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Growing Dill – 8 Common Questions Answered

Growing Dill – 8 Common Questions Answered

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Paul Brown

Dill is a popular herb to grow due to its many flavorful, medicinal, and aesthetic qualities. It can be grown in various locations and climates and lends itself to an array of delicious dishes. Therefore, dill makes for a wonderful addition to any vegetable or herb garden.

Dill is a cold-hardy plant that’s easy to grow and resistant to most pests and diseases. It needs lots of sunlight for 6-8 hours everyday and best thrives outside. You can even grow the dill that you get from the grocery store by putting it in water and planting it after it grows roots. 

While growing dill is a rewarding experience, you may have questions about how to do it. This article will go over and provide answers to some of the most common questions about growing dill.

Is Dill Easy To Grow? 

There’s some effort involved in sustaining dill; it requires flower removal, regular watering, and continuous sowing. It also doesn’t like to be transplanted, which may lead some to think that growing dill is difficult. However, it isn’t necessarily the case.

Dill is easy to grow and suitable for beginners to plant. Dill doesn’t typically have any problems with pests or diseases. It’s also cold-hardy and self-seeding. This herb is also very versatile — it can be grown inside or outside, in containers, or on the ground.

If given what it needs — the correct amount of sunlight, water, and fertilizer — dill will easily flourish, producing an abundant harvest for little hassle. It can withstand a range of conditions, from poor to high-quality soil and wet or dry conditions. 

To grow your dill, simply sow a line of dill seeds in fertile, well-drained soil, and cover lightly with soil. Water regularly and ensure the seeds are getting plenty of sun. 

The seeds will grow into a mature plant in around 90 days with little intervention. You can then harvest your desired amount of dill from the plants whenever you need to. 

If you want a bit more guidance, you can buy kits that will make the dill growing process stress-free. This Planter’s Choice 9-Herb Window Garden (link to Amazon) provides equipment, seeds, and a comprehensive guide for growing various herbs inside, including dill. It’s affordable and will walk you through the growing process step by step.

Remember, dill is strong and continues to grow as long as it gets the minimum amount of nutrients and light.

Does Dill Prefer Full Sun?

Dill is native to Europe’s Mediterranean and Southeastern regions — places known for their warm and sunny weather.

Dill prefers and grows best in full sun. It needs around 6-8 hours of sunlight every day to thrive. Direct sunlight outside in the open air is ideal — plant dill in the sunniest place in your garden.

If you can’t avoid your dill getting some shade, don’t worry. It can tolerate a little. If the climate you’re in is very hot, for example regularly above 80°F (26.67°C), a bit of shade may actually be helpful to keep your dill from burning up. Dill grows best in a soil temperature of about 70°F or 21.11°C (source). 

However, too much shade will cause its stems to grow weak. Dill will not grow as bushy in partial shade. In most situations, if Dill doesn’t get at least 6-8 hours of sun a day, it may turn brown and wilt. Furthermore, too little sun will cause the dill to have less flavor and aroma. 

Does Dill Grow Back Each Year? 

Dill is a biennial plant, meaning it lives for two years before dying. However, new dill plants will continue to pop up in the place that you planted them year after year.

Dill can grow back each year because it’s self-seeding, meaning that it spreads seeds before dying. If left undisturbed and given the right conditions for growth, these seeds will grow new plants after a former plant dies. 

Dill plants can grow back, spread their seeds, die, and grow back again in this cycle for many years. Because of this quality, it’s possible to create a permanent dill patch that’ll bear an abundance of dill every year. To do so, allow some of the dill plants to flower and go to seed; make sure not to disturb the soil too much. 

The flower heads will get brown and dry and then fall off into the soil as new seeds. These seeds will grow new plants. Dill will produce mature seeds from its flowers around 90 days after planting.

Will Dill Regrow When Cut? 

Harvesting dill involves cutting it. You may wonder if the dill you cut off will grow back.

Dill will regrow when cut if the center portion of its stem is left untouched. You shouldn’t cut more than a third of the plant at a time; otherwise, you’ll hamper its regrowth and vitality. Also, don’t cut off dill plants without at least 4 to 5 leaves; it’ll have trouble producing anymore.

If you avoid cutting off more than a third of the plant, you can harvest as much dill as you want from the plant, and it’ll continue to grow back for future harvesting.

Can Dill Survive Winter? 

As mentioned earlier, dill likes warm weather and thrives at 70°F (21.11°C). Therefore, you may be wondering if a cold winter will kill your plants for good.

Dill is generally considered a winter-hardy herb, but it’ll die at temperatures at or below 25 °F (-3.8°C) . That said, its seeds will winter over in the soil to grow new plants the following spring or when the temperatures rise again.

While Dill plants usually do not grow over the winter, your dill patch will bloom again as soon as the weather is warm, usually in the early spring. 

Why Are My Dill Seedlings Falling Over? 

Seedlings that are falling over can be a distressing and frustrating sight. You’ve done everything you were supposed to; how could this be?

