6 In Herb Garden

Growing Dill Herb

Growing dill herb is easy. It can be used fresh, used in pickle recipes, and dried for later use. I love to grow it for my spice rack but also to feed swallowtail butterflies, whose caterpillars love it, too!

picture of dill herb drying on table

Growing Dill Herb

If you’re interested in growing dill herb, good news — it is especially easy and prolific. I’ve sown it once or twice in my raised bed garden and it returns annually thanks to the abundant seeds it produces. I haven’t planted dill in years – it comes up from seeds, descendants of the original plants.

How to Grow Dill

Purchase seeds in the spring; use fresh seeds for the best results. Dill needs full sun, six to eight hours a day, and slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Sounds familiar? That’s because it’s pretty much the same requirements as carrots, which was yesterday’s “C” featured edible on the blogging A to Z challenge. That’s why my dill plants flourish next to the carrots – they both love the same thing!

If you choose to plant dill near carrots, a word of warning. When the seeds first emerge, they look almost identical to carrots. Wait a while before harvesting them until you’re sure you’re growing dill herb and not carrot tops and adding them to your sour cream and cucumbers. Dill grows to be several feet tall and will rapidly distinguish itself from carrots by its height. Waiting a bit ensures you’re harvesting dill for culinary purposes and not trying to use carrot tops.


swallowtail butterfly caterpillar

He (or she?) likes dill, too. Butterfly caterpillar on dill.

Sow seeds directly into prepared soil approximately 1/2 inches in the ground and a foot or so apart. If that seems like a big distance, remember that dill gets very tall. The plants need room to spread out. And a few plants are sufficient unless you really, really love dill pickles and fresh dill sprinkled on salmon. If you want to make dill pickles, you may need more. Sow the seeds after the last danger of frost has passed, or else frost may kill the tender seedlings.

Insects and Pests

In the picture above, you’ll see a caterpillar on my dill plant. Swallowtail butterflies and some other butterfly species love to lay their eggs on dill and the young caterpillars rapidly eat their way through a dill patch. I don’t mind, as I love butterflies. Plant extra and pick the leaves before the insects get to them. If they truly bother you, gently move the butterfly caterpillars to another plant such as parsley which they also love.

Tips to  Grow Great Dill

Don’t transplant dill. Direct sowing seeds in early spring is the best way for growing dill herb. It hates to be transplanted and is unlikely to thrive once you move it.

Dill does not need fertilizer; any rich, well-drained soil produces excellent dill. Pick and use the leaves as needed or wait until the pretty flowers set seed. The dry the seeds in the sunshine and shake them into a paper towel to use them in recipes.

dilled green beans

Dilly green beans are a delicious canned salad of green beans, peppers, garlic and dill.

A little dill goes a long way, but fresh herbs add such a sparkle to most dishes, and herbs are generally so easy to grow that adding dill to the kitchen garden is always a good idea.

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  • Denise D Hammond, CGFM-Retired
    April 4, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    I love dill but it does not like my garden. I think it is just too wet.

  • marye
    April 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I love fresh dill. I’ll be planting mine soon since my cukes are just poking through the mulch. 🙂

  • Damaria Senne
    April 4, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Snap! I love dill and grow it, and it seems we both blogged about it today:-)

  • Gardener on Sherlock Street
    April 5, 2014 at 12:04 am

    Love dill. Mostly grow it for the caterpillars but last year I did try some dill pickles so the caterpillars are going to have to share!

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