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How to Easily Grow Dill From Cuttings or Seeds
And how to harvest dill weed and dill seeds

  • Bob Styer
  • Herbs
A Bunch Of Freshly Harvested Dill

Dill has a flavor and aroma that I would call “uplifting.”  It has a fresh, sweet, citrusy flavor with hints of anise, but the full effect uplifts you.  A bountiful crop comes easily by growing dill from seeds or cuttings. And a bonus comes from harvesting dill seeds in the fall.

This herb is necessary when making pickles and the best salmon you’ll ever taste.  Dill also has many uses in sauces, dips, cheese spreads, potato salads, and fermented veggies.  People often use the leaves and seeds, sometimes adding the yellow flowers to the leaves.

Yellow dill flowers in a field of dill.
Yellow Dill Flowers

Is Dill the Same as Dill Weed?

In my part of the country, these are compatible names for the same plant.  A gardener could say, “I’m planting dill” or “I’m planting dill weed,” but they both mean the same thing.

When you go to the supermarket’s spice rack, you’ll see bottles marked “dried dill weed.” A close looks shows the “weed” is dill leaves.

When the produce department has fresh plants, they’ll call them dill or dill weed.  It all depends on who printed the sign.  So, “dill” and “dillweed” are two different ways to name the same plant.  But many people use “dillweed” to refer to fresh or dried leaves.

Types of Dill

Different types of dill can vary in color and height and have subtle flavor differences.  Here are some popular varieties:

  • Bouquet.  This is the variety you’ll usually see growing in home gardens.  It produces many seeds, and people often use the flowers in floral arrangements.  The leaves are ready for harvest in 40 – 60 days, and flowers appear in 85 – 100 days.
  • Compatto.  This is a good choice for container gardening since it only grows 12 – 18 inches tall.  The leaves are bluish-green, and it takes a long time to flower.  The leaves are ready for harvest in 40 – 50 days.
  • Delikat.  This variety grows 12 – 24 inches tall and produces dense foliage and abundant seeds.  This variety is ready for harvest in 40 days, and the seeds are ready in 90 days.
  • Dukat.  This variety has bright green leaves with 12 – 24 inches of final height.  The leaves are ready in 40 – 50 days and have more essential oils than other varieties.  The seeds are ready in 80 – 100 days.
  • Fernleaf.  A dwarf variety, this one gets about 18 inches tall.  This is a good herb for container gardening and flower arrangements.  Harvest the leaves in 40 – 60 days and the seeds in 90 – 100 days.
  • Hercules.  This variety can get three feet tall with large late-blooming flower heads.  It has coarse leaves when it’s mature, so it’s better to harvest them when young.  The leaves are ready in 40 – 60 days, and the seeds in 90 – 100 days.
  • Mammoth (or Long Island).  This one grows three feet tall but can reach five feet or more in the right conditions.  The large, flavorful leaves are ready in 65 days.  Seeds are available in 110 days.
  • Superdukat.  This variety makes more essential oils than Dukat, and can reach five feet tall. The leaves are ready in 40 – 50 days, and the seeds in 90 – 100 days.
  • Vierling.  This is another variety that can reach 3 – 5 feet tall.  The dark blue leaves are ready to harvest in 45 days, and the seeds in 95 days.  Florists often use the flower heads in arrangements.

Would you like to learn about other herbs? Check out our post “The Complete Guides to Growing Culinary Herbs” for links to those articles.

Start Growing Dill From Seed With These Varieties

The Old Farmer's Almanac Organic Dill (Bouquet) Seeds - Approx 750 Seeds - Certified Organic, Non-GMO, Open Pollinated, Heirloom, USA OriginGaea's Blessing Seeds - Dill Seeds - Mammoth Long Island - Non-GMO Seeds with Easy to Follow Instructions - Heirloom 88% Germination Rate Net Wt. 3.0gBurpee Fernleaf Dill Seeds 400 seeds
The Old Farmer's Almanac Organic Dill (Bouquet) Seeds - Approx 750 Seeds - Certified Organic, Non-GMO, Open Pollinated, Heirloom, USA OriginGaea's Blessing Seeds - Dill Seeds - Mammoth Long Island - Non-GMO Seeds with Easy to Follow Instructions - Heirloom 88% Germination Rate Net Wt. 3.0gBurpee Fernleaf Dill Seeds 400 seeds
$4.99$4.79$8.49
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Everwilde Farms - 2000 Dukat Dill Herb Seeds - Gold Vault Jumbo Seed Packet25 Summer Vegetable & Herb Garden Seeds Variety Pack - 6,820+ Non-GMO Heirloom Veggie & Herb Seeds for Outdoors and Indoor Home Gardening: Tomato, Pepper, Okra, Bean, Cucumber, Basil, Rosemary10 Culinary Herb Seeds - Non-GMO, Heirloom Seeds - 3000+ Seeds for Planting for Outdoor or Indoor Herb Garden, Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, Chives, Thyme, Oregano, Dill, Marjoram, Mint, Tarragon
Everwilde Farms - 2000 Dukat Dill Herb Seeds - Gold Vault Jumbo Seed Packet25 Summer Vegetable & Herb Garden Seeds Variety Pack - 6,820+ Non-GMO Heirloom Veggie & Herb Seeds for Outdoors and Indoor Home Gardening: Tomato, Pepper, Okra, Bean, Cucumber, Basil, Rosemary10 Culinary Herb Seeds - Non-GMO, Heirloom Seeds - 3000+ Seeds for Planting for Outdoor or Indoor Herb Garden, Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, Chives, Thyme, Oregano, Dill, Marjoram, Mint, Tarragon
$3.48$24.99$9.99
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Preparing the Soil

