Do you know that dill is both a spice and a herb? This delicious plant is used for many things. Its leaves, often called will weed, are used to flavor various dishes, including sauces and salads. Its seeds are used to flavor pickles, sauerkraut, and flavor bread. Growing dill is easy. This guide shows you how to.
- 1 Getting to Know More about Dill
- 2 Uses of Dill
- 3 Growing Dill : A Brief Guide
- 3.1 1. Growing Dill from Seed
- 3.2 2. Growing Dill from Cuttings
- 3.3 3. Growing Dill in Containers
- 3.4 Growing Dill in Pots Outdoors
- 3.5 Growing Dill in Pots Inside
- 3.6 4. Growing Dill Plant Care
- 3.7 Soil
- 3.8 Water
- 3.9 Light
- 3.10 Temperature and Humidity
- 3.11 Fertilizer
- 4 Harvesting Dill: When to Do It and How
- 5 How to Dry Dill
- 6 How to Store Dill
Getting to Know More about Dill
Let’s start with getting to know more about the plant first.
- Anethum graveolens, more popularly known as dill, is a biennial herb but is often grown as an annual. Its growing season is spring through fall. The ideal growing zones for dill is Zones 3 to 11.
- Although the plant looks delicate, dill is actually a cool-hardy plant. It can tolerate both heat and cold. Dill is a bushy plant. It grows feathery foliage that can reach 2 to 4 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide.
- Each dill plant grows a single hollow stem that holds small yellow flowers. The cluster of these flowers is known as an umbel. An umbel can grow about 6 inches wide.
- Dill leaves are feathery and have blue-green color. They are finely-cut and resemble fennel albeit shorter.
- Dill flowers are small and have greenish-yellow color. They bloom from mid-summer to fall.
- Dill seeds are oval, flat, and have light-brown color.
Uses of Dill
Dill has many uses. Dill leaves are used to flavor various dishes. For example, meats, vegetables, salads, and sauces while dill seeds are often used as a spice. They are used to flavor pickles, bread, coleslaw, and sauerkraut.
Growing Dill : A Brief Guide
Let’s talk about growing dill now. There are two ways you can grow dill: from seed and cuttings. Which one should you choose? Well, either way, is fine. We tell you how to do both below.
1. Growing Dill from Seed
Growing dill from seed is a straightforward process. You sow the dill seeds directly at the proper time. Water and feed them as they grow. If you start the seeds indoors, you will need to transplant them later once they are ready.
To grow dill from seed, directly sow the seeds at the same time as the last expected frost date. If you are growing indoors, sow the seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the last expected frost date. Dill has a taproot system which means you should transplant the seedlings once they are ready. Don’t wait too long.
After the seedlings grow large enough, plant them about 1/4 inch deep in the soil. Allocate 6 to 8 inches of space in between seedlings so they have enough room to grow. So before growing dill, make sure you have enough space so your plants can grow optimally.
As your dill plants grow, you will need to thin them. The thinning process should be done when the plants are about 6 inches tall. You also want to pinch your plants as doing so will make them bushier. So, do pinch them often.
2. Growing Dill from Cuttings
Growing dill can also be done from cuttings. The process is easy but you will need a healthy dill plant to begin the process. All you need to do is to cut the plant, put the ends of the cuttings in water to encourage root growth, and then, after about 2 to 3 weeks, transplant the cuttings into pots.
Easy, right? That’s a short explanation of growing dill from cuttings. Don’t worry. We explain how to do it step by step and in detail.
Choose the right cuttings
The first thing to do is to cut the plant and choose the right cuttings. How do you know if a cutting is the right one? Here are some categories of the right cuttings:
- The cutting should be 4 inches long at a minimum.
- The cutting should have fairly big stems. Why? Well, because the bigger the stem is, the more area is available for roots to grow.
- The cutting should have some greens on its top. This allows the cutting to perform photosynthesis right away, without having to wait for new leaves to grow.
- The cutting should be cut at an angle as it helps the cutting to take more water, encouraging root growth further.
- The cutting should come from older stems as they are sturdier and are more likely to survive than younger ones.
Encourage root growth
Of course, growing dill from a cutting involves encouraging root growth. To do this, you to put the cuttings in water. If you want to get the best results, submerge at least the lower third of the cuttings and change the water every 4 or 5 days.
If the water is a bit discolored before 4 or 5 days, change it immediately. You will probably see the first roots within a week. The cuttings should be ready for transplant after 2 to 3 weeks. That is, once they have enough roots to be transplanted.
Plant the cutting
The last thing to do when growing dill from a cut is to plant the cutting. To get the best results, plant the cutting in the right soil type. But what if the right soil type is not available?
No need to worry. Dill is a quite forgiving plant. Growing dill is possible even if you plant the plant in poor quality soil. That said, we recommend you plant it in rich, well-drained soil with between 6 and 7.5 pH so that you get the best results.
When the cuttings have multiple roots, they are ready to be transplanted. The more roots the cuttings have, the better. To transplant, fill a pot with some soil and then transplant the cutting carefully. Then, add more soil on top and press it down lightly.
