Dill, Anethum graveolens, is a common, aromatic garden herb, known for its culinary and medicinal properties. It prefers full sun, well drained, low fertility soils and grows best from seed. Cover seeds lightly with soil. After emergence, thin to stand and be careful not to overwater. Prune plants to promote a lush, bushy growth. Plant continuously, since it takes approximately 6 weeks to harvest. Dill flavor is best when it starts to flower. The stems, leaves, flowers, and seeds are edible so enjoy this easy to grow staple of the herb garden.
Scientific name: Anethum graveolens
Common name: Dill
How to grow and maintain dill Plants:
Planting and Spacing:
Dill should be planted from seed. Seedlings emerge 7-21 days after planting depending on soil temperature. Cover seeds lightly with soil. For a continuous supply of dill weed, sow seeds every 4 to 6 weeks. Flavor peaks once flowering starts, so make sure there is a succession of plantings. After emergence, thin plants to 9 inches apart and space rows 12 inch apart. It grows best in full sun and oil content in the leaves increases with longer day lengths and higher temperatures; however, hot temperatures (+95° F) decrease seed production. It is quite hardy and is able to tolerate cold winters.
Water & Fertility:
Dill is not a big water user requiring one or two irrigations per week once established. It can tolerate drier soil conditions particularly after seed set. No additional nutrients are needed if soil is amended at planting.
The leaves of this fast growing herb can be harvested after eight weeks in limited quantities for eating fresh, which is when the flavor is at its peak. Regular snipping actually improves the shape of the plant, keeping it from getting “leggy” and top heavy and increasing the yield. Harvesting seeds requires cutting off the seed heads just as the seeds are starting to set.
Control weeds when plants are small. The plant can become weedy, as it self-seeds regularly.
Disease & Insects:
If over watered, dill is susceptible to powdery mildew. Aphids can be a problem at the time dill starts to flower and the seeds ripen. Dill often attracts more beneficial insects than it has problems with insects. It attracts bees, butterflies, wasps, lady beetles, lacewings, hoverflies, tachinid flies, and parsley worms. Parsley worms, a tiny, bright green caterpillar with black stripes, is the larva of swallowtail butterflies, so make sure to leave them on the plants.