Choose a location protected from the wind that gets 6 – 8 hours of daily sun.  Most dill plants grow tall enough to have wind damage, so staking might be necessary.  Dill likes fertile, well-draining soil.  Mix two inches of compost into six inches of soil to add organic matter and help with draining.

The soil pH level should be 5.5 – 6.5, which is slightly acidic.  Dill doesn’t like alkaline soils, so it’s best to test your soil.

See our article on “Testing Garden Soil” to learn how to test your soil samples. You can also learn about compost in our handy article “How to Make Compost at Home.”

Growing Dill From Seed

Dill is an annual plant but will self-seed year after year if allowed to flower and go to seed.  The best times for sowing seeds come after the last spring frost or in the late summer.  It’ll do well in Zones 3 – 9.

Since dill has a large taproot, it doesn’t like transplanting.  To start growing dill seeds early, use peat pots or trays.  That way, they can go straight into the soil without removing the seedlings.

The soil temperature should be 60o – 70o F before planting outside.  Sow the dill seeds ¼ inch deep and 10 – 12 inches apart in rows 24 inches apart.  The first seedlings should appear in 10 – 14 days.

After waiting another 10 – 14 days, thin the plants about 10 – 12 inches apart.  You can continue sowing dill seeds every few weeks to ensure a continuous harvest.

How to Grow Dill From Cuttings

The best time to take cuttings is from spring to early summer. Choose stems with 3- 4 inches of new growth for the best cuttings.

Cut the stems to four inches long and put them in a clear glass with 2 – 3 inches of water.  Remove any leaves that are below the water line.

Change the water when it gets cloudy (the clear glass makes it easy to see that).  The stems will form roots in the water in 2 – 3 weeks and are ready for transplanting when the roots are two inches long.

Accessories for Starting Dill Seeds

Homenote Peat Pots, 60 Pcs 4 Inch Seed Starting Pots with Drainage Holes Round Nursery Pot, Plants Pots with Bonus 20 Plant LabelsTCBWFY Biodegradable Seedling Trays, 20 Pack, 320 Cells, Ideal for Indoor and Outdoor Planting, Mint, Lavender, RoseJiffy-7 Peat Pellet 36mm Seed Starting - 100 ea by Growers Solution
Homenote Peat Pots, 60 Pcs 4 Inch Seed Starting Pots with Drainage Holes Round Nursery Pot, Plants Pots with Bonus 20 Plant LabelsTCBWFY Biodegradable Seedling Trays, 20 Pack, 320 Cells, Ideal for Indoor and Outdoor Planting, Mint, Lavender, RoseJiffy-7 Peat Pellet 36mm Seed Starting - 100 ea by Growers Solution
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Caring for Dill During the Growing Season

The midsummer heat can cause dill to bolt.  It likes full sun but needs partial shade when summer days are sweltering.  Keep the soil moist but not drenched.

This is important because too much water causes root rot on most garden crops.  Dill shouldn’t need more feeding since it could lose its flavor if overfed.

Remove the yellow flowers to harvest the leaves a little longer.  Leave the flowers on if you plan on harvesting seeds or want the plants to self-seed.

Growing Dill in Pots

When growing dill in containers, ensure they’re 12 inches or more deep to allow room for the tap root.  Dill doesn’t need much space, so several plants can grow in one pot.

If the pots are indoors, set them in an area with six hours of sunlight daily.  The other option is to put them under a grow light for 12 hours daily.

Want to learn more about caring for potted plants? See our article “Growing Vegetables in Containers.”

