Have you ever noticed how certain plants just seem happier when they’re grown next to specific other plants? Maybe the basil perks up when the tomatoes ripen, or the cabbage stays pest-free near the onions. There’s a reason for these little plant friendships – it’s called companion planting!
Dill as a Companion Plant
Companion planting is all about strategic plant matchmaking. Certain plants help each other thrive through pest control, attracting pollinators, and better utilization of space and soil nutrients. Dill is known as an excellent companion plant in the garden.
With its delicate, fern-like leaves and little yellow flowers, dill is so much more than a tasty herb. This multi-talented plant repels unwanted pests, draws in beneficial insects, and inhibits the growth of certain plants. With proper companion planting, dill creates optimal conditions for itself and many of its neighboring crops.
Ideal Companions for Dill
When it comes to dill’s friends in the garden, there are some clear winners that make perfect pairings. Take a look at some of the best buddy crops for reaping the benefits of planting dill:
Broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts – all the brassicas benefit from having dill nearby. Cabbage loopers and worms turn up their noses at dill, so these pests tend to steer clear of cole crops grown alongside the herb. Plant dill around the perimeter of your brassicas to create a protective barrier against the bugs that love to feast on cabbage family members.
Ever dealt with a spider mite infestation on your cucumbers? Not fun! Luckily, dill has your back. The aroma and oils of dill naturally repel those tiny destroyers, creating ideal growing conditions for healthy, happy cukes. Make sure to plant plenty of dill among your cucumbers and melons to reap the spider-mite deterring rewards.
Corn thrives with dill! This giant grass attracts a host of beneficial insects that keep pests under control. By planting dill, you’ll draw in ladybugs, lacewings, hoverflies, parasitic wasps, and other hungry predators. The result? Your corn can grow tall and strong without fear of hungry insects feasting on it.
In addition to corn, leafy greens also benefit from having dill nearby. The beneficial predators attracted to dill help control aphids, slugs, and other critters that can plague lettuce plants. As a bonus, the ferny leaves of the dill provide partial shade and a living mulch that helps lettuce plants retain moisture in hot weather. It’s a win-win companion match.
Here’s a heavenly match made in the garden – dill and onions or garlic. Onions’ strong scent deters aphids which may flock to dill’s fragrant blossoms and foliage. In return, dill draws in pollinators and predatory beneficials to facilitate healthy onion bulb production. It’s the perfect pest control partnership.
The relationship between dill and tomatoes is a bit more complicated. Young dill plants attract pollinators, repel certain tomato pests, and actually facilitate healthy tomato growth. However, once dill matures and flowers, it can inhibit tomato growth and production.
The solution? Plant dill and tomatoes together while both are young. Then, be sure to prune back the dill before it blooms to prevent stunting your tomatoes. With this balanced approach, you get the pest protection of dill without stunting fruit production.
Vegetables to Avoid Planting Near Dill
While dill makes fast friends with many plants, there are certain vegetables that do not make ideal companions. Dill’s strong personality can overpower more delicate crops. Here are some veggies that are better off without dill nearby:
Believe it or not, carrots and dill are closely related. Both are members of the Umbellifer family. When planted in close proximity, they may cross-pollinate. This can result in stunted carrots with an overly-bitter flavor. For seed-saving purposes, dill and carrots should be kept 1/2 to 1 mile apart to prevent cross-contamination!
Obviously, such isolation is not practical in most home gardens. To be safe, plant carrots away from dill or remove flowers before they intermingle.
Similar to carrots, fennel is another umbellifer that can easily cross with dill. This will produce hybrid seeds that grow into plants with an unpleasant, bitter taste. Either keep good distance between fennel and dill or prevent them from flowering at the same time.
Peppers prefer to grow solo rather than next to dill. Mature dill can inhibit pepper growth and production through competition for sunlight, nutrients, and water. Give those sweet peppers their own space away from dominating dill plants.
Like its nightshade cousin peppers, potatoes also grow best without dill encroaching on their territory. Mature dill can outcompete potatoes, leading to stunted tuber growth. Make sure to separate dill and potatoes to avoid this companionship clash.
Eggplant is another nightshade veggie that would rather grow alone than neighbor dill. Given adequate space and resources, eggplants produce an abundant harvest. But when dill steals their sunlight and soil nutrients, you’ll end up with limited eggplant fruits. For the best yield, keep these two crops apart.
With its compact growth and beautiful flowers, lavender makes a gorgeous addition to any garden. However, this ornamental herb prefers growing solo rather than neighboring dill plants. Too much shade and competition from the taller dill foliage can inhibit lavender growth and oil production. Give lavender its own designated space.
Other Companion Planting Considerations
When planning your garden layout, there are a few other factors to consider besides ideal pairings:
- Aesthetics – Choose companion plants that offer visual interest and contrast. For example, combine tall, ferny dill with low-growing bushy plants.
- