If food magazines are any indication, herbs like dill are becoming even hotter than ever. And it’s no wonder—piling chopped dill on top of a salmon filet, topping salads with dill flowers, and mixing the herbaceous herb with cucumbers are sure ways to elevate your dishes.
Dill’s many uses in the kitchen mean it’s a must-have in the garden. And when you learn about the benefits this herbaceous plant can provide to other garden plants, you’ll be even more excited to nestle it beside other plants.
You may find companion planting helpful to get the most out of your dill plant. This involves pairing plants that provide benefits to each other.
We’re going to cover some of the best companion plants for dill as well as a few plants you should think about keeping this herb away from.
Read our article about the benefits of companion planting in general.
Before we get into what plants you should pair with dill, let’s explore the benefits that dill can offer other plants. And the benefits that other plants can offer to dill!
The best way to deal with pests in your garden is by preventing them entirely. Providing plants with an ideal environment, rotating crops, and maintaining a diverse ecosystem can all help keep pests off your plants.
When it comes to using dill as a companion plant, you’ll want to take a closer look at that last note. That’s because tiny dill flowers can help attract beneficial insects that keep some types of pests in check.
More details, you ask?
While some insects are bad guys that feed on your crops, there is another category of creepy crawlies known as beneficial insects. You may already know that pollinators like bees and butterflies are beneficial insects, but there are many other types as well.
One type is predatory insects such as ladybugs, green lacewings, parasitic wasps, tachinid flies, and more! These pests feed on “bad bugs” which helps keep their populations in check. In turn, your plants stay healthier.
The thing about many of these predatory insects is that different life stages eat different types of food. While the larval forms typically feed on pests, the adults often eat pollen or nectar.
That’s where dill comes in.
If you allow the plant to go to flower, the small flowers will attract and support the adult life forms of these predatory insects. And if the adults are already in your garden, they’re more likely to lay their eggs near problematic pests.
While a dill plant’s root system is a bit more robust than its lacy leaves, it isn’t exactly tough. That means the plant sometimes has a difficult time breaking through compacted soils and reaching nutrients that are deep in the ground.
Planting dill near plants with stronger and deeper root systems can improve your soil. The plants with stronger roots will break up compacted soil and also be able to reach nutrients that are buried further underground.
Dill is a relatively slow-growing crop that is often direct-seeding. That means that planting it with other crops allows you to get the most out of your garden space.
In general, you won’t begin harvesting the leaves until the plant is about six inches tall. However, dill takes about 50 days from the time it is seeded until it reaches this point.
Rather than planting dill by itself and waiting for it to mature, you can tuck it beside other crops that mature more quickly. After you harvest quick-growing crops like radishes or salad greens, the dill will have more space to continue to grow.
Keeping plants in the ground can not only help you get a bigger harvest out of your garden, but it can also help support beneficial soil microorganisms.
Many individuals state that dill plants can repel all sorts of pests, but there aren’t many scientific studies to back this up. One study reported that dill essential oil was better at reducing the growth rate of gypsy moths than neem oil.
As for dill actually repelling pests? The verdict is out. However, it certainly won’
Fortunately, dill plays well with a wide variety of crops. Many plants benefit from the flower’s ability to attract beneficial insects, and the plant’s small size means that it generally doesn’t crowd out plants.
That said, think about if you’re planning on growing dill for its herbaceous leaves, flowers, or both. You can begin to harvest the fragrant, frilly leaves when the plants are only a few inches tall, but when plants flower, they grow 2–4 feet tall.
While dill goes well with all kinds of food, a freshly harvested salad topped with a dill dressing is something special. And fortunately, dill and lettuce also grow well together.
Lettuce plants can benefit from flowering dill’s ability to attract beneficial insects like green lacewings, parasitic wasps, and ladybugs. These good bugs feed on common lettuce pests such as aphids, thrips, and cutworms.
If you have plenty of good bugs in your garden, bad pests populations are more likely to stay in check. That means your lettuce plants are more likely to stay healthy for you to harvest.
Another great thing about dill and lettuce is that lettuce doesn’t mind the shade flowering dill produces. In fact, these tender greens can love it!
Since most types of lettuce aren’t heat-tolerant, they can become stressed during the summer. However, planting them on the eastern side of taller plants like flowering dill can help protect them from the intense afternoon sun.
I like to plant lettuce and dill about a foot apart from each other to make sure each plant has enough space to grow.
If you’ve ever grown broccoli, especially late spring broccoli, you probably know that it attracts a wide range of pests. Cabbage worms and cabbage loopers can attack the plant’s leaves and leave them looking ragged. Plus, the plants are susceptible to attack from aphids, thrips, whiteflies, and other small critters.
Covering your plants with row cover can help protect them from pests. However, when the plants mature and grow tall, they can be difficult to cover.
One way to keep pests away from broccoli is by attracting beneficial insects like ladybugs and parasitic wasps to your garden by planting. Dill’s small flowers will provide food for the adult forms of these pests, and the larvae can feed on the pests.
Another reason why broccoli and dill can make good companions are their varied root systems. Broccoli has deep, strong roots, while dill’s roots are rather spindly and shallow.
