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how to plant dill seeds in a pot

Potted Dill Plant Care: Tips For Growing Dill In Containers

potted dill

Herbs are the perfect plants to grow in containers, and dill is no exception. It’s beautiful, it’s tasty, and in late summer it produces fantastic yellow flowers. Having it in a container near or even in your kitchen is a great way to ensure you get the most out of cooking with it. But how do you grow potted dill plants? Keep reading to learn more about growing dill in containers and care of dill in pots.

Potted Dill Plant Care

The most important thing to keep in mind when growing dill in containers is the depth of your containers. Dill grows a long tap root, and any container shallower than 12 inches (30 cm.) won’t provide enough space for it. That being said, your container doesn’t need to be extremely deep. Dill is an annual, so it doesn’t need extra space to build up a big root system over the years. One to two feet (30-61 cm.) deep should be plenty.

You can sow dill seeds directly into your container. Fill it up with any soilless potting mix, making sure there are drainage holes in the bottom, first. Dill will grow in most types of soil, though it prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Sprinkle a few seeds on the surface, then cover them with a very light layer of potting mix.

Potted dill plants need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day and warm temperatures above 60 degrees F. (15 C.) to sprout. If all danger of frost has passed, you can keep your potted dill plants outside, but if it’s still early spring, you should keep them indoors in a sunny window or under a grow light.

Keep the soil moist by misting often. Once the seedlings are a few inches (8 cm.) high, thin to one or two per pot and care for as you normally would out in the garden.

Having dill in a container near or in your kitchen is a great way to get the most out of cooking with it. How do you grow potted dill plants? Click here.

Growing Dill

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Dill is an annual, self-seeding plant with feathery green leaves. It is used most commonly in soups and stews or for pickling. Dill weed is easy to grow—here’s how!

If you’re planting dill for pickling, plant every few weeks into midsummer to ensure a constant supply for when the harvest begins!

To create a permanent patch of dill, allow some of the plants to flower and go to seed each year—you’ll have plenty of early dill to start the season.

Dill attracts beneficial insects such as wasps and other predatory insects to your garden, and is a host plant for the caterpillar of the black swallowtail butterfly.

Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar on dill flower

Black swallowtail caterpillar on dill flowers.

Planting

When to Plant Dill

  • Dill seeds should be sown directly into the garden (dill puts down a taproot, so like carrots, it doesn’t transplant well) after the threat of frost has passed in the spring. See local frost dates.
  • The soil temperature should be between 60 and 70ºF (15 and 21°C) for the best germination results. Seedlings should appear in 10 to 14 days.
  • Plant dill every couple of weeks until mid summer to ensure a constant supply into fall.

Choosing and Preparing a Planting Site

  • Plant in full sun.
  • Choose a site that has well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter. The pH of the soil should ideally be between slightly acidic and neutral.
  • In your garden, plant dill next to cabbage or onions, but keep it away from carrots. Learn more about companion planting.
  • Make sure to shelter dill from strong winds, as it can be blown over easily.

How to Plant Dill

  • Sow dill seeds about ¼-inch deep and 18 inches apart.
  • After 10 to 14 days, young dill plants should appear in the soil. Wait another 10 to 14 days, then thin the plants to about 12 to 18 inches apart (if they aren’t already spaced well enough).

Check out our video to learn more about the benefits of growing dill in your garden:

How to Grow Dill

  • Water the plants freely during the growing season, ensuring that they don’t dry out excessively.
  • In order to ensure a season-long fresh supply of dill, continue sowing seeds every few weeks. For an extended harvest, do not allow flowers to grow on the plants.
  • If dill is allowed to go to seed and the soil isn’t disturbed too much, more dill plants will likely appear next spring.

Dill foliage, flower, and seed

Pests/Diseases

  • Leaf spot and occasionally a few other types of fungal leaf and root diseases

Harvest/Storage

How to Harvest Dill

  • As soon as the plant has four to five leaves, you can start harvesting. Harvest older leaves first. Pinch off the leaves or cut them off with scissors.
  • If you have a lot of plants, you can take entire stalks.

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Fernleaf’ dill is a compact variety that works well in containers and is not prone to bolting.
  • ‘Bouquet’ is a larger variety that produces a lot of seeds.
  • ‘Mammoth’ is another tall variety and is considered one of the best for pickling and other culinary uses, such as in potato salads, cucumber soup, and fish dishes.

