We all love dill pickles–but there is so much to dill than you might expect.
The unexpected hero of the herb garden, dill’s light yet hearty flavor, delicious bouquet, and overall hardiness make it a pleasure both to grow and enjoy. It’s an excellent companion plant as well. Planting dill alongside vegetables and other herbs in your home garden can attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs, hoverflies, and aphid midges. It can even bring in swallowtail butterflies. With many dill varieties and even more culinary uses, this herb is one that gives more than it needs.
For those excited about getting dill growing in their gardens, here are our favorite gardening tips and tricks for growing one of nature’s most delicious bounties.
What Is Dill The Herb?
Botanical Name & Family: Anethum graveolens.
What Type Of Plant Is Dill?: Dill is an umbellifer, which means it grows large, disc-like flowers if left to grow too long. Other umbellifers include parsley, carrots, caraway, and fennel.
Growing Zones: Dill can be grown in most growing zones, depending on the season.
Growing Seasons: In USDA zones 9-11, plant your dill in the early fall to grow during the cooler winter months. In USDA zones 3-7, start planting your dill in late spring to take advantage of the warmer summer weather.
Dill Hardiness: Dill is hardiest in zones 2-11. It can grow even in poor soil conditions and is a perennial, returning year after year.
When to Grow Dill?
Dill does best when grown in mild to warm temperatures. Because of this, you will need to time your planting on your particular climate.
When To Plant Dill
If you live in cooler climates, we recommend starting your dill plants in late spring, after the day of the last frost.
If you live in warmer climates, try planting in early fall, taking care that you do not plant too close to the first frost date.
How long does it take to grow Dill?
Dill grows quickly, but you’ll want to make sure it’s fully mature before cutting too much. Plants are fully mature in about 90 days and can be harvested as soon as there are four to five dill leaves on a stem. For best results, try to cut your fresh leaves before it starts developing yellow flower umbels.
How To Plant Dill In Your Garden
The best success in growing dill comes from planting dill seeds. Start planting the seeds directly into soil instead of conducting germination on a paper towel–dill drops a taproot when it begins to grow, and you will not want to move it if possible.
How To Plant Dill Seeds
Plant your dill seeds 1/4 inch in soil rich in organic matter. Space each seed around 18 inches apart to give it plenty of room to grow. Give everything a good watering, taking care not to flood the seeds, and set it in the sun to start the growing process.
Preparing Dill Transplants For Planting
Because dill has a taproot, we do not recommend starting with mature transplants. However, those who do not want to use seeds can use a cutting to jump-start the growing process. See more about using cuttings below.
Growing Dill In Pots & Containers
Dill does extremely well in small-space gardens, including pots, containers, and raised beds. The most important part of growing in a pot or container is to make sure that your dill has enough room to grow. Each seed should have about 12 to 18 inches to flourish as a grown plant.
How To Grow Dill In Containers
- Get Potting Soil
Start by taking a potting mix rich in organic matter.
- Sow Seeds
Sow dill seeds 18 inches apart within your container, burying them around 1/4 inch deep in the soil. Give them a good soaking, then place the container in the sun.
- Find A Place For Your Garden
You’ll want to set it up in a place that gets at least five to six hours of sun per day.
- Move Your Container Garden Into Sun (Optional)
If you don’t have an exact spot that works, move your container around to parts that are sunnier.
How To Grow Dill From Cuttings
Dill doesn’t do well as a transplant, as, like carrots, it drops a taproot when it’s planted in soil. Therefore, you should try to start from seeds as often as possible.
However, if you are looking to shave off some time from planting to harvest, it is possible to grow a fresh dill plant from a cutting. Take a four-inch sprig of dill that has a large and healthy stem. Put the ends in a glass of water to encourage root growth, and after about 3-4 weeks, you should have a complex enough root system to successfully transfer into the soil.
Common Dill Growing Problems & Issues
Dill is commonly met with both pests and disease. Pests to watch for include aphids, caterpillars, and worms (more on that later).
In terms of disease, you’ll need to watch out for powdery mildew and downy mildew fungus. Both are caused by high humidity and over dampness on dill leaves. Keeping your dill in the sunlight can help it dry out and prevent these fungi from developing.
Dill Plant Care – Growing Conditions & How To Care
If you’re just starting out on your dill growing journey in your home garden, here are some of our best practices to set you up for success.
Ideal Potting Soil For Growing Dill
Dill is fairly resilient and can grow even in poor soil conditions. However, it does best in loamy, sandy soil that is well-draining and slightly acidic (soil pH of 5.8-6.5). Try to keep your soil temperature around 70 degrees for best results.
The Ideal Dill Growing Temperature
Dill prefers to grow in temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees. It also requires plenty of sun, so be sure to adjust your growing schedule to your climate. Warmer climates might want to consider growing dill in the fall as opposed to the late spring.
How much Sun Does Dill Need To Grow
Dill likes full sun for between five and six hours a day. If you are unable to find a spot that gets this much sun, you’ll need to plant your dill in a container that can be moved easily.
