Growing dill from cuttings is an easy and economical way to multiply your garden plants. It’s also a great way to share starter plants with friends or family who want to try their hand at growing this versatile herb.
With just a few simple steps, you can have new dill plants growing in no time!
How To Grow Dill From Cuttings
Growing plants from cuttings isn’t nearly as difficult as you might imagine.
It’s true that you may not be successful with every attempt, but that’s okay. Each failure is a learning opportunity, and when you do get it right, success is even sweeter.
When To Take Your Cutting
The best time to take cuttings from dill plants is in late spring or very early summer when the plants have enough growth to sustain the loss of a branch or two.
Taking cuttings sooner rather than later ensures that your new plants will have sufficient time to grow and be productive before the hot summer weather triggers them to go to seed.
Where & How To Make the Cut
When taking dill cuttings, it’s important to choose a healthy plant and select stems that are young, tender, pliable, and at least 4-6 inches long with several leaves.
Use sterilized sharp scissors or pruning shears to cut the stem at a 45-degree angle, just below a leaf node.
Once you have your cuttings, remove the lower leaves with your clippers.
Rooting Dill in Water
- Fill a clean jar or glass with room-temperature water, and place the cut end of the dill cutting into the water.
- Make sure the cut end is fully submerged, but keep the water level below the remaining leaves.
- Place the jar in a warm, bright location but out of direct sunlight.
What To Do While Waiting for Roots To Form
Now for the hardest part — waiting! In the meantime, there are some proactive steps you should take to give your cuttings the best chance at survival.
- Change the water every few days. Fresh water contains oxygen that the cuttings need to grow roots and helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria or fungi.
- Check the cuttings regularly for signs of rot or decay. If the stems start to turn brown or slimy or the water looks cloudy, remove them from the water immediately and discard them.
- Be patient. It can take up to two weeks or more for dill cuttings to develop roots, depending on the temperature and light conditions. Avoid disturbing the cuttings or moving them around too much, as this can disrupt the root growth process.
When To Transplant Into Soil
Transplant times for dill cuttings rooted in water depend on several factors, including the size and health of the roots as well as the current weather conditions in your area.
As a general rule, you should wait until the roots of the dill cuttings are at least an inch long (longer is better) before transplanting them into the soil.
This will ensure that the cuttings have a strong root system that can support growth and keep the new plants upright.
In addition, you should wait until the weather conditions are suitable for planting dill.
Dill is a cool-season herb that prefers temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s best to plant it in early spring or late summer/early fall.
In some regions, it may be possible to plant dill throughout the year if the temperatures are mild enough.
How To Transplant Rooted Cuttings
Now that your dill cuttings have formed roots, it’s time to move them out of the water and into their permanent home. Here’s how:
- Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil. Dill prefers soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, amend it with organic matter, such as compost or aged manure.
- Be sure that the roots are at least 1 inch long. Waiting until they’re 2 inches or slightly longer will increase your chance of success.
- Dig a small hole in the soil that is deep enough to accommodate the roots of the cutting. The hole should be slightly wider than the root lengths.
- Remove the cutting from the water, and gently shake off any excess moisture. Be careful not to damage the roots or the stem.
- Place the dill cutting into the hole, making sure the roots are spread out in all directions. The portion of the stem just above the highest roots should be level with the surface of the soil.
- Fill in the hole with soil, gently tamping it down to remove any air pockets. Avoid compacting the soil too much as this can make it difficult for water and air to penetrate and could damage the fragile roots.
- Water the newly transplanted dill cutting thoroughly. This will help settle the soil and ensure that the roots make good contact with the soil.
- Mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and protect the roots from temperature fluctuations.
- Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged as the plant establishes itself. Water the dill deeply once a week or more often if the weather is particularly hot and dry.
- In a few weeks, your dill cutting should start to grow and produce leaves. You can begin to harvest the leaves for culinary use once the plant has become established and is growing well.
Caring for Newly Transplanting Dill Plants
You’ve put time and effort into rooting dill cuttings, so now is not the time for neglect. Let’s go over dill’s basic needs and problems to watch for so that your new dill plants will thrive.
Dill Water Requirements
Dill has moderate water requirements and prefers soil that is consistently moist but drains quickly. Dill generally requires about 1 inch of water per week, either from rainfall or supplemental watering.
It’s important not to let the soil dry out completely as this can cause the plant to wilt and may lead to stunted growth. However, overwatering can be just as damaging as it can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases.
Watering in the morning is best because it allows the foliage to dry during the day and reduces the risk of fungal diseases.
Dill is not a heavy feeder and doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer to grow well. However, providing some additional nutrients can help promote healthy growth and improve the flavor of the leaves.
Here are some tips for fertilizing dill:
- Use a balanced fertilizer: Dill responds well to a balanced fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10 or 5-5-5. I like to use this organic blend.
- Apply fertilizer at planting time: Mix a slow-release granular fertilizer into the soil at planting time. Follow the package instructions for the recommended amount to use.
- Side-dress with fertilizer: Once the dill plants have established themselves and started to grow, apply a side-dressing of balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. Be careful not to get any fertilizer on the leaves.
- Use organic fertilizer: You can use compost or well-aged manure instead of purchased fertilizers. Compost tea, blood meal, worm castings, or bone meal can be used as well.
- Avoid over-fertilizing: Too much fertilizer can lead to excessive foliage growth, weak stems, and a reduced flavor in the leaves. Stick to a moderate fertilization schedule, and use fertilizers sparingly.
Pests & Diseases To Be Aware Of
If your dill is healthy and you monitor it regularly, chances are good that you’ll never have serious issues. However, even skilled gardeners run into problems occasionally. Here’s what to watch for:
- Aphids: Small, soft-bodied insects that suck sap and cause stunted growth and yellowing leaves. Spray the plant with a strong stream of water, or apply insecticidal soap.
- Caterpillars: Cabbage loopers and other caterpillars feed on dill leaves, causing holes and damage to the foliage. Remove by hand.
- Powdery mildew: A fungal disease that causes a white, powdery coating on the leaves. Improve air circulation around the plant, reduce humidity, and apply a fungicide.
- Fusarium wilt: A fungal disease that causes yellowing and wilting of the foliage, stunted growth, and reduced yield. Remove and destroy infected plants, and avoid planting dill in the same location for several years.
- Root rot: A fungal disease common in saturated soils that causes wilting and yellowing of the foliage, stunted growth, and root decay. To prevent, ensure that the soil drains well, and avoid overwatering.
- Spider mites: Tiny red or brown insects that feed on the foliage, causing yellowing and spotting. Spray the plant with a strong stream of water, or apply insecticidal soap.
When To Harvest Dill
You can begin harvesting dill regularly once the plants have been growing for about 6 weeks and show vigorous growth.
Use your fingers to pinch off what you need, or use sterilized scissors. Do not harvest more than 1/3 of the plant at a time.
When temperatures soar and your dill shows signs of producing flower heads, you can harvest the entire plant before it goes to seed and stops being productive.
That’s a Wrap!
There you have it — everything you need to know about growing dill from cuttings! I recommend trying several cuttings at once (each in its own jar, of course) to tip the odds of success in your favor.
Remember that if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again!