Dried lavender flowers can be purchased from several different sources, including farmers' markets, online bulk food, herb, tea, spice and craft retailers, and some well-stocked grocery stores. Dried lavender flowers can also be purchased directly from specialty farmers.
Lavender can be purchased at some farmers' markets directly from the grower; in this case, it is possible to find out exactly when the lavender was grown and harvested. Online sources can be a cost-effective way to purchase lavender, especially in larger quantities.
When purchasing dried lavender flowers (called lavender buds) consumers should look for bright color, as dull-colored and dusty flowers are a sign that they are past their prime or were improperly processed. If it is possible to smell the lavender before purchase, a clean, sweet fragrance is ideal. Avoid musty-smelling material.
The most common type of cultivated lavender, called English lavender, or Lavandula angustifolia, has been used for centuries for its strong and pleasant fragrance. Today it is commercially processed into essential oil of lavender, which is used in a variety of cosmetics, fragrances and cleaning products. Lavender is also used as a culinary ingredient in salad dressings, cheeses and baked goods. Lavender is commonly used by herbalists for a range of minor ailments.