Growing Dill: Tips for success in herb cultivation

Dill is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese, iron, and calcium. [Courtesy]

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a flavourful herb belonging to the celery family (Apiaceae). It is native to the Mediterranean region and Southern Russia but is now cultivated in many parts of the world, including Kenya.

The entire dill plant is edible, including its leaves, stems, and seeds, and it’s commonly used in various cuisines around the world. Dill is also valued for its medicinal properties and has been used traditionally for its digestive and calming effects. It contains compounds that may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.

According to, Dill is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese, iron, and calcium. Farmer Caleb Mungai from Muranga farms Dill, among other herbs like mint and rosemary. He gives simple rules and guidelines while farming Dill.

Select a suitable location

Dill thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. Choose a location in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.

Prepare the Soil

Dill prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Amend the soil with organic matter such as compost to improve its fertility and drainage. “It is always advised to conduct a soil test, then amend the soil as recommended, this way you will be sure you are headed in the right direction,” said Mungai.


Dill can be grown from seeds or transplants. If planting from seeds, sow them directly into the garden bed after the danger of frost has passed in the spring. Plant the seeds about a quarter inch deep and 18 to 24 inches apart, as dill can grow quite tall.


Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, especially during the germination period.

“Once established, dill is somewhat drought-tolerant but will still benefit from regular watering, particularly during dry spells,” he said.


If you have sown dill seeds densely, thin the seedlings once they have reached a few inches in height, leaving about 8 to 12 inches between plants to allow for proper growth. Dill does not typically require heavy fertilisation. However, you can side-dress with compost or a balanced fertiliser once or twice during the growing season to promote healthy growth.


Depending on your location and the variety of dill you are growing, you may need to provide support for the tall stems to prevent them from flopping over, especially in windy conditions.

Pest and Disease Control

Dill is generally resistant to pests and diseases but keep an eye out for common garden pests like aphids and caterpillars. “If necessary, use organic pest control methods such as handpicking or insecticidal soap,” said Mungai.


Dill leaves can be harvested once the plant has reached about eight inches in height. Snip off the outer leaves as needed, leaving the inner leaves to continue growing. For dill seeds, allow the flower heads to mature and turn brown on the plant, then cut them and hang them upside down in a paper bag to dry. Once dry, shake the bag to release the seeds.

Succession Planting

To ensure a continuous harvest throughout the growing season, consider succession-planting dill every few weeks.


Most farmers farm dill for the export market. Locally, dill is common in supermarkets and herbs and spices shops. A piece (one leaf) goes for Sh20, while 100 grams at Sh120. 

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