Planting broccoli and dill together allows broccoli to reach deeper water and nutrients while dill takes up these materials from near the soil surface.
Onions are another crop that grows well with dill. Both plants have shallow root systems, which means they both benefit from frequent watering.
When dill goes to flower, it can also attract the adult forms of beneficial insects like green lacewings, tachinid flies, and parasitic wasps. The larval forms of many of these insects feed on onion pests like thrips and onion fly maggots.
That means your onion plants are more likely to stay healthy without the use of pesticides.
Since dill takes at least two months from the time you plant the seeds until the time it flowers, you’ll want to keep this in mind. If you want to have the flowers around when the onions are still small, you’ll need to plant the dill seeds before you plant your onions.
That said, herbaceous dill and onions can also make great companions! However, the dill will not attract beneficial insects until it begins to flower.
Since radishes and dill both take up a small amount of space, I find they make a great pairing. I like to plant a row of radishes between two rows of dill.
The radishes won’t outcompete the dill when the herb is still small and ready for harvest in about a month. As long as you plant the radishes at least six inches away from the dill, harvesting the roots won’t damage the herb.
With the radishes out of the ground, the two growing rows of dill have more space to expand. At this point, you have a few options.
You can allow the dill to grow for a few more weeks and then harvest the leaves. Or you can continue to allow the dill to grow until it begins to flower.
Once the dill begins to flower, you can plant more radishes on the exterior sides of the dill rows. The flowering dill will attract beneficial insects that feed on radish pests like cabbage worms and aphids.
Kale is another plant that can benefit from the dill flower’s ability to attract predatory insects.
As a brassica, kale is susceptible to attack from various pests. These include caterpillars like cabbage worms and cabbage loopers and sap-sucking pests like aphids and thrips.
Fortunately, there are natural predators for both of these types of pests. Parasitic wasps and tachinid flies can feed on the worms, while green lacewings and ladybugs can eat the smaller pests.
The adult versions of all of these pests feed on nectar and/or pollen found on dill flowers. That means planting dill in your garden can help keep kale pests in check.
Since dill takes a few months to produce flowers, you should plant it before you plant kale. However, this can be challenging in the spring.
Even if dill doesn’t flower, it can still be a good companion plant for kale, as long as you give it enough space. If you’re growing kale for mature leaves, plant dill at least a foot away from the dill.
While brassicas like kale and broccoli are susceptible to many pests, they’re not the only plant family that’s open to attack. Tomatoes are also open to attack by aphids, armyworms, and tomato hornworms.
All of these common tomato pests can be attacked by predatory insects. Ladybugs and green lacewings can feed on aphids, while parasitic wasps can lay their eggs in the caterpillars.
Planting dill in the garden a few months before you plant your tomatoes will give the plants time to produce flowers. The flowering dill will help attract predatory insects and protect tomato seedlings from pests.
If you plant dill about every two weeks, you will have a continuous supply of dill flowers throughout the tomato’s life. The flowers may help to keep beneficial insects in your garden and keep your tomato plants safe from pests.
If you can’t get enough herbs in your life, why not pair two favorites: cilantro and dill?
Both of these herbs mature at similar rates and require similar conditions to grow, which makes them a naturally great pair. I like to plant a row of cilantro next to a row of dill to keep these two great herbs in one spot.
Another great thing about cilantro and dill is that you can harvest them following a similar schedule, in a similar way. Once the plants are about six inches tall, you can cut the leaves about two inches above the soil surface.
After a few weeks, the leaves will regrow and be ready for another harvest. As long as the weather isn’t too hot, you can expect to obtain about three harvests off a single planting.
For a continuous supply of dill and cilantro, plant new seeds about every two to three weeks.
In my experience, just about any plant can grow well with herbaceous dill. However, once the plants begin to flower, they can shade out smaller and more sensitive crops.
If you have ample space in your garden, you should try to avoid growing these plants next to dill.
While cucumbers and dill are a natural pairing in the kitchen, they aren’t the best partners in the garden. That’s because the cucumber’s plant trailing form can easily overtake tender dill plants.
That said, dill flowers can help keep cucumber pest numbers in check. Plus, they’re a must-have addition to homemade pickles.
One way to grow cucumbers and dill together in the garden is to plant dill in a pot. This will help protect the tender plants from the cucumber plants and make for an easy harvest.
Since dill and carrots are in the same family, many people say you should avoid growing these two crops together. One of the reasons they state is cross-pollination.
However, most gardeners don’t have to worry about cross-pollination since this only occurs when both plants are flowering. And you harvest carrots before they begin to flower!
If you want to be extra cautious, you can avoid growing these two crops together. But in my experience, pairing them often turns out just fine.
Sprawling melons are another crop you may want to avoid planting directly next to dill.
Since melons like cantaloupe and watermelon have sprawling vines, they can overtake dill plants. These melons can spread out over six feet, so it’s best to leave ample room between your dill and melons.
As with cucumbers, planting dill in containers is one way to grow this herb closer to melons. You can also train your melons to grow up a trellis to conserve garden space.
As you’ve read above, dill is a great companion plant for a wide variety of plants. It attracts beneficial insects and doesn’t overwhelm other plants.
When you add dill to your garden, make sure to account for its flowering height if you plan to grow it for flowers.