How to Harvest Dill Without Killing the Plant

Harvesting can start when the plant has four or more leaves.  This happens when the plants are 4 – 6 inches tall.

  • Be sure to water the plants the day before harvest. Hydrated plants recover easily.
  • Pinch or cut off the older outer leaves first. When the plant gets taller you’ll be able to take the younger leaves. If you have many plants, you can take entire stalks if you desire.
  • Here’s the key to harvesting dill without killing the plant: Only take one-fourth to one-third of the leaves. That way the plant stays healthy and continues producing new growth.
A macro shot of dill seeds
Dill seeds

How to Harvest Dill Seeds for Even More Flavor

Once a dill plant bolts, harvesting the leaves isn’t worth it because of the poor flavor.  Let the flowers go to seed, and cut off the seed heads once they turn brown.  Any seed heads left on the plants will drop their seeds to the ground, and they’ll sprout next spring.

Get some small paper bags and put one or two seed heads in each bag.  Punch a few holes in the sides of each bag for ventilation.

Hang the bags in a well-ventilated, warm area with low light.  After a week or more, the seeds will drop off the heads into the bag.  Shake them off if they need a little help.

Save dill seeds in air-tight containers for over a year.  If any moisture appears inside the container, remove the seeds so they can dry further.  See the section on “Drying Dill” below.

Storing Fresh Dill

Store dill in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Start by washing the dill in cold water and removing the excess moisture.  Wrap the dill in damp paper towels and put the wrapped dill in sealable plastic bags.  The bags can then go to the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.

Freezing Dill

Frozen dill will store for 6 – 12 months and keep its flavor.  To freeze the dill, wash it and pat it dry with towels.  Ensure there’s no water on the dill so it won’t clump together when frozen.

Remove any large, tough stems, then chop the dill to your desired size.  If the dill is still wet after chopping, let it dry for about an hour.  After the dill is dry, place it in containers or freezer bags and send it to the ice zone.

Another option for freezing fresh dill is to put the chopped dill in ice cube trays.  Top off each cell with water and set them in the freezer.  Once the cubes freeze, put them in sealed freezer bags.  Then, it’s easy to take out cubes as you need them.

Fresh dill with a wooden spoon full of dried dill.

How to Dry Dill

For long-term storage, dried dill wins the prize.  When stored in air-tight containers, dried dill is usable for up to three years.  The only problem is that the flavor degrades a lot after six months to one year.  Any dried herb doesn’t spoil; it becomes tasteless.

Before drying fresh dill, rinse it in cold water and pat it dry.  There shouldn’t be any water left on the leaves.  Another method is to use a salad spinner to remove the water.

After drying the dill, use your fingers to strip off the leaves and store them in glass jars or other air-tight containers.

Air Drying Dill

Cut entire dill plants and hang them upside-down alone or in bunches.  The best place to hang them would be dark, dry, and well-ventilated.  The drying herbs could pick up mold or mildew if the drying area is humid or has low ventilation.  The dill should be dry in about two weeks.

Drying in a Dehydrator

Cut the stems into pieces small enough to fit on the dehydrator trays.  Cover the trays with parchment paper and lay the cut dill in a single layer.

Follow the instructions for your dehydrator, but at 100o F, the dill will dry in 4 – 6 hours.  The leaves maintain their best color when they’re dehydrated.

Drying in a Microwave

This is the quickest method to dry herbs, but you must be careful not to overcook them.  Overcooking makes the leaves taste bitter.

Cover a microwave-safe tray or dish with a layer of paper towels.  Then, lay the cut dill stems on the towels in a single layer.  Microwave them in 30-second increments for a total of two minutes.  If not completely dry, continue microwaving in 15 – 30-second increments until crispy.

If your microwave doesn’t have a turntable, turn the tray ¼ turn after every increment to help dry the dill.  Dill dried in a microwave can often have discolored leaves, and they seem to lose their flavor quicker.

Drying in an Oven

This method places the most stress on herbs and can damage them if you don’t watch them while drying.  Set the oven to its lowest temperature, which can vary from 140o– 200o F depending on the oven.

Cut the stems into pieces and lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Check on the dill after 30 minutes, and continue checking every 10 minutes until the dill is dry.  Please make sure the dill doesn’t scorch while it’s drying.

Dill Companion Plants

Dill attracts beneficial insects like predatory wasps, ladybugs, hoverflies, and honeybees.  It also attracts the beautiful black swallowtail butterfly, an excellent pollinator.

The swallowtail caterpillars will eat dill leaves, so growing a few extra plants to feed them is a good idea. Don’t treat these extra plants with neem oil or other insecticides.

