- Annually pruning older wood to encourage new growth
- Organically fertilizing in early spring and summer
- Installing bee hives for pollination
- Watching for common lavender problems like root rot
- Requires at least 1-2 inches weekly, don’t overwater
- Soil should dry slightly between waterings
- Hot weather may need more frequent watering
- Weed control improves airflow and reduces pests
- Mulch around plants to regulate soil temperature
- Ensure proper winter drainage
Harvesting Methods for Maximizing Blooms
Harvest lavender stems when flowers on the top third of the spike open. Cutting too early reduces yields.
- Hand-cutting each stems with pruners
- Using specialized lavender harvesting equipment
Harvest before the heat of the day when the oil content is highest.
Bunch 15-25 stems together and hang indoors to dry for 1-2 weeks until crisp. Carefully detach dried florets for use in crafts and oils.
A single lavender plant can yield 100+ hand-cut stems on average each year. Profit potential is exponential across acres.
Enjoying Your Lavender Bounty
A backyard lavender farm offers endless ways to enjoy this versatile herb. Craft boutique lavender products to sell or make special treats:
- Create organic soaps and candles with extracted oil
- Craft wreaths, potpourris, eye masks using dried buds
- Bake lavender shortbread cookies, lemonades, and jams
- Steep dried buds into calming herbal teas
Reaching Markets to Sell Your Lavender Goods
There’s a high demand for artisanal lavender goods. Potential markets include:
- Local craft fairs, farmer’s markets, and online shops
- CSA subscriptions selling dried bundles
- Wholesale deals with boutiques and florists
Study regulations in your state regarding cottage food operations. Consider organic certification to increase profits.
Package dried lavender in creative ways, like hand-tied muslin bags. Develop unique lavender-themed products.
The Profit Potential of Backyard Lavender
Well-tended lavender can yield impressive sustainable profits from small backyard plots to larger acreage farms for years. Follow these best practices to establish a thriving lavender business that keeps clients returning harvest after harvest.
The aromatic appeal of homegrown lavender is undeniable. Let your imagination run wild as you craft specialty goods and relaxation products featuring fresh and dried lavender from your own backyard growth operation.
Getting Started: Initial Costs and Time Investment
While lavender can be highly profitable over time, there are some upfront costs and time requirements to consider when starting your backyard lavender farm:
- Land prep (adding soil amendments, installing irrigation): $1,500+
- Plants & propagation materials: $5+ per plant x 2,500 plants per acre = $12,500+
- Tools (pruners, harvesting baskets): $300+
- Building drying shed: $1,000+
- Total = Around $15,000+ for 1-acre lavender farm
Ongoing Time Commitment
- Land preparation before planting: 50+ hours
- Planting time if doing 2,500 plants: 100+ hours
- Yearly pruning & harvesting: 100+ hours
- Drying harvested bundles: 150+ hours
- Developing/selling value-added products: 10+ hours weekly
So while intensive at first, a backyard lavender farm can earn back the initial investments over a few seasons. Streamline operations with tools like drip irrigation, and efficient drying racks. consider interplanting new lavender varieties each year to extend harvest from June through September.
Maximizing Profit: Value-Added Lavender Products
To maximize earnings, look beyond selling just raw lavender buds. Craft value-added products that command higher prices:
Lavender Product Ideas
- Candles – popular decorative gifts
- Essential oils – custom extraction kits available
- Sachets – bridal/baby shower favors
- Seasoning salts – gourmet cooking niche
- Pet products – calming catnip alternatives
You can sell products through:
- An eCommerce Website – global customer reach
- Farmers Markets – direct local sales
- Wholesale Agreements – tap into existing retail channels
Consider limited-time offerings like seasonal gift sets. Provide superior customer service and brand experience to foster an emotional connection between clients and your small farm.
What are common pests and diseases for lavender plants?
Some issues to watch for include root rot, fungus gnats, spittlebugs, whiteflies, flea beetles, and lavender cankers. Maintain soil drainage, prune plants for airflow, use row covers, and wash bugs off with streams of water.
How much space do I need to allow between lavender plants?
Space lavender plants 2-3 feet apart within rows to prevent overcrowding. Rows should be 3-6 feet apart depending on your pruning and harvesting equipment access needs.
Is it better to start lavender from seeds or cuttings?
Most commercial growers start with cuttings to clone ideal lavender varieties efficiently. Seeds produce more genetic diversity but take longer to reach mature size.
What is the best time of day to harvest lavender?
Research indicates harvesting in the morning after dew dries but before the heat of mid-day yields the highest essential oil content and quality.
How long does it take lavender cuttings to root or seedlings to mature?
Cuttings form roots in 2-4 weeks typically. Seedlings may take up to 9 months to reach a mature enough size for transplanting outside.
What type of soil should I plant lavender in?
Lavender thrives best in slightly alkaline well-drained loam or sandy soils with lots of sunlight. Avoid overly clay-heavy or constantly wet soil.
Final Tips for Growing Lavender in Your Backyard
The possibilities are endless when you grow artisanal lavender crops. Follow this closing advice when establishing your operation:
- Start small to limit initial risks – test products and markets
- Consider organically certifying crops to increase their value.
- Network with other lavender farmers for insights
- Invest profits into improving efficiency; automation equipment could maximize outputs
- Diversify income streams; don’t rely solely on dried lavender.
- Provide exceptional service and interact frequently with clients.
With passion and smart business decisions, your backyard lavender could expand into a highly successful lifestyle enterprise.