‘Dill’ is derived from the Norse word ‘dilla’, meaning ‘to lull’ and the plant has been used medicinally since the Middle Ages, often to treat digestive problems and diseases. Chill with dill! In this blog, we’ll be talking about everything related to growing dill indoors, from basic facts, supplies, setup, and steps to grow, care for and harvest it.
Dill sprouts in 2-3 weeks. They can be harvested from Month 3+ on.
Dill requires an equivalent of 5+ hours of direct sun [DLI of 15+ mol/m²/day].
Growing dill plants indoors is beginner friendly. You’ll sprout, thin, and harvest.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Ways to Grow Dill Indoors
Growing Dill Indoors Using Soil vs Hydroponics vs Microgreens
Grow Dill Indoors Using Soil
Dill plants don’t do well in moist soil conditions. The roots are not accustomed to being too wet and will rot in boggy conditions. On the other hand, if the soil dries out completely the roots will die back and the plant won’t recover. This can catch you off guard because the plant’s not very expressive (its leaves don’t wilt) so it will look fine right up until it dies.
Grow Dill Indoors Using Hydroponics
Dill, as mentioned above, doesn’t do well in moist soil conditions. Having said this, we found a way to make growing dill using hydroponics work. Check out our bottle garden kits that include this unique plant!
Equipment Needed for Growing Dill Indoors Using Soil
We prefer using a Ceramic Self Watering Planter filled with a free-draining potting mix that self-regulates to keep the soil on the drier side, but with a little more consistent moisture (and means no watering guesswork for you). Careful of wick-based self-watering planters with Dill - as they tend to be too wet.
To set one up:
- Fill up the planter with dry soil from the bag, gently tamping down the top.
- Dump the soil into a large mixing bowl and add water until the soil is moist, but not sopping wet (about ½ Cup)
- Mix in 1 tablespoon of the Balanced Blend Plant Food.
If you are using a regular pot instead, it should be a little bit bigger (at least 4"" / 1 pint and will need drainage holes to prevent it from being overwatered. Let the top of the soil dry out between watering.
Growing Dill Indoors as Microgreens
Dill can definitely be grown as microgreens. In fact, most herbs can be grown as microgreens. In addition to the much shorter time to harvest (in days, not months), they also have a distinct taste and have a lot of benefits to the human body.
Click here to learn more about the different types of microgreens (herbs being one of them), or grab a copy of our eBook to learn more about all the different ways you can grow dill (and more!) at home.
Care and Maintenance of Dill Indoors
Lighting for Growing Dill Indoors
Like all edible plants, Dill plants need lots of light to grow and develop good flavor. Sunlight is excellent for plant growth (and free!) and you might be lucky enough to have a spot that’s got the 5+ hours of direct sun they need. Even with a bright window, it’s unlikely that you’ll have enough natural light in the winter so we recommend a grow light for anyone who wants a constant supply of flavorful produce.
For an introduction to grow lights, head over to our post on grow lights for indoor gardeners. We’ve also got a buying guide for screw in types, but to keep things simple in this guide, we’ll just provide directions for the 24W Screw in Bulb by Sansi, which we think is a good middle-of-the-road option.
How bright should your grow light be?
Dill plants need the equivalent of 5+ hours of direct sunlight [DLI of 15+ mol/m²/day] to grow their best. In order to provide an equivalent amount with a grow light, it needs to be pretty bright! The 24W Sansi bulb should be placed 6 inches away from the top of the plant. This will give your PPFD (the standard measure of brightness) of 500 μmol/m²/s.
How many hours per day do your Dill plants need under a grow light?
Dill plants are known as “long-day”. When they sense over 12 hours of light per day, they’ll start the end of their lifecycle and work on making seeds. We want to keep them in an earlier stage so we can keep harvesting the leaves, so we recommend setting up a timer to leave it on for only 10 hours per day.
What is the Right Dill Germination Temperature?
Dill Plants Grow Faster in Warmer Temps
Dill plants are called “warm-weather crops” and will speed up their metabolism when temperatures are warmer. On the other hand, if things get too hot they’ll wilt and become prone to disease. Ideal temperatures are around 70°F but anything between 60 and 90°F grows well.
Water and Humidity
Herbs such as dill thrive on an adequate amount of moisture but can suffer if they’re waterlogged, so make sure to water them just enough, especially if you’re using soil. To avoid your dill being waterlogged, make sure to use a pot with drainage, or just use self-watering pots, as mentioned above.
Nutrients and Fertilizers
Dill likes to start with nutrients that are equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (with NPK numbers like 10-10-10). For this Balanced Blend we recommend: Dr Earth All Purpose
Once they are growing, it’s better to use plant food that is high in nitrogen (with NPK numbers like 10-5-5). For this Herb Blend, we recommend: Joyful Dirt All Purpose
Moving Your Dill Plant Outdoors
Dill mostly thrives in warm temperatures, as we talked about above. So we suggest moving your dill plant outdoors only when the temperature is warm enough. To learn more about how to grow your dill outdoors, check this out. (coming soon!)
Timeline and Steps on How to Grow Dill Indoors
Best Setup for Dill Plants
Below is the best setup (and a very easy one!) for growing your dill plants indoors. You’ll need:
Ceramic Self Watering Planter (preferred) or pot that is at least 4" / 1 pint.
At the start: Balanced Blend. This should be equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (with NPK numbers like 10-10-10).
Ongoing: Herb Blend. This should be high in nitrogen (with NPK numbers like 10-5-5).
A strong grow light that can give the equivalent of 5+ hours of direct sun [DLI of 15+ mol/m²/day].
