If you notice your dill turning yellow, most likely it is because it is dying as a natural part of its life cycle. After flowering, dill plants die back, re-seed, and regrow.
If the timing is wrong for this, yellowing may be a result of overwatering or overfertilization. Too much of a good thing can ruin a plant! If your plants are well-fertilized and on a good watering schedule, other causes include a lack of sunlight or drought.
I grow a lot of dill, it’s my favorite herb and I add it to absolutely everything. Here are my tips on finding out what’s causing it to yellow.
Dill is one of the easiest herbs to grow. You may have heard it called ‘dill weed’ before, and like weeds, it can thrive in any condition once its basic needs are met.
It’s a great plant to grow for its many culinary uses. It's a great addition to salmon and potato salad, it’s amazing in a creamy tartar sauce, and, if you are into pickling, dill is about the most useful herb you can have at your disposal.
So, let's learn more about it and find out what’s stopping it from flourishing.
The Life Cycle of Dill
Dill is a biennial plant, it lives two years before yellowing and dying back. The plant prioritizes re-seeding in colder weather and its quick demise after flowering is known as bolting.
If undisturbed, you’ll see the flower heads brown and fall from the plant. These seeds grow into new plants after about 90 days.
So if your dill plant has flowered and the weather is now turning colder, your dill plant yellowing is not a sign of any ill health, and you can simply wait for your new plants to grow.
Extending Dill’s Life
If you want to extend your dill plant’s life to harvest more of the leaves from the plant, delay bolting by pinching off the flower buds as they appear.
Regular harvesting prevents flowers from forming and keeps the plant producing new leaves for a longer time.
If your plant isn’t bolting, here are some other reasons your dill might be turning yellow.
Overwatering or poor drainage can cause a build-up of moisture around the roots of the dill which can cause problems. The water stress will cause the dill to become yellow.
Dill only needs to be watered once a week, and you should leave it to dry out fully in between waterings. On a proper watering schedule, water stress may be caused by improper drainage.
Check the dill’s soil and pot. If the pot doesn’t have drainage holes, it can cause an excess of moisture to build up. The soil can also trap water around the dill’s root if it is too compact or heavy.
This will cause your dill to sit in boggy soil and can damage the roots easily. Plant dill in porous soil with plenty of compost and good drainage to avoid this problem.
As dill replants itself so frequently, it can be easier to allow it to regrow rather than trying to revive an already yellow plant. Once drainage issues are improved, the plant should thrive again.
Dill is a Mediterranean plant that can thrive in many different kinds of low-nutrient, sandy soil. Excess fertilizer can increase the plant’s nitrogen levels, which lowers the concentration of essential oils in the herb. This causes it to droop and yellow.
Adding an overabundance of nutrients to a plant that has developed without them tends to cause more damage than good. Stick to making sure the soil is well composted and to get a plentiful harvest from your dill plant.
Lack of Sunlight
As you would imagine with a Mediterranean plant, dill needs a lot of sun, with 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight needed per day. Without it, you will see signs of ill health in a yellowing plant.
There isn’t any substitute for this, and to recover the health of your plant you will need to move it to a position where it receives more sunlight, or remove and cut back anything around the plant that may be blocking too much light.
Dill needs to be in full sun, but this can sometimes cause it to dry out too heavily if watering isn’t regular and even. You will notice yellowing leaves with brown edges if the dill begins to dry out too much.
Evenly watering soil regularly is a good way to prevent this from happening. Soil with plenty of organic matter can hold moisture well, so it can provide hydration to the dill over time without saturating it.
In all other respects, dill is a fairly hardy plant that is resistant to pests and disease. If nothing above explains the yellowing of your dill plants, consider any recent changes in the plant’s environment.
Dill does not transplant well. It has long taproots that travel roughly 12 inches into the soil. These roots find it hard to reestablish once moved to new soil.
If you are considering transplanting dill due to issues with light or soil and it is still early in the season (before July) then it is usually a better idea to sow new seeds rather than transplanting the existing dill.
Frequently Asked Question
Want to know more about this amazing herb? Here are some other frequent questions answered.
Q: How big does dill grow?
A: Dill grows between 2 and 4 feet tall under good conditions.
Q: Why are my dill seedlings falling over?
A: Some seedlings grow too tall too quickly these leggy seedlings are usually a reaction to a lack of sunlight, as energy is directed into growing towards any light they can reach.
Q: Can I grow dill from the grocery store?
A: Yes! You can take cuttings from a grocery store dill plant and place them in water until they sprout. Each one can be planted and will turn into a whole dill plant.
Dill Turning Yellow – Conclusion
With enough sun, and without too much water or fertilizer, your dill plant should thrive and provide you with a tasty herb for pickling, sauces, and salads.
Due to its quick life cycle, environmental problems in dill are often best resolved by fixing the environmental problem and then waiting for dill to regrow. It is always best to avoid transplanting ill, and before July a better option is to just plant new seeds.
Remember that gardening skill is learned by making mistakes and then figuring out how to fix them. Hopefully, with some trial and error, you will find the optimal conditions to grow this wonderful herb in your home.