Growing Dill Indoors in 5 Steps
Native to the Mediterranean region of Europe and Asia, the name comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "dylle" or "dille," which means "to lull or soothe," probably named so for its gas-relieving properties. Dill is technically a perennial, however it is short-lived, and therefore is generally treated as an annual. It's harvested for its leaves, which are commonly used in soups, salads, and on fish, and for its seeds, which are used for flavoring and pickling.
Growing dill indoors is relatively easy and yields results quickly; its leaves are typically ready for harvest within six to eight weeks.
Step 1 — Plant Seeds
The best time to plant dill inside is between October and early spring.
Plant dill in 6 to 8 inch pots with drainage holes, placing your seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in a well-draining, compost-rich soil. You may need to add sand or perlite to be sure your soil will properly drain after watering. Dill grows best in soil with a pH level between 6 to 7.5. If you are planting in a long container that runs along your window sill, plant seeds about 9 inches apart. You can sow about 4 inches apart, and then thin to 9 inches after they come up.
Step 2 — Place in Sunlight
Mediterranean herbs like dill are sun-lovers. If there is no spot in your home where dill will get six hours of sunlight, use grow lights for 12 hours a day. Fluorescent grow lights should be placed about 8 inches above the plants, while high-intensity lights like sodium lights should be several feet higher than your herbs. Most home growers use fluorescent lights, as they are much cheaper.
Step 3 — Feed and Water
When growing in containers, herbs should be fertilized every six weeks with a half strength liquid fertilizer or fish fertilizer. Although dill is drought-resistant, it will grow better if watered regularly. Water until soil is moist and don't water again until soil is dry.
Step 4 — Stake Plants
Since indoor dill is likely to grow tall, you may need to stake if your dill reaches 10 inches tall or starts to droop. Many gardeners plant a dwarf dill like "Fern Leaf" when planting indoors, which stops growing at about 18 inches, compared to 24 or 36 inches like standard varieties.
Step 5 - Harvest
Leaves will be ready to harvest six to eight weeks after planting. Once you see flower buds forming, leaf production will cease; trim the leaves from the stem base. About two to three weeks after blooming, seed buds begin to ripen. Cut off the stalks just before seeds ripen and turn a tan color. Hang the stalks upside down, and tie a plastic bag with tiny holes poked in it around the seed head. Seeds will fall into the bag as they ripen more.
If you don't have use for the seed, just cut the plant down to a couple inches when the first leaves are ready. Your plant should grow back in another eight weeks.