I love using fresh dill from the garden as a flavorful herb in cooking. Snipping a few leaves and adding them to dips, sauces, fish, and roasted vegetables is incredibly convenient and delicious. Additionally, dill helps attract wonderful wildlife to your garden. Learn how to grow dill outside, inside, and in containers with these five tips.
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5 Tips for How to Grow Dill
1. Plant dill at the right time
Plant after the last spring frost date. Seeds germinate in soil temperatures ranging from 50-70°F (10-21°C). Succession plant dill every three weeks for a continual harvest of the leaves.
Dill is a cool-season herb that grows best during fall and winter’s cooler temperatures in hot summer climates. In the low desert of Arizona, plant dill seeds and transplants beginning in October and plant through January.
2. Plant dill correctly
Try growing different varieties of dill, depending on your needs and preferences.
- Bouquet dill has large blooms and seed heads. Excellent for pickling.
- Dukat dill is darker green with large seed heads. Excellent for pickling.
- Fernleaf dill is slow to bolt and suitable for growing indoors and in containers.
- Tetra dill is a bushy, late-flowering variety and somewhat more heat-tolerant.
Choose a location to plant dill with rich, loose soil and full sun.
Dill has a long taproot; grow from seeds if possible. Dill grown from transplant often bolts more quickly than dill grown from seed. If you plant transplants, choose young transplants and carefully handle the roots.
To plant dill outside, plant dill seeds 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch (2-6 mm) deep. Keep the soil moist until the seeds sprout. Thin seedlings to 12 inches (30 cm) apart when they are several inches tall. Mulch well after thinning seedlings.
3. Care for dill correctly
Keep soil evenly moist. A layer of mulch will help conserve moisture.
Aphids are a common pest that infects dill. Pick off the worst affected leaves or wait for the beneficial insects to come to help you take care of them. Learn more about how to prevent garden pests organically in this blog post.
How to grow dill in containers:
- Dill has a long taproot and does best in containers at least 18 inches deep.
- Dill does not require supplemental feeding.
How to grow dill indoors:
- Plant dill seeds directly in an unglazed terra-cotta pot at least 18 inches deep.
- Water dill only when the top inch or so of soil is dry.
- Provide supplemental lighting for dill for 10-11 hours, with the lights about 6 inches from the plant.
- Ideal indoor temperature for dill: 60°F-80°F.
- Does not require supplemental feeding.
4. Harvest dill fronds and seeds
Harvesting dill fronds:
Dill leaves are ready to harvest 40-60 days after planting from seed. Begin harvesting leaves once the plant has 4-5 leaves. Dill leaves are the most fragrant just before flowering.
Learn more about the best way to preserve herbs – freeze drying!
Harvesting dill seeds:
Dill seeds are ready to harvest after 85-115 days. Seeds have the best flavor if harvested just as they turn from green to brown. Harvest seeds by cutting the stalks at the base and storing them upside down in a paper sack. Seeds will fall into the bottom of the sack.
To avoid dill reseeding in your garden, harvest the seed heads before the seeds dry and begin falling off. Learn more about how to save seeds in this blog post.
5. Use dill to attract beneficial insects to your garden
Dill is delicious, but I don’t grow it for the taste alone. I enjoy planting extra for the wildlife it attracts. Dill flower umbels (clusters of tiny yellow flowers) are nectar-rich and feed numerous beneficial pollinators.
Dill is an excellent companion plant and frequently a larval host plant for butterflies. Arizona’s state butterfly, the two-tailed swallowtail larvae, can often be seen enjoying dill plants.
Read this post for more information about growing herbs in the low desert of Arizona.