How to Harvest Dill Without Killing the Plant? (My Best Tips)

Dill is one of those herbs that can either be loved or hated, mostly due to its fennel-like flavor. It is commonly used as a cooking spice in meat dishes, soups, salads, and pickles.

Additionally, the fresh fragrance can be added to some cosmetics and soaps. The part of the dill plant you use is the thin, feathery green leaves.

That’s why it becomes important to learn how to harvest dill without killing the plant, and that’s what I am going to discuss over the course of this article.

When harvesting dill or any herb, for that matter, there is only 1 overruling guideline that should be followed. Make sure you harvest it in a way that helps to encourage regeneration.

It’s as simple as that. In the case of dill, you should never trim more than ⅓ of the plant at a time. That’s only one method of harvesting your dill, though.

How to harvest dill without killing the plant 

Let’s look at how to harvest dill without killing the plant in a little more depth.

How do you know when dill is ready to harvest?

Generally, a dill plant should be ready to harvest around 4-8 weeks after planting. That is, of course, if it is grown under optimal conditions.

If you aren’t sure about judging by a time limit, the next best indicator is a dill plant’s height. They will be ready when they reach about 4-8 inches tall and stretch to around 2-3 feet wide. 

Does the dill regrow after cutting?

Dill will regrow after cutting as long as the cutting is done in a certain way. Firstly, if you want your dill to regenerate, you should always only cut ⅓ of the plant at a time.

Additionally, once you have cut that amount, it’s ideal to wait until the plant has completely grown back to the same height/size before planning to harvest again.

Does the dill regrow after cutting

This can usually take anywhere between 2-4 weeks to regenerate. It’s classified as an annual, so you can continue to harvest throughout its growing season.

Once it flowers, though, it’s done producing leaves. Dill can self-seed for the next year if grown in the right conditions. 

What are the Perfect Growing Conditions for dill?

Dill is a reasonably easy herb to grow but, like any plant, requires specific growing conditions for it to thrive. Knowing and understanding exactly what these needs are is crucial to the longevity of the plant and a bountiful harvest.

Let’s have a look at what dill needs to give you everything it has in return.

What are the Perfect Growing Conditions for dill

Weather Conditions

As a crop native to South-West Asia or South-East Europe, dill enjoys the warmer temperatures of a Mediterranean-type climate but can also tolerate colds.

Considering this herb has a stem and leaves that can be considered weak, ensuring that your plant is kept away from strong winds is extremely important.

The last thing you want is a dill plant that is forced to grow horizontally and ultimately die from heavy gusts.


Ideally, a dill plant is optimal for 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. Dill doesn’t prefer sunlight and/or shade, though. The preference lies more in the hands of the grower. It can grow to heights of 2-3 feet in full sun and 1-2 feet in the shade.

So it’s not as if it doesn’t grow; it grows bigger in the sun. It’s best to allow it access to the sun earlier but give it some shade as a respite as the afternoon sun scorches. 

Fertilizer and Soil Preparation

A dill plant doesn’t rely on consistent fertilization. It’s enough to feed it later in the spring with a 5-10-5 fertilizer blend. Generally, soil rich in organic matter has enough nutritional value for a dill plant.

If you can acquire some good quality compost to mix into the soil, your plants will thank you for it. Alternatively, sandy loam soil, which is well drained and slightly acidic, does the job just fine.

Space and Potting Condition

Considering dill can become quite busy, spacing them accordingly is essential. It’s generally best to leave 12 inches between each plant and aim to sow the seed about an inch under the soil.

Once they spread out, trim the sides to prevent them from growing into each other and keep the same planting distance.

Dill is pretty easy to grow in pots, but they grow a long taproot, so you need to ensure that the pot will be deep enough to allow for that.

For smaller plants, you can use something as shallow as 10 inches (although that’s not classified as shallow).

Larger plants will need deeper containers. A 5-gallon container minimum of 12 inches deep and wide would be ideal.


Dill grows best in temperatures around 70°F (21°C). Generally, late spring to early summer is optimal for them. However, they can also tolerate temperatures as low as 25°F (-4°C).

