Plant Type
Sunlight Amount
anethum graveolens dill
Credit: Peter Krumhardt
anethum graveolens dill

This aromatic annual plant has feathery foliage used to flavor savory recipes. It's also sought after by black swallowtail caterpillars as a food source, and its small yellow flowers are excellent for attracting a variety of pollinators. Plant dill alongside vegetables in a traditional vegetable garden or enjoy its scented foliage in a perennial garden or in container plantings. 

genus name
  • Anethum graveolens
  • Sun
plant type
  • 3 to 8 feet
  • 2 to 3 feet
foliage color
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Dill Care Must-Knows

Dill grows best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Choose a planting site that receives at least 8 hours of bright light a day. Plant this herb in containers or raised beds if poor soil drainage is a challenge.

Dill is easiest to grow when seeded directly into the garden. Plant seeds 1 to 2 inches apart in garden soil, cover them with ¼ inch of fine soil, and water gently after planting. Make a small sowing every few weeks for successive harvests of young, tender foliage. Seeds usually germinate in 7 to 14 days. Dill can also be cultivated from nursery-grown transplants placed in the ground or a container in spring. Dill tolerates light frost, so feel free to plant it outdoors a couple of weeks before the last anticipated spring frost.

Thinning is critical to producing lush growth and preventing crowded seedlings from developing seed heads, which stops foliage production. When seedlings are 3 or 4 inches tall, reduce their numbers to just the strongest seedling every 6 to 8 inches. Some dill plants become floppy with age and size. Keep plants upright by sinking a sturdy twig or stake in the ground near the base of the plant. Use garden twine to loosely anchor the plant to the stake.

Be patient with the striped caterpillars munching on stems and foliage; they'll eventually become delightful black swallowtail butterflies. Other beneficial insects drawn in by dill's charms include bees, hoverflies, lacewings, and ladybugs, which start out as larvae that dine on pests like aphids, mealybugs, and mites.

Dill Harvesting Tips

Scented flat-headed yellow flowers bloom in mid-summer, followed by the production of aromatic seeds. Pick dill's fernlike leaves as needed for flavoring; they'll have the best flavor about the time the plant is flowering. Add fresh leaves to hot dishes just prior to serving because heating dissipates flavor.

To preserve leaves, air-dry, or freeze sprigs in airtight bags. To use frozen dill, do not thaw; snip stems directly into dishes. Harvest seeds in fall as they start to turn brown. Clip flower heads and suspend them, upside down, inside paper sacks, so dried seeds will fall into bags. Dill seeds can be used crushed or whole in bread, pickles, salad dressings, soups, and vinegar. Chopped dill is used in chicken dishes, deviled eggs, potato salad, tossed salad, tuna salad, and gravlax, a Nordic dish made with salmon.

More Varieties of Dill

long island mammoth dill anethum graveolens
Credit: Marty Baldwin

'Long Island Mammoth' dill

Anethum graveolens 'Long Island Mammoth' is an old-fashioned favorite. Its fernlike leaves may be harvested for use fresh or dried for long-term storage. It grows up to 3 feet tall and bears large clusters of flat-top yellow flowers that develop into brown seed heads.

fernleaf dill anethum graveolens
Credit: Dean Schoeppner

'Fernleaf' dill

A productive dwarf variety that grows just 18 inches tall, Anethum graveolens 'Fernleaf' is an excellent choice for container gardens or compact in-ground beds. It has fine, feathery foliage with excellent dill flavor. This All-America Selections Winner blooms from midsummer into fall.

bouquet dill anethum graveolens
Credit: Robert Cardillo

'Bouquet' dill

This cultivar has fine bluish-green foliage on plants that grow to 30 inches tall. Its large yellow flower heads reach 6 inches in diameter, and they can be cut for fresh floral arrangements or dried as an everlasting. Swallowtail butterfly larvae love its foliage.

Garden Plans for Dill

fall vegetable garden plan
Credit: Illustration by Gary Palmer

Planting Fall Vegetables

Autumn's mild temperatures create perfect growing conditions for fall vegetables like kale and carrots. Here's how to enjoy these late-season treats by planting some fall garden vegetables.

Download this garden plan!

classic herb garden plan
Credit: Illustration by Gary Palmer

Classic Herb Garden Plan

Ensure your kitchen is always stocked with fresh herbs with this classic herb garden plan, where ten kinds of hers surround a decorative sundial in a 6-foot-diameter bed.

Click here to get this plan.

colorful herb garden plan
Credit: Illustration by Gary Palmer

Colorful Herb Garden Plan

Get an herb garden that dazzles with this colorful plan, where a 3x8-foot border features foliage with purple, green, and golden hues—including variegated leaves.

Get this garden plan!


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