It takes a few days for the roots of the cuttings to spread through the soil and it takes a few weeks for the roots to spread enough to anchor the plant properly in the soil.
Put the plant in a sunny location and water it regularly. The plant should grow and develop like a regular dill plant after one month or so.
Speaking of growing plants, dill is not the only plant that can add more taste to your cooking, of course. Another good plant you can plant is chervil. Want to know how to grow a chervil plant? Check out our brief guide here.
3. Growing Dill in Containers
No space available for growing dill outdoors? No problem. You can grow dill in containers. We will tell you how to grow dill in pots both indoors and outdoors.
Growing Dill in Pots Outdoors
For growing dill in a pot, you need a container at least 12 inches deep. Remember, dill grows a long taproot. These roots must have enough space to grow. That said, the container doesn’t need to be very deep. A pot 1 to 2 feet depth will suffice.
To grow the plant, sow the dill seeds directly into the pot. Fill up the pot with any soilless potting mix. Make sure that at the bottom of the pot there are drainage holes. As we said earlier, growing dill can be done in most soil types but they grow best in well-drained, slightly acidic soil.
After the soil is ready, sprinkle a few seeds on the surface. Then, cover the dill seeds with a thin layer of potting mix. That’s how you grow dill in a pot. You can keep your dill outdoors most of the time.
Keep your plants inside if the danger of frost has not passed or when it is early spring. During these times, it is best to keep the plants indoors near a sunny window or under a grow light.
To ensure the best growth, mist the pot often to maintain the soil moisture. After the seedlings reach several inches high, thin the plants, about 1 or 2 plants per pot. Then, care for the plants like you normally would in the garden.
Growing Dill in Pots Inside
Growing dill in a pot indoors is more or less the same as you would outdoors. What you should know is that dill plants need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day and warm temperatures (above 60 degrees Fahrenheit). Placing the pots near a sunny window can help to fulfill these.
If getting 6 to 8 hours of sunlight is not possible, you can use grow lights instead. Provide the plants with 12 hours of supplemental lighting. You can use LED, fluorescent or incandescent grow lights. Make sure that the spot where you are growing dill has an ambient temperature.
4. Growing Dill Plant Care
Dill thrives in rich, well-draining, and slightly acidic soil (between 6 and 7.5 pH). The plants grow a taproot, which is why growing dill in compacted soil could lead to a problem.
Dill requires regular watering. To get the best result, keep the plant consistently moist at all times. Avoid letting the soil dries completely between watering sessions.
Dill needs 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day. Place the plant in a spot where it can get full sunlight. If you live in an area where the summer is especially hot, a spot with afternoon shade is fine too.
Temperature and Humidity
Dill is cold-hardy. They can tolerate both heat and cold. That said, the optimal temperature for growing dill is above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are growing dill in soil that rich in organic matter, the plants require no additional fertilizer.
Harvesting Dill: When to Do It and How
Your growing dill knowledge is not complete if you don’t know how to harvest. We got your back. Below, we tell you when and how to harvest dill leaves and seeds.
You can harvest dill leaves after the plants reach 8 inches tall or more. If you want the best flavor, harvest the leaves just before the flowers bloom, about 70 days or so after sowing.
As for the seeds, you can harvest them when they are brown and flat, about 90 days after sowing.
How to Harvest Dill Leaves
Harvesting the leaves is pretty simple. Just ready your garden snip or scissor and then cut the leaves or stems.
How to Harvest Dill Seeds
To harvest the seeds, prepare a paper bag. Collect dill flower heads and hang them upside down in the bag. The seeds will then drop into the bag.
How to Dry Dill
Drying dill is easy. To dry fresh dill, you need a baking sheet, paper or cloth towels, parchment paper, and a small glass jar. Here’s how to:
- Preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare the baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.
- Wash the fresh dill sprigs in cold water then try them well on the towels.
- Remove the stems and place the sprigs on a dry towel.
- After the stems have been completely removed, pat the sprigs dry one more time.
- Scatter the dill on the baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheet into the oven for about 25 minutes. Regularly check how the dill is doing. If they crumble easily and are really dry, remove them from the oven. If they are not, keep them inside the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes until they are dried.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the dills to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Roll them up in the parchment paper then crinkle the paper with your hands. Make sure that the dills are crushed well.
- Finally, pour the dried dills into a small glass jar. Keep the jar stored and sealed with an airtight lid.
Learn more how to drying herbs in oven
How to Store Dill
There are three ways to do it: refrigeration, freezing, and drying. Of the three, drying keeps the leaves available for use the longest although the leaves are not fresh. Refrigeration and freezing keep the leaves fresh but only for a couple of days at most.
That’s our guide on growing dill. Dill is such an amazing plant to grow. This is why we think growing this plant is always a good idea, especially so if you want to have a fresh supply of dill leaves and seeds. So, what do you think? Are you interested in planting this tasty herb?