Dill is an easy to grow herb cultivated for culinary purposes. While dill is an annual, it readily self-sows and will generally make a return the successive spring. Every part of dill, the stems, leaves, flowers and even the seeds are edible. So what special care does dill need, if any? Should you prune dill? If so, does it make for more bushy herb plants? Keep reading to find out if you should prune dill and, if so, how to trim a dill plant.
How to Make Dill Plants Bushy
Dill (Anethum graveolens), by nature, is delicate with lacy frond-like leaves that can grow up to 2-3 feet in height. For this reason, it may need staking, especially when planted alone in the garden. Groupings of dill plants, however, hold each other up and don’t require staking.
If you have grown herbs before, then you are familiar with pinching them back, either as you use them in recipes or to pinch back flowers. You’re probably also familiar then with the fact that pinching back herbs often results in bushy herb plants. Does this work with dill? Is cutting back dill plants how to make dill plants bushy?
How to Trim a Dill Plant
You can grow your own dill by sowing the seeds straight into the garden after the last frost free date for your area. Cover the seeds with ¼ inch of soil. Because dill is such a feathery herb, it can be grown close together and, in fact, as mentioned above, will benefit from this mutual support.
Don’t plant dill near its cousins fennel and coriander, as they will cross-pollinate, resulting in hybrid seeds that won’t have a true flavor. Dill attracts both ladybugs and lacewings, which at first you might not think is such a good thing. A plant that attracts insects? Ladybugs and lacewing larvae, however, like to eat aphids, so planting dill near your other herbs and veggies can act as a natural pesticide.
Once dill is established, it is a fuss free plant. It has long roots, which minimizes the amount of watering you need to attend to. Also, dill needs no additional fertilizer. Keep the area around the dill free of weeds, especially during the first month of growth.
Otherwise, the only chore needed is cutting back the dill plants. There is no great mystery here; simply use kitchen shears to snip off the dill leaves and add them to your latest culinary creation. You can begin using dill a few weeks after seeding. Pinch out the top buds on the dill to keep the plant from getting too leggy or tall. This will make for a bushier plant by encouraging additional leaf growth.
Collect dill seed after the plants have flowered and the blossoms are dry. Once the plant has gone to seed, it won’t produce any more leaves, which is another good reason to pinch the top buds and lengthen the harvesting season.
Fresh dill can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. You can also dry the leaves and seeds and store them in an airtight container for several months. Dill leaves can be frozen too, but the flavor is much diminished.