Is your dill not performing quite as well as you hoped it would? Are your expectations too high, or is something wrong with your dill?
Dill’s growth depends on factors such as temperature, moisture levels, competing plants, and available nutrients. Under ideal conditions, dill seeds will germinate in 7-14 days, and the plant will reach maturity in 40-60 days. In optimal growing conditions, dill can grow up to 2-3 inches per week.
Let’s take a moment to explore the factors that affect the rate at which dill grows, common mistakes people make when growing dill, and more.
Soon, you’ll have realistic expectations for your dill and know how to help it reach its full potential.
Dill Growth Rate – Affecting Factors
Without ideal conditions, dill’s growth rate and overall quality will suffer. If you can provide optimal growing conditions, dill will reward you with fast growth and plenty of foliage to harvest.
Read through the following to understand what your dill plants need to thrive.
Average Growth Rate for Dill
In general, dill plants can grow quite quickly under optimal conditions, sometimes as much as 2 to 3 inches per week.
Under ideal growing conditions, dill can reach maturity in about 60 to 90 days from the time it is planted. During this time, the plant will produce leaves and eventually flowers, which will develop into seeds.
Dill Growing Conditions
Dill is a hardy, easy-to-grow herb that requires specific growing conditions to thrive. Here are some of the key growing conditions that dill needs:
- Soil: Dill prefers well-draining soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. It can grow in a range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils, but the soil must drain quickly to prevent root rot.
- Sunlight: Dill requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day to grow properly. In areas with hot summers, dill can benefit from partial shade in the afternoon.
- Watering: Dill needs regular watering to keep the soil moist, but overwatering is detrimental. It’s important to water the plants deeply, but allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering to prevent saturated soil.
- Nutrients: Dill is not a heavy feeder, but it does require basic nutrients provided by quality soil and/or regular fertilization. Adding organic matter, like compost or aged manure, when planting will be beneficial. Providing a balanced fertilizer once a month is recommended.
- Temperature: Dill is a cool-season herb that prefers temperatures between 60°F (15°C) and 70°F (21°C). In warmer climates, dill can be grown in the spring or fall, while in cooler climates, it can be grown in the spring and summer.
- Spacing: Dill plants should be spaced at least 12 inches apart to allow for proper air circulation and prevent disease. Ensure there are no other plants growing close to dill as they will compete for water and nutrients.
- Protection: A strong wind gust can take down even the healthiest dill plants. Consider planting near a wall, fence, or row of shrubs to decrease the risk of damage.
Dill Growing Temperature
Dill is a cool-season herb that prefers moderate temperatures between 60°F (15°C) and 70°F (21°C).
The plant can tolerate slightly warmer temperatures, but prolonged exposure to temperatures above 80°F (27°C) can cause the plant to bolt (produce flowers and seeds prematurely), which can impact the flavor and quality of the leaves.
Dill requires a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight per day to grow properly.
In areas with hot summers, dill can benefit from partial shade in the afternoon to prevent the plant from becoming too stressed and wilting.
Without adequate sunlight, dill plants can become leggy, which means that the stems become elongated and weak, and the plant may not produce as much foliage (or seeds for culinary use or next spring’s planting).
A balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 5-5-5 fertilizer, can be applied every four to six weeks during the growing season.
I personally use this organic blend for not just my dill but all my herbs and vegetables.
It’s important to avoid over-fertilizing dill, as this can lead to plant dehydration and root burn.
It’s best to apply fertilizer sparingly, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and to supplement with compost or organic matter to improve soil quality.
Pruning & Harvesting
Harvesting and pruning are two important factors in maintaining and promoting the growth of dill plants.
Harvesting refers to the process of removing mature leaves, stems, and seeds from the plant for use in cooking or to preserve them for future use.
Harvesting is typically done by cutting off the outer leaves as needed or by cutting the entire stem to harvest the seeds once they have matured.
Pruning involves cutting back the plant to remove dead or damaged portions and to encourage bushier growth.
Pruning is typically done by cutting back the stems by one-third of their length to promote branching and bushier growth.
When To Plant Dill
The optimal time to plant dill can vary depending on the location and climate, but generally speaking, dill should be planted when the soil temperature has reached at least 60°F (15°C).
In cooler climates, dill can be planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked and has reached 60°F.
In warmer climates, dill can be planted in the spring and again in the fall for a late harvest as long as the temperature doesn’t drop below freezing.
Common Mistakes When Growing Dill
There are several common mistakes that people can make when growing dill. Here are a few of them:
- Overwatering: Dill does not like to sit in wet soil, and overwatering can lead to root rot and eventual death of the plant. It’s important to make sure the soil drains readily and to avoid watering too frequently.
- Planting too deeply: Dill seeds should be sown just beneath the surface of the soil, as they require light to germinate. Planting the seeds too deeply can result in poor germination rates.
- Container too small: If planting dill in containers, be sure the container is deep enough (12 inches minimum but 18 inches is better) to accommodate the long taproot.
- Not providing enough sunlight: Dill requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day to grow properly. Not providing enough sunlight can result in leggy growth and a weaker plant overall.
- Crowding the plants: Dill plants should be spaced at least 12 inches apart to allow for proper air circulation and prevent disease.
- Not harvesting regularly: Dill plants should be harvested regularly to promote bushier growth and prevent the plant from becoming too tall and top-heavy. Failure to do so can result in a weaker plant that is prone to falling over.
How Long Does Dill Take To Grow?
Dill is an annual herb that typically takes about 60 to 90 days to reach maturity from the time it is planted.
However, the exact time it takes for dill to grow can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the specific variety of dill, the growing conditions, and the climate.
Why Is My Dill Falling Over?
Dill becomes rather top-heavy as it grows, and it may fall over or be knocked down by wind if support is not provided.
Another possible cause is overwatering or poor soil drainage, which can lead to weak or rotting roots that are unable to support the plant.
Severe pest infestations can also cause dill plants to fall over.
Growing dill successfully requires understanding its germination needs, average growth rate, and proper growing conditions.
Factors such as watering, nutrients, and sunlight can make a big difference in the success of your garden, so be patient, and don’t give up if you’re having some issues.
Adjust conditions one by one until you determine what the problem was. Before long, your dill will be thriving!