Expert tips on how to plant, grow, and harvest dill in your home garden. Learn to grow dill in minutes. Dill is a popular herb in the kitchen, flavoring everything from pickles to fish. The best way to make sure you have the very freshest dill possible is by growing dill in your own garden. Learn how to grow it here. Dill grows tall with lots of aromatic leaves. Flowers attract beneficial insects to the garden. Follow this How to Grow Dill seeds guide and get pickling.
How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Dill
Dill is an annual herb that is easy to grow and is a great addition to your garden. Dill is a great herb to grow because it is a member of the carrot family and is, therefore, a companion plant to carrots. Dill is a cool weather herb and will bolt (go to seed) in hot weather.
To plant dill, you will need to purchase a dill seed packet or grow dill from a starter plant. Dill grows well in full sun or partial shade. To plant dill, you will need to loosen the soil and then plant the dill seeds 1/4 inch deep and 2 inches apart. You can also plant dill seeds in a pot.
Dill will germinate in 5-10 days. Once the dill plants are a few inches tall, you can thin them to 12 inches apart. Dill does not like to be transplanted, so it is best to plant the dill seeds directly in the garden.
Dill needs consistent watering, but should not be overwatered. You can fertilize dill with a balanced fertilizer, but it is not necessary.
Dill can be harvested when the plants are about 6 inches tall. The leaves can be harvested by snipping them off with scissors. The dill flowers can be harvested by cutting the entire flower head off the plant. Dill can be harvested all summer long.
Table of Contents
Where to plant dill
- Best location: Plant dill in full sun; dill will tolerate light shade but will not grow as bushy.
- Soil preparation: Dill grows best in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Add aged compost to the planting bed in advance of planting. Dill prefers a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.7.
When to plant dill
- Seed starting indoors: Dill seed can be started indoors 4 to 6 weeks before transplanting to the garden. Seedlings form taproots that transplant poorly so dill is most easily started and grown in place.
- Transplanting to the garden: Set out seedlings after the last frost in spring. Dill forms a taproot and is not easily transplanted.
- Outdoor planting time: Sow dill in the garden after the danger of frost has passed. Sow seed in rows or 5-inch bands. Dill will reseed itself readily so plant where you can allow it to grow for several years. Sow successive crops of dill every 3 to 4 weeks for a continuous fresh harvest.
How to plant dill
- Planting depth: Direct sow seed in shallow trenches ¼ to ½ inch deep; thin successful seedlings from 8 to 12 inches apart.
- Spacing: Space dill plants 10 to 12 inches apart. Space rows 2 to 3 feet apart. Dill is often grown in clumps, not rows.
- How much to plant: Grow 10 dill plants over the course of the season for cooking and culinary use; sow several successions two weeks apart. Grow 20 plants for preservation.
Dill companion plants
- Companion planting: Plant dill with cabbage family plants and fruit trees also tomatoes, chilies, sweet peppers, strawberries, and thyme. Dill improves the growth of cabbage family crops. Do not plant dill near carrots or fennel it will hybridize. Dill attracts honeybees and beneficial insects to the garden. Dill can be used as a trap crop for tomato hornworms. The aroma of dill is said to repel aphids and spider mites. Dill attracts the caterpillars that turn into black swallowtail butterflies.
Watering and feeding dill
- Watering: Water dill evenly and regularly until established. Once established dill will grow best if the soil is allowed to nearly dry between waterings.
- Feeding: Prepare planting beds with aged compost. Side dress dill two or three times during the growing season with compost tea.
Dill care and maintenance
- Care: Keep the planting bed well weeded; weeds compete for nutrients and water
- Dill can grow tall and wispy; it may benefit from staking in gardens with a prevailing wind. Keep planting beds weed-free; weeds compete for moisture and nutrients. Pinch out early flowers for prolonged leaf growth.
Container growing dill
- To plant dill, fill a container with potting soil.
- Sow the seeds in the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seeds and keep the soil moist until they germinate. Dill plants should be spaced about 12 inches apart.
- Dill plants grow best in full sun. They will need regular watering, especially during hot weather. Harvest the dill leaves as needed.
- Container growing: Dill will grow easily in a container. Choose a container at least 12 inches deep as dill forms a taproot.
- Winter growing: Dill can be grown indoors in winter. Outdoors dill will likely die back to the ground after the first hard freeze.
Dill pests and diseases
- Pests: Dill may be attacked by parsley caterpillars and tomato hornworms; handpick pests off the plant. Spray with Bacillus thuringiensiskurstaki to be rid of these pests.
- Diseases: Dill has no serious disease problems.
How to harvest dill
- When to harvest: Snip fresh dill leaves as needed during the growing season after plants have reached 8 inches tall or more. Dill leaves have the best flavor just before flowers open, about 70 days after sowing. Dill seed is ready for harvest about 90 days after sowing when seeds are flat and brown; harvest seeds when they are ripe but before they fall to the ground. Collect flower heads and hang them in a paper bag so the seeds drop into the bag.
- How to harvest: Cut leaves or stems with a garden snip or scissors.
Dill in the kitchen
Dill is both an herb and a spice. The feathery leaves are harvested to use as an herb. The small hard, dried seeds are used as a spice. The feathery green leaves are often called dill weed. Dill weed is used to flavor many dishes including salads, vegetables, meats, and sauces. Dill seed is used to flavor bread, pickles, sauerkraut, and coleslaw
- Flavor and aroma: Dill has a buttery green flavor with a hint of citrus; seeds are strong-flavored, slightly bitter-tasting similar to caraway.
