The Weed I Love To Grow, Dill Weed

Ilona Erwin

Dill Weed.  I love this plant, and it is so easy to grow… as easy as a weed!

If you plant Dill in a cultivated area such as an annually tilled vegetable garden, the seeds will come up for you year after year. Both the seeds and the finely divided feathery textured leaves are edible. The flowers appear on broad umbels and turn to seeds that can be harvested for flavoring recipes ranging from pickles to potato salad. Little sprigs of the fresh leaves are perfect for fish and as garnishes. They are a marvelously ornamental plant,too.


Anethum graveolens attracts bees, butterflies, lacewings, hoverflies, tachinid flies and other beneficial insects. As a member of the Umbelliferae family it is especially favored by Swallowtail and other desired butterflies. It is liked by tomato hornworms, as well, so not a good pairing with tomato plants.

The Look

Three (or more) foot tall stalks, light green, smooth,and hollow, with soft feathery foliage, bluegreen at first, but becoming a bright green. Chartreuse umbels of flowers ripen to a brown seedhead. Very graceful plant, with a pleasant aromatic scent.

Growing Instructions

Dill is an annual and completes its growth cycle in one season, it is very hardy, however and the seeds will survive very cold winters to sprout in your late spring garden. You may harvest the seed for the next year’s crop and to keep as a dried herb for your kitchen.

  • Days To Germination: 14 -21
  • Planting Depth: 1/16 to 1/8 inch
  • Full sun
  • Regular moisture

Sow seed directly in prepared garden soil. Barely cover and firm into soil. The freshly germinated plants have fine bluegreen leaves.  Not recommended for indoor growing due to the deep taproot which resents transplanting.

Said to cross pollinate with fennel. (Not a desirable thing).

Harvesting Dill

Snip leaves any time, rinse and pat dry, snip to use fresh, or allow to air dry for longer use. Whole plant may be hung upside down, or seedheads removed when ripe. Both leaves and seeds are good dried and preserved in air tight container.

Used in cabbage and potato dishes, in Swedish and German cookery, and to flavor pickles.

Dill seed is more intense in flavor than dill weed leaves.

My favorite use is as a fresh pickle: with thinly sliced cucumbers, green onions, soaked in a diluted vinegar dressing with just salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

Plant Lore

Used to induce sleep, reduce colic.

The name dill is probably related to Old Norse dilla “calm”, “soothe”; it has been suggested that dill was used to relieve stomach pain in babies (due to its antiflatulent power) and thereby “soothed” them. ~Spice Pages

A good source of Thiamine, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese.[1]

A symbol of good luck to first century Romans.
Aneth comes from the Greek word “Anethon” meaning fennel. Fennel and Dill were both considered symbols of vitality and wealth in ancient Rome [2]; graveolens meaning strong-smelling in Latin.

Years ago I planted a packet of dill seeds in my vegetable garden. I haven’t had to plant any since- dill seeds have good longevity and easily reseed. There is always plenty of delicious fresh dill in my garden each year, now.

Would you like to have the best resource books on herbs? Try these.
Complete Herbs Book     Growing Herbs     Cooking with Herbs

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.