Dill plant is a biennial plant but they are best grown as an annual plant. The botanical name is Anethum graveolens. The other names are Sowa, Anethi Herba, American Dill, Sua, Satahva, Aneth, Aneth Odorant, Sotapa, Indian Dill, Anethi Fructus, Huile d’Aneth, Anethum sowa, Dill Herb, Peucedanum graveolens, Dill Weed, Dillweed, Dilly, Eneldo, European Dill, Faux Anis, Fenouil Bâtard, Madhura, Shatpushpa and Fenouil Puant.
Dill plant can self-seed and can also keep growing like a perennial if they are grow in clumps on the ground. Dill plant is an excellent choice for your container herb garden.
This herb has feathery green fronds like a fern and it also has a sweet aroma like licorice and anise seeds. Dill is a popular kitchen herb that is used both as a spice and herb. The fresh fronds can be harvested to prepare salads, sauces, vegetables, seafood, meat, fish and curry dishes and the seeds can be used to flavor pickles, sauerkraut, stews, rice, and bread. This plant is grown on USDA Zones 3 to 11. The plant has feathery foliage that can grow up to about two to four feet tall and one to two feet wide. (Although depends on the variety). Soil pH is between 5.5 to 7.5.
Varieties of Dill
Dill has different varieties including the dwarf varieties that are better suited to container gardening. The following are the common Dill varieties:
Dukat Dill: Dukat Dill is a standard variety and it is very popular for its abundant leaves.
Fernleaf Dill: Fernleaf Dill is a dwarf variety (less than eighteen inches), Fernleaf Dill is ideal for containers.
Mammoth Long Island Dill: Mammoth Long Island Dill is the most commonly grown commercial variety and is good for harvesting both seeds and leaves.
Mammoth Dill: Mammoth Dill is a tall variety (about 36 inches or more), Mammoth Dill has an attractive finely cut leaves.
Growing Dill in Containers and Pots
Dill cannot be grown from cuttings. Growing dill from seeds is actually the best way.
Instead of growing Dill plant seeds in seed trays you can easily sow them directly in your desired pots as the plants form long taproots and it don’t transplant well.
You can sprinkle the dill seeds in a pot and cover them with a 1/4-inch layer of soil mix.
Make sure you keep the soil evenly moist while the seeds germinate, which is usually seven to ten days. You will have to wait for about twenty-one days if the growing conditions are not optimum or if the seed quality is poor.
Wait until the seedlings are about four to six inches tall and thin them to 1 or 2 plants per pot, saving only the strongest ones.
The Dill seeds can be start indoors in spring, four weeks before the last expected frost date. Or you can sow them outside on your patio or balcony after all the dangers of frost are passed and the weather perks up to around 60 F (15 C).
Keep sowing the Dill seeds every three weeks for successive planting. You can also plant the Dill seeds in summer as well if it’s cool in your area.
Growing Dill Plant in Hot Climate
If you want to grow this plant in a warm climate you can start the seeds after the summer, in fall, when the weather is moderately cold.
Keep growing the seeds consecutively to grow dill in winter and up to spring.
Your Dill plant may die when hot summer approaches unless you save the Dill plant from heat.
Make sure you shield the plant up from the afternoon sun and hot wind and also water the plant more often to keep the soil evenly moist.
The Dill plant will bolt in heat, make sure you keep trimming the flower buds before they open.
Choosing a Container for Planting
This plant forms a long taproot, make sure you choose a five gallon container that is at least twelve inches deep and wide similarly. In such a pot you can easily grow 1 plant. For smaller varieties of Dill, you can select ten inches deep pot. If you want to grow a couple of Dill plants together you need to get a much bigger pot.
Requirements for Growing Dill Plants in Pots
The following are the requirements for growing Dill:
Position and Location: Make sure you provide a location that receives full sun or at least six to seven hours of direct sunlight and also a good air circulation. Dill can also be grown in part sun, although it will not become bushier there than it would be if grown in full sun.
If you want to grow dill indoors make sure you keep it at a South or West-facing window for optimum growth. In a subtropical or tropical climate the plant need to be save from the intense afternoon sun, most especially in summer.
Soil requirement: If you are growing dill in pots use a well-drained, loamy potting soil. The plant can tolerate poor soil, but it is a good idea to mix about twenty percent aged manure or compost at the time of planting to make your growing medium slightly richer.
Water requirement: If your growing location is sunny and windy and the dill plant is grown in a clay pot, it will easily dry out faster, you will really need to water regularly in other to keep the soil mildly moist.
If you are growing the Dill indoors or in part sun, make sure you water only when the soil is about to dry. Keep the soil moist in the hot climate or summers.
Tip: Make sure you avoid overwatering to prevent root rot. Likewise, don’t ever practice overhead watering to stop fungal diseases and water around the base of the Dill plant.
Staking The Plant: This plant is a floppy herb and it tends to fall once it grows taller because of its weak and hollow stems. You can use a plant stake like a bamboo stick or metal rod to support the plant.
How to Care for Dill Plant Care in Pots
Fertilizer requirement: If the plant has grown some inches high and if they are around two to four weeks old, it’s a time to fertilize the plant. You can feed the plant every four weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer in half of its prescribed strength on the label. If you actually want to avoid chemical fertilizers you can side-dress the plant with aged manure or compost once or twice during the growing season.
Pruning Dill Plant and Deadheading
Make sure you pinch back the top growing tips of the young Dill plant if they are about 4-5 inches tall to make it bushier. If you’re harvesting this plant regularly, you don’t really need to prune it.
Trimming the Dill plant leaves from the top helps to promote bushier growth. This will actually force the Dill plant to grow outward instead of upward.
Don’t allow the dill plant to flower unless you want to actually collect the seeds. This step really increases its vegetative life.
Pests and Diseases Control
The plant may get parsley caterpillars and tomato hornworms. You can easily handpick the pests away from the Dill plant. Aphids love Dill plant too, so you need to keep an eye on them. In the area of diseases, Mildew and Leaf Spot can be a problem, if you are practicing overhead watering.