The other end of the spectrum is not ideal for a dill plant. Extreme heat will burn the leaves and dry out the roots quite fast.

Watering Schedule

Dill loves moisture but does not like to be flooded. In normal growing conditions (without excess heat and chills), a dill plant only needs to be watered once a week.

Aim to water your dill plant, so the soil surrounding it is moist at a depth of around 6 inches (15 cm). If unsure when to water, you can test the soil by sticking your finger into it.

If the soil is dry at a depth of 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm), it’s a sure sign that your dill is thirsty. A combination of underwatering and too much shade will dry the dill out and wilt.

In contrast, overwatering and poorly draining soil will cause root rot, and the plant will die if untreated.

Buddy Plants

Dill not only attracts pollinators, but it also repels multiple chaos-causing garden pests such as spider mites and aphids. It does this by attracting ladybugs that munch on those pests all day long.

Therefore, it is a great option to a place near other plants that can suffer at the hands of these little buggers.

Dill is a great companion plant for asparagus, basil, mint, cilantro, cucumber, onions, most Brassicas (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi), corn, and even lettuce, to name a few.

What are the Perfect Growing Conditions for dill

You’ve got a whole salad worth of fresh ingredients that can all help each other survive and thrive! Another great example of buddy planting is dill and tomato. Tomato helps dill by acting as a windbreak.

Dill assists tomatoes by repelling tomato hornworm and spider mites. It also invites praying mantis, also known to snack on pesky bugs.

When to Harvest Dill?

Dill can pretty much be picked at any time after they reach maturity. This is usually around 4-8 weeks from planting. Alternatively, it should have at least 5-6 decent sets of leaves growing before the first harvest.

When to Harvest Dill

It’s ideal for picking all your dills before the plant goes to flower. Once this occurs, it’s done for the season, and you’ll have to wait until the beginning of the next growing season to harvest again.

Additionally, cutting your dill before they flower is when the oil inside the leaves is at its most potent, giving the most flavor.

Pick them early in the morning once the due from the night before has dried up. This will ensure you harvest the best-tasting leaves.

How to Harvest Dill Without Killing the Plant?

Harvesting a dill plant without killing it is not as difficult as other more intricate growing herbs. The key is to prune it in a way that you ensure that it can always have the chance to grow back in full.

It’s very easy to chop that little bit too much or from the wrong area, which sees your plant stunt in growth. Let’s look at the best way to do it to encourage consistent regrowth.

The Right Time

Harvesting your dill at the right time is crucial to the overall flavor. Wait until it reaches maturity (4-8 weeks) or abundance (minimum 5-6 full leaves at 6 inches tall). Make sure you pick them between these signs and before they flower.

Harvesting right before the flower will produce leaves with the most potent oil concentration. Regarding the time of day, aim to pick your dill early in the morning when the dew from the night before has dried away.

This time of day also brings out the most potent oils. 

The Process

Offer a helping hand

When harvesting your dill plant, aim to give them a decent watering before you pick them. This will ensure that they recover from the harvest and have enough moisture to begin to regenerate straight away. 


Trimming the plant is super easy. Simply cut a stem just above a growth node. This is the point where multiple new stems are growing from. Doing this allows more growth points to regenerate instead of cutting a single stem where only one stem may continue to grow.

Never harvest more than ⅓ of the plant at a time.

Wait, rinse and repeat.

Once you have harvested all you need, you can take 2 paths. Either continue to harvest periodically until ⅔ of the plant is remaining or wait 2-3 weeks for it to completely regenerate to the point it was before you began. It’s best to wait until it regrows in full so it is strong and healthy, and the shock of a heavy harvest has subsided.

You can harvest dill as many times you see fit during its season as long as you allow it to continue to grow again after harvest. Once the plant begins to flower, the season is over for your dill plant. The flowers can be pretty handy, though.

You can dry them out and collect their seeds from replanting the next season. You can also eat the seeds! Additionally, they can be used as a pretty garnish for salads and even added into jars during your pickling routine.

