Starting a lavender farm

 Have you purchased a small farm, or are you interested in lavender and thinking of starting a lavender farm? Many people do, some as a paying hobby and  others that go on to make a successful business from it.

Background to lavender farming

Compared to most other agricultural crops lavender can provide an excellent return from a small area. There is however a limit to the area of lavender that can be successfully grown at any one point in time. For most producers this area is around five hectares. It is possible to grow a larger area, however a larger farm is required with a much greater capital investment. A large commercial lavender farm in France.

Keys to growing lavender successfully  

Before setting up a lavender farm a number of preliminary decisions need to be made. These decisions need to be based on what you want to do on a daily basis and how much money you would like to earn? The best lavender returns come from agri-tourism, this is where the lavender farm becomes an attraction for tourists. This business method requires the owner to have the right personality to deal with the public. 
A large commercial lavender farm in France.

 If you are a person who likes to keep to themselves or your property is not on a main road or near a tourist precinct then agri-tourism will be difficult to  achieve.If the idea of growing lavender is still of interest then you are best to develop a sales channel through a network of tourism outlets, not necessarily  lavender.

Site Selection and set up In selecting your site there are a number of important considerations. First, lavender must have plenty of direct sunlight (at least 5 hours per day), very good drainage and lots of air movement."The best lavender returns come from agri-tourism, this is where the lavender farm becomes an attraction for tourists." 

 Secondly, although lavender survives under dry weather conditions a commercial crop responds well to irrigation and regular autumn watering. Fertiliser is  not critical however lavender does require high levels of Calcium and a pH of 6.8 to 7.3. Finally, depending on what type of business you intend to run there  may be a need for shedding, retail area, car and bus parking and gardens. 

 Setting up a lavender farm does not necessarily need to be a large capital expense. Purchasing lavender plants is the most expensive part of the set up.  Approximately 10,000 plants are required per hectare, with lavender plants ranging in price from $1.20 to $3.00 each, depending on the variety. The next  largest set up cost is the purchase and installation of irrigation equipment and the preparation of the soil. High capital costs are required when distillation  equipment or more advanced tourism is desired. The cost of these items ranges from a few thousand dollars for a small still and packaging area to several  hundred thousand dollars for a large still, retail area and cafe.

Lavender products

There are two main products produced from lavender other than the fresh flowers. These are the stripped florets and the oil. The stripped flowers are used in cooking, pot-pourri and cosmetics. To produce stripped lavender you need a small to medium sized shed for a drying and stripping machine. This equipment needs to be home made as currently there are not any commercial units available. Drying Lavandula angustifolia after harvest. The second product is the lavender oil. This is used in perfumery, cosmetics, culinary and cleaning agents. Lavender oil is produced by steam distillation; therefore a steam still is required to produce the oil. A small still will cost around one thousand dollars with a medium sized one costing upwards of ten thousand dollars. A small to medium sized shed will be needed to store the still, a clean dry area for bottling and a cool dark shed for storage.  
Drying lavender after harvest.

 Lavender species

 There are over thirty species of lavender of which only two species are used for commercial oil production; a few other species are used for fresh and dried  flowers. When producing lavender oil it is critical to use the correct varieties. The two main species are Lavandula x intermedia (L. angustifolia x L. latifolia)  [Lavandin] and Lavandula angustifolia [Lavender]. Lavandin produces oil with a medium level of Camphor; this oil is primarily used to add fragrance to  cleaners. Oil produced from Lavender plants is used for perfumery, cosmetics and culinary, it is low in camphor with a sweet old fashioned fragrance. Bath  Lavender and Lavandin oil can be produced from a number of commercially available varieties.

 Some varieties are unsuitable for commercial production and others have very low yields and are not economical. It can be difficult to differentiate some of  these attributes by their external morphology. Hence, it is important that plants are purchased from a recognised propagator who can give assurance on the  source of their stock plants. Lavender plants for oil production should not be grown from seed.

 Where to from here? 