Black swallowtail butterfly.
Black swallowtail butterfly
Black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar.
Black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar

In the vegetable garden, plant cole crops near dill. It protects them from cabbage worms and other pests and improves their growth.  Other companion plants helped by dill include basil, onions, lettuce, asparagus, cucumbers, and corn.

Dill will stunt the growth of carrots, and they will also cross-pollinate.  Other plants that don’t like dill include potatoes, peppers, cilantro, and eggplant.

Young dill plants help tomato plants by attracting pollinators and repelling pests like tomato hornworms.  But mature dill will stunt the growth of tomato plants.  To correct this problem, prune the dill to remove the flower heads when it’s near tomatoes.

Get more information about companion plants by using our Companion Planting Chart.

Dill Diseases

Carrot motley dwarf

Aphids carry the viruses that cause this disease.  The viruses are the carrot redleaf and carrot mottle viruses, which both must be present.  The dill will develop red and yellow leaves and stunted growth.

There isn’t a cure, but don’t plant the dill near ground that held carrots over the winter.  That will help prevent this disease.

Cercospora leaf blight

This is a fungal disease carried by infected seeds.  Younger plants form tiny black flecks that develop yellowish halos.  Then, they expand into dead brown spots that join with other spots and kill the plants.

Using treated seeds and fungicides help to prevent this disease.  Neem cake is an effective organic fungicide when mixed into the soil.  Spray the plants with organic neem oil for more protection.

  Please see our article “How to Save Your Plants With Neem Oil and Neem Cake” for more information.

Damping off

Another fungal disease, and this one causes the seeds to turn soft and rot.  Any sprouting seeds form wet, reddish lesions around the base of the stem and then die.

The solution is to avoid planting dill in cool, wet soil that doesn’t drain well.  Adding neem cake to the soil is an excellent way to prevent fungal diseases.

Powdery mildew

This fungus forms a powdery growth on any part of the plant.  This fungus can travel long distances through the air and likes high humidity and shade.  An effective defense is spraying with organic neem oil.

Dill Pests

Aphids

These pests are problematic for many plants, and ladybugs love eating them.  At least dill plants can protect themselves by attracting ladybugs and predatory wasps.  If that doesn’t happen, they’ll need help.

One way to help is by shooting off the aphids with a blast of water.  To show the aphids who’s boss, spray them with organic insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Armyworms

These worms are the larvae of the armyworm moth, and there are a few different varieties.  Regardless of the variety, the worms have three pale stripes running the length of the body.  These beasts eat at night, and they’re destructive to many crops.

The leaves will be full of holes and look skeletonized after heavy feeding by the worms.  The armyworm moths lay 50 – 100 eggs at a time, and they lay them 3 – 5 times a year!  That’s an easy way to raise an army.

To destroy these worms organically, apply Bacillus thuringiensis.  This bacterial parasite kills many pests worldwide.  Spraying with organic insecticidal soap or neem oil will also stop them.

Another good option for parasitic worms, snails, and slugs is to spread diatomaceous earth on the ground.  This will cut their bodies as they’re moving around.

Cutworms

The larvae of the cutworm moth, these worms are also nocturnal feeders that leave obvious signs.  One sign is that seedlings and other tender plants have their stems cut at the soil line.  One way to prevent that is to remove all dead plant material lying on the ground.

The worms hide there or in the ground during the day.  To protect against them, put plastic or foil collars around the stems.  The collars should extend three inches above the soil surface and about one inch below.

Another defense is to apply diatomaceous earth around the plants.  This will cut the worms as they’re crawling around.

Root knot nematode

These tiny worms live in the soil and destroy food crops worldwide.  This nematode forms galls up to one inch in diameter on the roots, but they’re usually smaller.

The plants will look unhealthy and then turn yellow.  These pests prefer sandy soil and usually do their damage in that type of soil.

Before planting, mix the soil with neem cake.  This will protect against many types of soil pests.

Final Thoughts

Like many fresh herbs, dill is one that often brings back special memories.  For me, it’s my grandmother’s mustard dill pickles.  Since she passed away (I was only eight years old), I have never tasted any pickles as good as hers.

My grandfather always had dill in the herb garden, and when I smell it today, it takes me back to those times.  That’s one of the reasons I keep growing it today.  Life is a great blessing.

Last update on 2024-07-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Bob Styer

As a child, I hated gardening. That was mainly because Dad expected us to work in the garden every so often even though we thought play was more important. Over the years, though, I've developed a real appreciation for growing things. Whether you're growing plants for food or to enjoy their beauty, gardening can make your life better. Seize the moment!

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