Starting your Dill: Seed vs Cutting vs Nursery Plant
New Dill plants can be started from seed, propagated from an established plant, or purchased live at many garden centers. We prefer to sprout from seed or propagate from a stem cutting, as it results in plants that are adapted to your growing conditions and limit the chances that you accidentally bring home pests.)
How to Plant Dill seeds Indoors
Dill grows quickly from seed. Plant 3 sites in a 4" / 1-pint container. In larger containers, space sites 3" apart. For each site plant 2 seeds 1/4 inches deep. Keep the soil warm ( 60-70°F, ideally 65°F). Sprouts typically appear in 14 days but can be as quick as 10 days or as long as 21 days depending on your conditions.
Propagating Dill: How to Clone from a Stem Cutting
If you’ve already got a Dill plant you love (or a friend does!) you can easily “clone” it with just sharp scissors and a clean glass of water. First, cut a couple 6” shoots of new growth (avoid anything woody). Next, remove the lower leaves, so the bottom half is just stem. Place in a glass of 3” of water, making sure the cut leaf spots are underwater.
Place the glass on a bright windowsill and change the water every few days. In a couple of weeks, roots should emerge and you can transplant them into your container. While using additional rooting hormones won't hurt, it’s not necessary with Dill plants.
- Cut 6” section of new growth
- Remove leaves halfway and place them in the water on a sunny window sill
- Wait 7 days for a few ½ inch roots to form and carefully transplant into it final container
How to Transplant Dill
Live starter plants give you a big jump start on your first harvest. When you’re in a garden center - pick the bushiest plant available (tall and lanky ones will be weak growers) and give it a good inspection for pests. Leaves should be dark green without holes, spots, or curled edges. A best practice is to actually “quarantine” your plant for about a week after bringing it home to make sure it's free and clear of ride-on pests.
Ensuring it’s pest and disease-free it’s time to transplant your seedling into its final home.
- Remove some soil from its final planter - leaving enough space for the bottom of the seedling to be just higher than the soil surface.
- Hold on to the base of the stem with one hand, and turn the pot over while gently pulling the seedling. Giving the pot a few squeezes can help dislodge it.
- Place in its final container and fill around it with soil so that it’s tight, but not compacted.
Week 2-3: Check for Sprouts
You could see seedlings in as little as 10 days (though 14 days is more typical). If it’s been 21 days and you still don’t have any sprouts, it’s likely that your setup is too cold.
Week 3: Thin Your Seedlings
Thin your planter to only have 1 seedling per site - leaving the largest plant. If you are using the recommended planter (at least 4" / 1 pint) this will mean you’ve got 3 plants after thinning. By getting rid of the smaller seedlings, you’re allowing the biggest and strongest one to flourish by reducing its competition for water, food, and space.
If your seedlings are under 1 inch, stretching out, or folding over, it’s likely that they don't have quite enough light.
Week 8: How to Prune Dill
You’ll notice how all the stems and leaves of Dill grow from a single, central point (called radial growth). The plant puts out new leaves in the center and pushes old leaves outward, getting bigger and bushier over time.
Pruning and harvesting are one-in-the-same with Dill. Once the plant at least 3 separate stems coming from the base take one of the outside leaves and cut it close to the base (½” above is fine). It’s good to leave at least 2/3rds of the plant left to regrow. If you only want a tiny amount of herbs, you also can clip the top of an individual stem – just be sure to leave some leaves on that stem, otherwise it won’t grow back.
Month 3+: How to Harvest Dill
Cut the stem clear to the base - only cutting what you can use fresh. Each time you cut, new stems will come in to replace them - kind of like mowing the lawn.
How to Use Your Freshly-harvested Dill in Cooking
Dill’s feathery herbs are commonly used around the kitchen to spice up many types of dishes. They can be used in many ways such as:
- Added as a garnish to soups
- Spicing up your pickles
- Toppings or added flavoring for bread and other dishes
Check out some more of our favorite dill recipes here.
How to Preserve Dill
There are several ways to preserve or keep your herbs fresh, and here are just some of the easiest and the ones we recommend the most:
- Lazy person technique. It involves keeping the fresh herbs in their original packaging and simply storing them in the fridge.
- Storing the herbs in a glass of water inside the fridge. You can do this by cutting the end of the stem of your herb, filling a glass jar or cup with water, and placing your herb inside. Almost like a vase or bouquet of herbs!
- Keep in a glass of water under natural lighting.
- Wrap loosely in a damp paper towel.
- Freeze them herbs! Yes, you can freeze fresh herbs such as dill to use at a later time! All you need are some ice cube trays and a freezer, and you’re all set.
Learn more about how to preserve and keep your herbs and dill fresh here.
Month 6+: End of Life
Once your dill plant is mature, it’ll decide that it’s time to make seeds & die off. Delay this by clipping flower stalks as soon as you see them. It’s best to catch them as early as possible.
If you’d like to learn about the dozens of other herbs, fruits, and vegetables that you can grow indoors then grab a copy of our free eBook below.
Best Dill varieties to grow inside.
There are 13 popular varieties of dill, and we have picked out the 4 best grown indoors for you:
Particularly a good variety to grow for nice looking bunching at the market table, and works well in containers or smaller herb gardens.Amazon
‘Compatto’ is a compact variety with blue-green foliage and a bold, aromatic taste. Leaves are ready to harvest in just 40-50 days. It’s the perfect size if you’re looking for a container herb.Super Seeds
The best of both worlds, Fernleaf Dill offers a compact option for indoor growing and providing months of fresh herbs for your favorite sandwiches, soups, and fish dishes.Urban Leaf
Considered a “bunching” variety, fragrant leaves mature in 40-60 days. Works well for container growing.Johnny’s Seeds