 After reading this information and if lavender farming is still for you, it is best to do some further reading. This includes: 

Larkam Nurseries also produces a booklet for $100 that gives the basics to prospective lavender growers. The $100 is then rebated off lavender plant  purchases. Once this has been completed, visit a number of lavender farms and if you are planning to farm lavender on a commercial scale engage a l  lavender professional who has experience in the industry.


 This article is courtesy of Clive Larkman from Larkman Nurseries. Clive is a botanist, qualified horticultural consultant with significant management  experience in several industries including lavender.

News Category

New Forum Topics

Topic Replies Last post Forum
5735 Ration Feeding Beef Cattle
by Urchy87 on Tue, 06/18/2019 - 19:28
by admin
Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:36
General Forum
5738 Hello! 50 Acres on the South Coast NSW
by Lilly on Sun, 06/23/2019 - 16:00
by Lilly
Sun, 06/23/2019 - 16:00
New Members
5736 New Member - Northern Rivers NSW
by ashcow on Thu, 06/20/2019 - 14:15
by admin
Sun, 06/23/2019 - 15:32
New Members
5734 Just bought our first block of land, hello!
by too-many-boys-and-me on Mon, 06/17/2019 - 15:20
by admin
Thu, 06/20/2019 - 14:25
New Members
5503 Agistment gone bad!
by frontess on Mon, 04/01/2019 - 21:35
by amen423
Thu, 06/20/2019 - 07:45
General Forum
2999 Dexter Cattle or Small Breed/Miniature Cattle Breeders in CQ
by landk2016 on Wed, 07/20/2016 - 08:25
by admin
Wed, 06/19/2019 - 22:39
General Forum
5522 Total newbies on 8 acres Vic
by shelle on Thu, 04/11/2019 - 10:56
by Albertgotdonkey
Thu, 06/13/2019 - 12:08
New Members
5733 serrated tussock
by Robdog on Sun, 06/09/2019 - 13:33
by rolly @ fi
Thu, 06/13/2019 - 10:11
Weeds & pests
2644 Cattle branding - fire v electric
by Comraich on Mon, 11/02/2015 - 14:33
by sallyero62
Tue, 06/11/2019 - 15:13
Farming Help
3316 Atherton Tablelands Queensland
by Benfairley on Mon, 01/22/2018 - 17:08
by sallyero62
Tue, 06/11/2019 - 15:05
New Members
5684 What do I do with 20 acres of grapes?
by Phil on Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:20
by sallyero62
Tue, 06/11/2019 - 14:51
New Members
3130 How to farm with sheep....
by mandys76 on Tue, 12/20/2016 - 14:02
by sallyero62
Tue, 06/11/2019 - 14:32
New Members
5689 Vaccination of weaner cattle
by FDE on Tue, 05/28/2019 - 06:12
by FDE
Fri, 05/31/2019 - 13:13
Farming Help
5611 lantana and land clearing
by samsmith on Tue, 05/07/2019 - 17:21
by samsmith
Tue, 05/28/2019 - 20:08
Farming Help
3148 Wiltipol Sheep and Boran Cattle
by chisel on Sun, 01/22/2017 - 19:07
by Brownscows
Sun, 05/26/2019 - 07:19
New Members
5520 Assignment help
by AJD on Mon, 04/08/2019 - 13:22
by Phil
Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:37
General Forum
5544 Petrol supply carburettor Massey Ferguson 35 Petrol
by Scarydingo on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 16:09
by Phil
Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:10
Machinery & products
5670 New member - Brisbane - looking for agistment for cattle
by [email protected] on Fri, 05/10/2019 - 18:22
by admin
Wed, 05/15/2019 - 14:39
New Members
5466 How to Become Classified as A Primary Producer/Alpacas
by Char on Fri, 02/01/2019 - 11:04
by AmarooFarm
Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:45
Farm planning
5673 Goat Worming
by Brettgarland on Sat, 05/11/2019 - 17:06
by barb
Mon, 05/13/2019 - 17:05
Farming Help

Our Sponsors

Our Partners