Dill is a cool-season herb that is a pleasant addition to any cuisine, whether it’s salad dressings, dill pickles, or something else entirely. In addition, fresh dill enhances the flavor of other herbs, making it an essential ingredient in any herb garden, unlike the stuff you get in a glass jar from the supermarket.
Fresh dill, often known as dill weed, is a widely used herb and spice native to European and Asian cuisines but can be found worldwide. Fresh dill grows on slender, hollow stalks with fennel-like green feathery leaves.
It has dark, flat seeds with a mild citrus flavor. They have a stronger flavor and aroma than the leaves, which have a strong flavor and aroma, especially when fresh leaves are plucked. When to harvest dill has different answers, as you can cut dill from the main plant to use.
In our guide, you can learn more about how to cut dill for kitchen use. By the end, you’ll know more about how to pick dill without killing plant. (Learn When To Harvest Kale)
How To Grow Dill
You have a lot of alternatives for how and where you can grow dill because it is so easy to grow. You have the option to plant dill indoors or outdoors, in a garden bed or a container.
The most important thing is to make sure your dill plant gets enough light during the growing season. If you’re growing plants indoors, place them on a sunny windowsill or use supplemental lighting.
While you can buy dill seedlings to put in your garden or container, it’s far easier to start from seed, which can be sown directly into the soil.
Once the seedling has grown its taproot, they are challenging to transfer. Therefore, transplanting at that stage may cause the plant to suffer harm and lower output.
Garden Growing Dill
If you’re starting from the tiny seeds, follow the instructions on the packaging. You usually plant seeds 2 to 3 weeks before the typical last frost date.
- Choose a full-sun location in your garden where you’d like to grow dill for several years.
- Seeds should be planted 1/4 to 1/2 inches deep, with rows placed 2-3 feet apart.
- Keep the soil moist with regular and uniform waterings until the seedlings sprout—thin your seedlings to a distance of 12 inches between them.
- Allow the soil to dry between waterings once your dill plant has established itself.
- To stimulate continuous growth, prune any flowers that have bloomed.
Companion planting is a fantastic approach to add natural benefits to your garden by repelling insects through the addition of beneficial insects. Dill is an excellent herb to grow with other plants.
Dill attracts ladybugs and lacewings, which consume aphids if you have an aphid problem.
Many gardeners recommend growing dill alongside tomatoes, although avoid planting dill as it attracts tomato hornworms, thus attracting more pests to tomato plants.
Broccoli, turnips, asparagus, cucumber, eggplants, and beans, among others, are all good companion plants for dill plants.
One place, not top grow dill, is alongside carrots, nightshades, caraway, or cilantro, leading to cross-pollination. (Learn How To Harvest Parsley Without Killing The Plant)
Container Growing Dill
If you want to grow dill in a container, remember that this fantastic herb has a long taproot and requires a container about 12 inches deep.
Aside from the size, you have the option of selecting a container type. If you’re growing your dill outside, choose a spot that gets plenty of sun (at least 6-8 hours a day).
Although dill will grow in virtually any soil, it favors slightly acidic soil.
- Fill your container halfway with planting soil.
- Sprinkle your seeds on top and lightly cover them with dirt.
- Maintain a moist environment until the seedlings emerge. Then, reduce the number of plants in each container to one or two when they reach a height of 1-2 inches.
- If you’re beginning or grow indoors, make sure the pot is in a bright window–they need about 6-8 hours of sunlight.
- The optimum location is a south-facing sunny windowsill. If sunlight isn’t available, grow lights, such as low-energy LED lights, can be used to supplement.
Types of Dill
Dill comes in various types that are great for growing in home gardens or containers. Here are a few of the more common ones to think about when planning your garden.
The most common dill grown by home gardeners is Bouquet Dill. It features aromatic leaves and seeds that are ideal for pickling or cooking.
- Mammoth Dill, sometimes known as “Long Island Dill,” is a giant dill that reaches 5 feet. It grows best in garden beds and large containers, yet it does require full sun. Pickling with mammoth dill is popular, but it also works well in other dill recipes when sitting in your spice cabinet.
- Fernleaf Dill is a common dwarf dill variety that grows to 18 inches. It’s a superb choice for container gardening or indoor growing.
- Dukat Dill is a dwarf dill plant ideal for containers and indoor growing. Its vivid green hue and dense dill foliage distinguish it from other dill kinds. Salads with Dukat dill are popular.
- If you want to have dill available all summer, Vierling Dill takes longer to bolt. It’s great for extended growing seasons in hot areas.
Will Dill Regrow When Cut?
You can let your dill grow wild if you wish or harvest dill leaves in a small amount without killing the plant when you need it for cooking.
It is so easy to prune dill for harvesting dill leaves; you won’t have to do anything to keep growing your own dill year after year. In addition, pruning dill allows you to control the plant in various ways.