How much Water does Dill Need
Dill doesn’t like too much water, but it’s also important to make sure that it gets enough to drink. Aim to water once every few days, checking the soil moisture daily to be sure that it’s not too dry.
Common pests for dill include aphids, caterpillars, and worms. However, it can stand up to occasional pests as long as there is not an infestation. Keeping the soil moist but not wet and ensuring that the plant gets plenty of sunshine are good ways to keep pests at bay.
Grow Pro Dill Growing Tips
Looking for quick and easy tips for growing dill in a home garden? Here are our top three:
- Timing is everything. Success with growing dill depends on the season. You want temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees, so the ideal growing season could change depending on your area. If you live in warmer climates, start in early fall, in cooler climates, late spring.
- Get plenty of sun. Dill weed loves full sunlight. Get between five and six hours a day if you want a flourishing harvest. Ensuring your plant gets plenty of sun can also prevent disease.
- Trim when needed. It can be tough to think about cutting a plant that isn’t ready for harvest, but dill plants benefit from a healthy trim. This is especially true if you are growing in a container with other plants. Making sure your dill weed has enough room around it to grow is highly beneficial.
Dill Companion Plants
If you are looking to grow veggies in addition to your dill, we recommend the following companion plants:
- Brassica family vegetables
If you are just planning an herb garden, try pairing it with basil, chervil, and chives. Avoid planting near carrots, nightshades, and cilantro.
Dill Growing Stages
Dill’s life cycle can be broken into the following categories:
We recommend starting with seeds–dill puts down a taproot, so it doesn’t do well as a transplant.
Sow your seeds about 18 inches apart, buried 1/4 of an inch to the soil. Give them a good drink of water and plenty of sunlight, and you should start to see results fast.
Within 10 to 14 days of planting your seeds, you should start to see dill plants developing. Continue to water for another 10 to 14 days, when the plants have become mature and fuller. Thin them out to give them room to grow, if necessary. You want to maintain spacing of 12 to 18 inches apart.
It’s Time To Harvest
It’s time to harvest your dill when you see sprigs with four to five dill leaves on them. Never take more than one-third of the plant at a time if you want to keep your plant thriving.
I Waited Too Long, Now What?
You can really pick dill anytime, but it’s best to try to do some before it begins to flower. If you start to see dill flowers or flower heads, pinch them off with your fingers and continue to harvest as normal. You can drop the seed heads into the soil if you want to try to grow more fresh dill from them.
How To Harvest Your Dill?
When you’re ready to harvest dill, give your plant a nice drink of water. This will help make sure your cuttings stay moist, as well as give the dill plant the hydration it needs to recover from harvesting faster.
Take a sharp pair of scissors to the base of the fresh herb. Cut right where the sprig meets the growth point of the main stem, taking care not to cut too much of the rest of the plant.
When to harvest your Dill?
Dill matures relatively quickly. If you are starting from seeds, you can start reaping your bounty in as little as six weeks.
Your dill is ready for harvest when it has at least four to five fine green leaves. You should wait until the plant is fairly robust before you start taking too much, however. Always be sure that you are leaving at least two-thirds of the dill plant in the ground if you want to keep harvesting over and over.
How to Store & Preserve Your Dill Harvest
Once you’ve cut a delicious bouquet of dill weed, you’ll want to maximize the time you have to enjoy it. Wash your cuttings in cold water, then dry them well using a salad spinner. Wrap the dill in several damp paper towels, place in a paper bag or airtight container, and store in the crisper section of your refrigerator for best results. Using this method can keep your dill fresh for up to two weeks.
Our Favorite Dill Recipes!
Step aside, dill pickles: this herb is more versatile than you think! From savory sauces to flavorful soups and stews, here are some of our favorite culinary uses for both fresh and dried dill:
- Yogurt, Dill, Cucumber & Onion Salad
- Dill Soup
- Sheet Pan Pierogis with Brussels Sprouts & Kimchi
- Roasted Dill Salmon
Our Grow Pros Most Frequently Asked Questions
As long as it gets enough light, dill is fine to grow inside. It should get between five and six hours of direct sunlight per day for best results.
Dill needs plenty of direct sunlight per day. Aim for five to six hours per day. If you are growing outside, be sure to start after the last frost has passed in the early spring.
Dill is very easy to grow! It’s a great option for any herb garden, whether you are a novice or pro gardener.
Yes, dill needs lots of sunlight. Aim for five to six hours per day.
If left to grow naturally, dill should come back year after year.
If starting with seeds, plant 18 inches apart, about 1/4 deep in soil. The seeds should start to germinate within two weeks, and, within another two weeks, you’ll need to thin the plants to between 12 and 18 inches apart.
Dill can be grown indoors or outdoors. We recommend growing in a container for the easiest process and best results. You can also plant dill in a raised bed with other herbs and vegetables.
Plant your dill in April, after the last frost in the early spring.
Start Growing Your Own Dill!
Ready to start growing dill? Pick up a Grow Kit today, and discover your new favorite herb!