With its feathery green leaves, fragrant dill is used commonly in pickling, soups, dressings, and potato dishes. As its name suggests, dill “weed” is easy to grow! It’s also a great companion plant to deter pests. Here’s how to plant, grow, and harvest dill.
Native to Eurasia and the Mediterranean, dill is most at home in warmer climates. It’s an annual herb, so to create a permanent patch of dill, allow some of the plants to flower and go to seed each year—you’ll have plenty of early dill to start the next growing season.
Dill attracts beneficial insects such as wasps and other predatory insects to your garden, and is a host plant for the caterpillar of the black swallowtail butterfly.
Dill grows best in full sun (6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight). Also, choose a location that is protected from strong winds, as dill’s tall foliage can be blown over easily.
Choose a planting site with well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter. The pH of the soil should ideally be between slightly acidic and neutral (6.5–7.0).
Plant dill near cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and other Brassicas; it’s thought to improve their growth and protect them from pests. Keep it away from carrots, however, as it can decrease yields. Learn more about companion planting!
When to Plant Dill
Dill seeds should be sown directly into the garden (dill puts down a taproot, so like carrots, it doesn’t transplant well) after the threat of frost has passed in the spring. See local frost dates.
The soil temperature should be between 60° and 70ºF (15° and 21°C) for the best germination results. Seedlings should appear in 10 to 14 days.
If you’re planting dill for pickling, sow dill seeds every few weeks until midsummer to ensure a constant supply into fall.
How to Plant Dill
Sow dill seeds about ¼-inch deep.
After 10 to 14 days, seedlings should appear. Wait another 10 to 14 days, then thin the plants to about 10 to 12 inches apart (if they aren’t already spaced well enough).
Check out our video to learn more about the benefits of growing dill in your garden:
Water the plants freely during the growing season, ensuring that they don’t dry out excessively.
In order to ensure a season-long fresh supply of dill, continue sowing seeds every few weeks. For an extended harvest of the leaves, do not allow flowers to grow on the plants.
If dill is allowed to go to seed and the soil isn’t disturbed too much, more dill plants will likely appear next spring.
‘Fernleaf’ dill is a compact variety that works well in containers and is not prone to bolting.
‘Bouquet’ is a larger variety that produces a lot of seeds.
‘Mammoth’ is another tall variety and is considered one of the best for pickling and other culinary uses, such as in potato salads, cucumber soup, and fish dishes.
As soon as the plant has four to five leaves, you can start harvesting. Harvest older leaves first. Pinch off the leaves or cut them off with scissors.
If you have a lot of plants, you can take entire stalks.