The next season

The upside is that dill can reseed without any assistance. It sheds its seed by itself, and you’ll find that it just grows by itself the next season. Of course, this depends on a few things, such as the soil conditions, available nutrients, water, sunlight, etc. 

How do you use Dill?

You can use a dill plant for its leaves, seeds, or even flowers in many different ways. The seeds can be used to regrow or even as a dry herb.

The leaves add a fresh, almost fennel-like taste to a range of foods, including dips, salads, stews, soups, and most meats.

How do you use Dill?

The flowers can be a beautiful garnish for salads or while pickling. Once you have managed to pick the amount you require, you should always give it a good wash to remove anything that shouldn’t enter your body as you consume it.

This includes bugs, soil, and any other debris that may have managed to latch onto it. I usually leave the stems attached to the leaves until I have washed them to do less work.

If you remove the stems, you will have many smaller pieces to deal with.

Washing Dill

Washing dill is extremely easy and doesn’t require any fancy techniques. Simply rinse it under cold water and gently rub it as you do so to remove anything that shouldn’t be there.

After washing, it’s a good time to remove the leaves from the stems as you don’t use them for anything. 

Drying Dill

Once you have washed your dill, it’s time to dry it for use or storage. You can either put it in a salad spinner, tie it up at the base of the stems, or hang it upside down in a dry room for 4-5 weeks.

It all depends on whether you’re preparing for the long term and have time or want to use it immediately. 

Storing Dill

Storing your dill in the refrigerator will allow it to last up to 2 weeks. Simply wrap a bunch of leaves in some slightly damp paper towels. Add the towels to a plastic bag and place them in an airtight container. Store them in the fridge for easy access.

Alternatively, use the same steps but instead of storing them in the refrigerator, put them in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container and place them in the freezer. They will still maintain their taste after 3-4 months in the freezer. Any longer, and the potency will wane.

Frequently Asked Questions (fAQs)

How do you harvest and keep fresh dill?

Dill is an easy herb to harvest. Simply trim no more than ⅓ of the plant at a time and allow it to regrow to the same height before harvesting again. Then rinse with cold water, give it a whizz in the salad spinner and store it in the refrigerator. Wrap it between damp paper towels, and place it in a fridge-safe plastic bag, tucked inside an airtight container. This will give you up to 2 weeks of fresh dill goodness.

Can you harvest dill once it flowers?

Once a dill plants flowers, it will stop producing the dill leaves you can eat. This usually occurs around late summer to early fall/autumn. At this point, though, you can harvest the flowers to use as a pretty garnish, dry them out and collect the seeds to either cook with or regrow more dill whenever you choose. The seeds will last 4-5 years if stored in a cool, dark, airtight container.

How long does a dill plant last?

A dill plant grows for 1 season (early spring to late summer), but if the plant’s geographical location has optimal growth conditions, the season can be prolonged. Furthermore, a dill plant can reseed itself. This means it will shed its seed, and the dill will pop up next season without human help.

What can I do with too much fresh dill?

If you have a lot of dills left over, you can freeze them. It can be washed, dried, wrapped in damp paper towels, added to an airtight freezer-safe container, and placed in the freezer. It will keep its taste and potency for around 4 months. Alternatively, pickling is another way you could use your dill stockpile. Dill is often used in this process.

What do you do with dill stalks?

Even though the stalks and stems may be too thick to use in cooking, you can put them to good use. You can use them when pickling, add them to a bouquet garni or even stuff a slice of larger meat or fish. The flavors will be just as amazing this way.

Do I have to replant dill every year?

Dill is a self-seeding annual. It grows and then dies during its season but drops seed toward the end of its lifespan. The seeds find their way into the soil and grow new dill the following season. 


Dill is one of the simplest herbs to grow and harvest. The only thing that needs to be kept in mind is to not harvest more than ⅓ of the plant at a time. Let it regrow and then harvest again. It’s that simple.

Washing, drying, and storing are also super easy. We hope this article has helped you understand what it takes to harvest dill without killing it! Happy growing!

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