Wit & Wisdom

  • For sweeter breath, chew dill seeds.
  • If you grow your own dill and cucumbers, you can make dill pickles!

Recipes

  • Dill and Potato Cakes
  • Quick and Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles
  • Dilled Green Beans

Cooking Notes

Many people love to make dill pickles with their fresh dill. Learn how with our tips and recipes for dill pickles or our video on making dill pickles. You can also add dill as a seasoning in countless recipes.

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Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Old Dill

Submitted by Brian on November 26, 2020 – 3:27am

I have a huge patch of Dill in my garden, but it doesn’t taste like true Dill. Seems the flavor has grown out of it. Should I just plant more nearby? Its soil is sandy and well drained and I don’t have to worry about cold weather.

Freezing Dill & Lemon-Lime Basil

Submitted by Denise Wlodyka on July 18, 2018 – 9:08am

Two things:
(1) Dill & Lemon-Lime Basil are my favorite combo herbs for fish & veggies. Both come up as prolific volunteer in my garden each year which leads to.
(2) I chop and freeze my dill & lemon-lime basil on wax paper, and once frozen, quickly transfer to plastic pint containers in my freezer. It keeps it’s color and flavor, and I have guaranteed “fresh” herbs from my garden all winter long. Even if it clumps together, you can chop off a piece and quickly thaw to use on fish, veggies, in breads etc. It’s so much better than drying them.

Dill seed harvesting

Submitted by Amy on July 18, 2017 – 4:35pm

I have a dill plant that went to seed. I want to harvest and plant the seeds, but I am not sure when to collect them from the plant. Also, do I have to dry the seeds first, before planting?. Please advise on this, Thank you!

saving dill seed

The Editors

Submitted by The Editors on July 19, 2017 – 5:28pm

You can harvest the dill seeds when the flower head (umbel) turns brown but the stem is still slightly green (wait a day or two if it had rained–you don’t want the plant to be wet). Don’t wait too long, though, or the seeds will fall. Just clip the seed heads off the plant and over a container or bag, carefully rub the seed head so that the seeds fall into the container. Although some sources say that dill doesn’t need further treatment, to play it safe, you can then dry the seeds on paper towels for about a week (winnow out any chaff), before storing in a cool, dry location.

Using dill,

Submitted by JUDY ARNETT on June 5, 2017 – 7:53pm

I have enjoyed some fresh dill but it is turning pale’ My question , When I trim my dill for recipes/use, does it keep making new leaves? Is my dill season OVER? I have it planted in a large well drained planter with plenty of sun and water.

dill turning pale

The Editors

Submitted by The Editors on June 6, 2017 – 12:22pm

If the leaves are turning pale, it could be due to several things. Make sure that it is getting enough light–at least 6 to 8 hours a day. Do not over-fertilize, which can cause yellowing. Also, check for pests, such as aphids. A few diseases may also cause the color change.

Dill stalks become pale at the end of their life cycles

Submitted by Kelly on September 6, 2018 – 8:19am

Dill stalks will only tolerate nipping the flower buds so many times before turning gray or brown and dying away. Its job is to propagate and it puts all energy into making those buds. If it fails, it must start over, yet there is a limit to how many times the plant will take the stress. Cilantro is even worse. This is why you should plant several times over a season or let your last stem go to seed (preferably under a bag for containment).

Getting rid of aphids

Submitted by Van Malone on March 17, 2017 – 9:13am

I use scot tape to get aphids off plants. Gently tap the plant with the sticky side of the tape and the aphids will be attached to the tape. While it is not the fastest method, it is effective.

Yeah it’s sounds like a slow

Submitted by Audrey Masterson on May 8, 2017 – 11:09pm

Yeah it’s sounds like a slow death, dehydrating whilst stuck to a piece of tape. Just buy lady birds I would suggest.

Slow death?

Submitted by CMK on June 14, 2017 – 12:04pm

That would not be a slow death. You can very easily fold the tape in half and step on it after you are done collecting the bugs and poof, instant death. They are bugs, I don’t know why you would be worried about them having a slow death anyway.