Your dill seedlings could be falling over because of legginess or damping off. Leggy seedlings are tall, spindly seedlings caused mainly by too little light. Damping-off is a disease that kills or weakens seedlings during germination.

If your seedlings are long, spindly, and too tall to keep themselves standing, they’re most likely leggy. A lack of sunlight usually causes leggy seedlings. Too little light causes the seedlings to stretch towards any light they can find, eventually growing too tall and falling over. 

Legginess can also be due to too much heat, inconsistent watering, and improper spacing. You may save your seedlings by making the proper adjustments and restoring healthy growing conditions. 

However, if healthy seedlings have suddenly fallen over without any other explanation, the culprit is most likely damping off. Damping off can damage your seedlings incredibly fast, infecting them, then causing them to wilt, droop over onto the soil, and die. 

Symptoms of damping-off include:

  • Drooping seedlings
  • Discolored, wilting leaves
  • Thin stems
  • Absent roots
  • White growths on plant

Damping-off is caused by pathogens introduced into the seedling tray through unsanitized tools, carrying insects, and even garden soil. Conditions that slow down plant growth, such as low light or overwatering, are also among the main causes of damping-off. 

Often, damping-off will wipe out entire sections or trays of seedlings. Unfortunately, if your seedlings are infected with damping-off, there’s not much you can do to save them. 

While damping-off is not a curable disease, it’s preventable. Here’s what you can do to prevent damping-off in the future:

  • Use clean, sterilized tools and pots.
  • Use a new potting mix, not garden soil or compost.
  • Make sure the soil is at an ideal temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21.11°C).
  • Ensure the soil has good drainage and isn’t too moist.
  • Water seedlings with clean, warm water.
  • Make sure seedlings are getting enough light. According to UMN, light from a window isn’t enough.

Can You Grow Dill From the Grocery Store? 

What if you could buy dill from the grocery store, and instead of using it all at once or letting it go to waste, turn it into a fresh and beautiful supply?

You can grow dill from the grocery store. Place individual dill cuttings from the grocery store into water, and they will sprout roots. Each cutting will grow a whole dill plant. After the roots have grown, plant the dill cuttings into soil and care for them like regular plants.

Use a cutting that’s four or more inches long. Buy the freshest and strongest looking dill from the store that you can find, as healthier drill cuttings are more likely to grow into strong plants. 

If you’re wondering how to grow dill from the grocery store, here’s a quick guide:

  1. Check the expiration date on the dill you buy, and make sure it’s fresh.
  2. Don’t put the dill cuttings in the fridge before growing them.
  3. Cut the dill cuttings at an angle, just below the leaf node.
  4. Remove any leaves from the lower two-thirds of the stem.
  5. Remove any flowers, buds, and large leaves.
  6. Stand the cutting in a glass of water, stem side down.
  7. Choose a container that’s big enough to contain a healthy amount of roots from the cutting.
  8. Make sure the leaves of the cutting are in the air.
  9. Keep the container in a warm place with plenty of indirect light.
  10. Change the water every four days to prevent bacteria or algae growth.
  11. Wait for roots to grow — it can take from a few days to a few weeks.
  12. Plant your dill in soil once it has developed a root system that’s a couple of inches long.

How Do You Know When Dill Is Ready To Pick?

Harvesting dill is an easy process and the most rewarding part of caring for the plant. But how do you know your dill is ready to be picked?

Dill is ready to pick when more than 4 or 5 of its leaves have grown — about eight weeks after sowing. However, dill is most flavorful when it begins to flower, or its flower heads are just starting to open. This is when the oil in the leaves will be the most potent.

When your dill begins to flower, buds will appear at the tops of your dill weed. These buds will just begin to open about 70 days after sowing. That’s the best time to harvest your dill because it has come to the end of its life cycle and won’t produce any more dill afterward. Plus, it’ll have the optimal flavor at this point.

That said, you can harvest your dill at any point during the season, and it’ll taste fine. Pruning dill may also be necessary at any time to keep it from getting too bushy and overgrown.

Common practice is to water your dill plant a day before harvesting to ensure that it’s hydrated and able to swiftly recover. After picking your dill, make sure to wash what you have picked to get rid of any dirt or insects.

The dill’s seeds will be ready for harvest when they are flat and brown, about 90 days after sowing. Make sure to harvest them before they fall off the plant. Snip off the flower heads into a paper bag and place them somewhere to dry. After drying, crush the heads to release the fresh seeds.

Final Thoughts

Dill is one of the most rewarding herbs to grow. It adds delicious flavor to a variety of dishes and is a great companion plant for your garden. Once you know everything your dill needs to thrive, which isn’t a lot, you can easily care for it and reap the rewards of its bounty for many seasons.

Here’s a quick recap of all the answers we went over in this article:

  • Dill is a semi-easy herb to grow that prefers full sun.
  • Dill is self-seeding and will grow back each year.
  • Dill will regrow if harvested responsibly.

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