Dill grows tall, with most types growing 3-4 feet. However, the Mammoth Dill can grow to be five feet tall. (Read Is Dill The Same As Dill Weed)
This may not always be possible if you’re planting dill inside or in a small garden space. Prune all the dill you want to encourage it to grow bushier after your dill harvest.
Your dill may have flower heads sooner than you’d like, depending on the dill varieties. So, you’ll need to prune the blossoms if you want the plant to keep growing.
The dill plant will die if it goes to seed, and you’ll have to transplant or wait until the next season. Cross-pollination with other plants, such as cilantro, can be avoided by pinching back the flower heads before they open, which can be detrimental to both plants.
Prune and Harvest Dill
It’s simple to prune your dill to make it bushier or keep it from blossoming. However, you won’t need to prune it if you’ve been harvesting it regularly.
- If, however, the plant has gotten away from you, clip or pinch the dill. You can use your fingers, pruning shears, or even kitchen scissors with stainless steel blades to do this.
- While most gardeners prune all the foliage anywhere on the plant, it may be better to prune whole sprigs from the main stem, especially where buds form or remove flowers.
- When you look at your plant, you’ll notice a joint where the plant’s growth emerges.
- On the perpendicular branch, cut above the joint.
If you have a lot of dill plants, you’d probably aim for the younger, tender stems rather than older ones.
When harvesting, a general rule is to aim for the taller leaves for greater plant growth.
Don’t throw away your dill if you’re only doing maintenance pruning. Instead, use it to season salad dressing, give your salad a kick, or keep it in the fridge for a week or two.
You can also dry excess dill for long-term storage.
How to Harvest Dill
Dill harvesting is comparable to dill pruning, except that you’re harvesting dill to use. Unless it’s the end of the season, you’ll want to keep the plant safe by following a few simple rules.
Dill can be harvested at any time during the growing season, although it’s best to wait until the plant has at least 5 “leaves.”
A leaf is more like a “leaf unit for a dill plant with many little tendrils.” It will stand alone from the plant’s branch as a self-contained unit.
When harvesting, try to cut or pluck at the junction. If you only need a pinch of dill, use less than a whole “leaf.”
Harvesting at the top of the plant promotes bushier growth rather than taller growth.
Leave at least a third of the plant behind when harvesting. Then, if you pick too much, the plant will not be crippled or killed.
If you’re growing many dill plants in one container or area of the garden, remember to leave 1/3 of each plant distinct.
Dill picked from the plant will store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, but it is recommended not to have a large harvest at once and pick only what you need.
Although, dill can be frozen, either chopped or whole. Fill ice cube trays, containers, or plastic bag with the leaves and freeze them.
You can also freeze dill sprigs and then cut off what you need as needed for grilled salmon or something else where you need dill’s flavor. (Learn When To Harvest Serrano Peppers)
How to Dry Dill
When you dry fresh dill, it loses the fresh dill flavor; it’s better to harvest dill fresh for use. However, this does not imply that you should discard it after the growing season.
Dill seeds, leaves, and stems can all be dried and kept in different ways.
Dill has the best flavor when it is just beginning to flower; thus, harvesting dill for drying should be done.
If you also wish to dry seeds, you’ll have to wait until the plant has gone to seed before harvesting.
When dried, dill seeds have a much stronger flavor than the leaves.
Wash your dill after harvesting to remove dirt and insects. Clip off the individual leaflets of the dill leaves to dry them.
Please place them in food dehydrator, baker’s rack, or clothes drying rack in a single layer.
If you plan to dry dill varieties from your garden regularly, a herb drying rack may be helpful.
It should take around a day if you use a dehydrator. Will dill dry in the open? It can take several days for the dill to air dry in a warm, dry place away from direct sunshine.
Each day, turn the leaves to provide for even air exposure.
Crush the dill leaflets and store them in a glass jar or sealable plastic bag once they have dried. Because dried dill has a lower potency, you’ll need to use twice as much in your recipes.
If stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, dried dill should last 4 to 6 months.
How to Save Dill Seeds
Allow the dill plant to go to seed to harvest dill seeds. Harvest dill foliage by cutting a bunch off the plant and binding it in little bundles with the stems.
- After harvesting dill, hang the bunches upside down on a drying rack.
- Place something beneath to catch the dry dill seeds, and dill leaves as they dry.
- It works to hang a paper bag from the rack as long as it doesn’t obstruct ventilation. To assist with this, punch holes in the bag. Within a few weeks, the dill weed seeds should dry and fall.
- Store any dried seeds in a glass jar in a cool, dark place. After that, you can use them in cooking or plant them in the following growing season.
- You can let the dill plants reseed themselves if drying the seeds is too much work, and you want to grow dill weed in the same area next year.
- Allow the dill weed to blossom and dry the seed head before harvest. It will drop the seeds into position when they dry.
- When all dill seeds have fallen, harvest dill seeds and discard any dill seed heads.
- Keep your seeds in an airtight container, ready for use.