Slow death

Submitted by Larry Reed on July 8, 2017 – 1:18pm

Lol! Now that’s funny! And practical, too. I don’t know why anyone would be concerned about the feelings of insects. Hundreds of billions of insects die every day- that’s just an essential part of the cycle of life. Plus, many insects, given half the chance, would gladly decimate our crops, starve us to death, then feast on our corpses. There’s good bugs and there’s bad bugs.

I have have attempted to

Submitted by Christy on October 28, 2016 – 9:57am

I have have attempted to start dill from seeds for the last 2 years, sowing directly into the ground, plenty of sun and water, bought seed in a packet one year then used seed harvested from another gardener last year. I could not get my seed to sprout, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, great article!

We are inclined to think the

The Editors

Submitted by The Editors on October 28, 2016 – 11:04am

We are inclined to think the problem is in the soil. Dill will grow in poor soil; but if you have not already, you could try well-drained/draining composted soil, and full sun. There seems to be enthusiasts of both camps (poor soil, composted soil). It does not do well when over watered or in rainy season. One other thought, going back to the soil: What is the pH of your soil? Dill likes a neutral pH of between 5.5 and 6.5. An extreme acid or alkaline soil could be the issue here, if all else is as it should be.

We hope this helps!

I purchased a miracle aero

Submitted by Allen Fields on December 15, 2016 – 10:08pm

I purchased a miracle aero system with dill. Works great.

Aphids on dillweed

Submitted by A Parker on August 29, 2016 – 12:40am

I bought dillweed at the farmers market to make dill pickles. It had a lot of aphids on it we washed it in salt and vintages but we’re still seeing them. How do you get them off of harvested dill weed?

washing dill

The Editors

Submitted by The Editors on August 30, 2016 – 9:41am

The aphids are sticky so you need a vinegar rinse to release them. Add a cup of white vinegar to a bowl of cold water and wash the dill in the water. Then rinse a few times in vinegar-free water. If it’s still too heavily invested, talk to the place where you got them. Also, for what it’s worth, eating an aphid is harmless protein, but we understand that you wouldn’t want to eat bugs!

Simulating Seeding

Submitted by GregG on June 29, 2016 – 10:34am

I’m trying to establish a solid dill patch that will reseed itself year after year. (I know it can be done in my climate because a relative of mine has a beautiful and dense patch that comes back on its own every year.) I had a couple plants that were flowering, but the flowers were all just destroyed by hail. I was thinking about scattering some dill seeds from a packet in the vicinity of the plants around the time that the seeds would have been falling themselves, in an effort to simulate the self-seeding process. Is there a time in the late summer/autumn when it would be best to do something like that?

Sowing Dill Seeds

The Editors

Submitted by The Editors on June 29, 2016 – 4:23pm

The ideal time to sow dill seeds directly into the ground is late April through May. But given the fact that several crops can be harvested during the summer and fall by planting seeds every 2-3 weeks through midsummer, you might want to start a batch now.

dill turning yellow

Submitted by Vicky Hamilton on April 30, 2016 – 10:47am

I have a dill plant and part of the plant is turning yellow Is it still good to dry or is there a problem with the dill itself

yellowing dill

The Editors

Submitted by The Editors on May 2, 2016 – 3:15pm

If the leaves are turning yellow early in the season, it could be due to several things. Make sure that it is getting enough light–at least 6 to 8 hours a day. Do not over-fertilize, which can cause yellowing. Also, check for pests, such as aphids. A few diseases may also cause yellowing.

Looking for Flower Match

Submitted by Liam Moyniha on November 12, 2015 – 11:50am

Hi I’m thinking about getting into gardening this year and I wanted to try planting dill alongside lettuce and cucumbers. I’m also considering adding in some flowers but I’m not sure what to go with. Any suggestions?

There are so many flowers to

The Editors

Submitted by The Editors on November 16, 2015 – 3:32pm

There are so many flowers to choose from. Here are a couple of annuals that you can start from seed. They are easy to care for and will work well with veggies and herbs. Cosmos, nasturtiums, and marigolds. You can check our growing guide for flowers at http://www.almanac.com/plants.

Submitted by camryn forrest on October 26, 2015 – 9:56am

thanks. i needed this cuz we just got stuff from school to plant
thankssss

Thanks!

Submitted by greg mccoy on September 1, 2015 – 10:57am

Learn how to plant, grow, and harvest dill with this garden guide from The Old Farmer's Almanac.