Growing dill plants can be a fantastic addition to any herb or vegetable garden. Their feathery foliage and delicate, lace-like flower blooms add a delicate textural intrigue to the garden bed and often make excellent companions to neighboring crops.
Dill plants are herbs that make savory additions to fish dishes, soups, salads, and stews when harvested. Its seeds are also used in the culinary world for flavoring pickles, sauerkraut, and other pickled treasures. Dill can grow to heights of 18 inches to 4 feet, depending on the variety. Check out our robust guide for growing dill plants: care, tips & more for information and strategies for how to get the most out of your dill plants.
Soil Preparation and pH for Dill Plants
Dill plants thrive in well-draining loamy soil that measures 5.5 to 6.5 on the pH scale. If you are not sure of your soil’s pH level, you can obtain a simple and inexpensive soil test kit from your local garden center.
Dill grows best in nutrient-rich, porous soil but can sometimes tolerate lesser quality soils. Amend your garden soil with rich organic matter and well-decomposed compost, and provide one to inches of mulch around plants for optimal results.
Water and Nutrients for Growing Dill
Water dill plants frequently when they are young and evolving their taproots. Once the plants are fully mature, you can allow the soil to dry between waterings. Dill plants need more water during hot weather. Water them more regularly, paying closer attention as temperatures rise. Be sure that soil is well-draining and does not get soggy. In addition to planting dill plants in nutrient-rich soil, they should be fed every couple of weeks with a balanced organic fertilizer.
Dill needs plenty of room to grow, but it’s otherwise not a high maintenance herb. Space plants 12-15 inches apart so that they have room to spread.
Light and Temperature
When growing dill plants: care, tips & more can guide gardeners to consider light and temperature when planting their crops. The ideal soil temperature for dill seed germination is between 60- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit. Dill plants love sunny locations with lots of direct sunlight and warmth. Any frost will kill a dill plant, so be sure to check the last frost date for your grow zone and only plant after all threat of frost has passed.
How to Plant Dill
When growing dill plants, it’s best to sow the seeds outdoors directly. Dill plants produce taproots, so they prefer not to be transplanted. Follow these simple steps for how to sow dill seeds successfully.
- Seeds should be planted ¼ inch to ½ inch deep.
- Sprinkle soil over the seeds and tap the soil to firm.
- Water in well.
- Maintain consistently moist soil throughout the germination period of 10-21 days and until plants get established.
- Sow successive crops of dill seeds every 2 to 3 weeks for a continuous fresh harvest of herbs.
- Dill plants tend to self-sow, so do not be surprised to find new plants emerging in different areas of the garden next year.
Keep an eye out for their unique feather foliage popping through the soil.
Where and When to Plant Dill
Plant dill plants during the milder weather of spring and fall. Dill is an outstanding option for growing in containers, raised garden beds, and in-ground backyard gardens.
- Containers: Dill plants can be grown successfully in containers. Be certain that you have a nice large pot or growing container full of enriched potting mix and water regularly. Growing in pots and grow buckets offers gardeners the flexibility of moving plants to different locations as needed. It also allows you to have fresh herbs right outside on your porch or patio.
- Raised Bed: Growing dill in raised beds takes much of the guesswork out of supplying a nutrient-rich and well-draining soil for plants. You can control your garden’s soil quality in a raised garden bed, and plants and seeds will stay warmer earlier in the season than if they are planted in the ground.
- Backyard Garden: Dill plants can be quickly and easily grown in a backyard garden as long as the soil is well tilled and amended with organic material and well-decomposed compost. Mulching can help with moisture retention, reduce soil erosion, regulate soil temperature and prevent pesky weeds from propagating in your garden.
Companion Planting With Dill
Growing dill plants in your garden bed can be mutually beneficial for your plants. Dill is an excellent companion plant to others in the garden and can also benefit from other plant pairings.
- When allowed to flower, dill plants attract beneficial pollinators to the garden bed, particularly the swallowtail butterfly.
- Dill improves the health of cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower by repelling cabbage loopers and cabbage worms.
- Plant dill plants near tomato plants to repel destructive tomato hornworms. However, this works best when you harvest dill often and keep plants from reaching full maturity because fully grown dill plants can have the opposite effects on tomato growth at this point.
- Plant dill alongside corn, lettuce, cucumbers, and onions.
- Dill draws ladybugs and the parasitic wasps that feed on pesky garden caterpillars.
- Growing dill plants in your garden bed repels pests like red spider mites and aphids.
- Avoid planting dill plants close to carrots, fennel, caraway, eggplant, and potatoes.
- Dill attracts the parsley-worm caterpillar, which transforms into the beautiful swallowtail butterfly. Consider this benefit when planting dill and plant plenty of dill plants to feed the caterpillar and yourself.
Pests and Disease
As always, the best defense against pests and disease is planting with intention, providing plants with space for airflow, utilizing companion planting practices, and providing plants with essential nutrients, water, and soil conditions. When growing dill plants: care, tips, and more can help reduce the impact of pests and disease.
Dill is a hardy plant that doesn’t attract many pests that plague the plant. As discussed previously, the biggest culprit is the larvae of the black swallowtail butterfly, which feeds on dill plants. It’s worth sacrificing a few wispy leaves to this insect to allow them to grow into the beneficial pollinator of the butterfly.
Harvesting Dill Plants
Dill reached maturity 70 to 90 days after sowing seeds. You can start harvesting dill leaves when plants are a minimum of six inches in height. Dill seeds can be harvested once the plant reaches full maturity and the flowers are fully formed.
- To harvest dill, snip off the wispy fern-like foliage as you need it at any time during the plant’s life cycle.
- To harvest dill seeds, allow the dill plant to bloom its delicate yellow lace-like mounds. Then, snip off the entire bloom and allow it to dry.
- Flower stems can also be snipped lower and added to cut flower bouquets.
- Both leaves and early flower heads make great additions to soups, salads, and as dinner accompaniments.
There are many different varieties of dill plants that vary in height, spread, maturation period, and flavor. Here are some of our favorite selections when growing dill plants.