- Leaves: Use fresh dill leaves in salads and as garnishes. When mincing dill, preserve the delicate flavor by snipping with scissors rather than slicing with a knife. Use fresh or dried leaves with lamb, pork, poultry, cheese, cream, eggs, cabbage, onions, cauliflower, parsnips, squash, eggplant, spinach, potatoes, broccoli, turnips, cucumbers, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, avocadoes, eggs, and apples. Add fresh dill leaves to salads, soups, and sauces. Use leaves to flavor vinegar and pickles. Fresh dill leaves lose their fragrance when heated so add them at the very end of cooking. Dried leaves are known as dillweed.
- Flowers: Yellow dill flowers can be used as you would use leaves.
- Seeds: Dill seeds are used whole or ground in longer-cooking recipes Add dill seeds to homemade bread. Use fresh or dried seeds in salad dressing, sauces, stews, butter and cheese spreads, and egg dishes. Heating brings out the flavor of dill seed which is stronger than the leaves. Dill seeds are the main flavoring agent in dill pickles.
Preserving and storing dill
- Refrigeration: Leaves will keep in the crisper for a couple of days folded into a damp paper towel and placed in a plastic bag
- Drying: To harvest and dry seeds, collect flower heads before the seeds fully dry, shatter, and fall to the ground. Hang flower heads upside down in a paper bag to dry. Dry seed will fall into the bag. Seeds are ripe a few weeks after the flowers bloom.
- Freezing: Fresh leaves can be frozen. Freeze leaves chopped or whole. For best flavor freeze leaves right after harvest. Freeze stems whole; later snip off frozen leaves with scissors as you need them and return the rest to the freezer. You can also freeze fresh dill leaves in butter or vinegar.
- Storing: Dried leaves can be stored in an airtight container. Dried dill seed will keep in an airtight container.
- Seed: Dill self-sows. Plant dill where it can remain for several years. Seeds may not be produced until the plant’s second year; if plants are set out in early spring you may get seeds the first year.
Dill frequently asked questions
Q. How quickly does dill grow?
A. Dill is a fast-growing annual. It will mature in about 70 days.
Q. When is the best time to plant dill in the garden?
A. Sow dill seeds in early spring in well-prepared soil. Sow dill where the plants are to stand.
Q. How far apart should I plant dill plants?
A. Space dill plants 1 to 2 feet apart. Dill is a good-sized bush that grows to about 3 feet tall.
Tips On How To Grow Dill Weed Plants
Dill is a popular herb in the kitchen, flavoring everything from pickles to fish. Gourmets know that you can’t beat fresh dill for the flavor. The best way to have the very freshest dill possible is by growing dill in your own garden. Let’s look at how to grow dill.
Planting Dill Seed
The best way how to grow dill is directly from seeds rather than from a transplant. Planting dill seed is easy. Dill planting is simply done by scattering the seeds in the desired location after the last frost, then lightly cover the seeds with soil. Water the area thoroughly.
Care of Dill Weed Plants
Growing dill plants and caring for dill plants is also very easy. Dill weed plants grow best in full sun. Other than this, dill will grow happily in both poor and rich soil or in damp or dry conditions.
Harvesting Dill Weed Plants
One of the benefits of growing dill is that both the leaves and seeds of dill weed plants are edible.
To harvest the dill leaves, regularly trim off the desired amount of leaves you need for cooking. If you wish to harvest dill seeds, allow the plant to grow without trimming until it goes into bloom. Once dill weed plants go into bloom, they’ll stop growing leaves, so make sure that you don’t harvest any leaves from that plant. The dill flower will fade and will develop the seed pods. When the seed pods have turned brown, cut the whole flower head off and place in a paper bag. Gently shake the bag. The seeds will fall out of the flower head and seed pods and you’ll be able to separate the seeds from the waste.
There are many recipes that use dill. Planting this herb in your garden will keep plenty of fresh dill on hand for all of these recipes. Now that you know how to grow dill, you have no reason not to be planting dill seed out this year.
How to Grow Dill
Dill grows tall and produces lots of aromatic leaves. The umbels of yellow flowers attract numerous beneficial insects to the garden. Dill plants are attractive to ladybird beetles, which will lay their eggs on the stems. Continue reading below for some tricks on how to grow dill from seed.
Season & Zone
Season: Warm season
Exposure: Full sun
Direct sow late spring through summer, or sow when cucumbers are transplanted, to coincide maturity for pickling. Dill tends to bolt if transplanted, so it is best direct sown. Stagger the harvest by sowing every 2-3 weeks for a constant supply of fresh leaves. Optimal soil temperature for germination: 15-21°C (60-70°F). Seeds should germinate in 10-21 days.
Dill seeds need some light to germinate. Sow seeds no more than 5mm (¼”) deep in rows 45cm (18″) apart. Thin the plants to stand at least 15cm (6″) apart.
Ideal pH: 5.0-7.0. Grow in moderately rich soil in full sun. Water and feed regularly, and stop any overhead watering once plants are 60cm (24″) tall to prevent issues with mildew forming on the leaves.
Begin harvesting the tasty leaves once plants reach 15cm (6″) tall. About 12 weeks after sprouting the seed heads begin to form. When the first seeds have turned brown, cut the whole head and hang it upside down for the drying seeds to fall out into trays or paper bags. Dill leaf loses most of its flavour when dried, so freeze it in ice cube trays filled with water for use all winter.
Usual seed life: 3 years.
Dill improves the health of cabbages and other Brassicas, and is a very good companion for corn, cucumbers, lettuce, and onions. Dill attracts ladybugs, lacewings, and the parasitoid wasps that feed on garden caterpillars. At the same time it repels aphids and spider mites. Avoid planting near carrots and tomatoes.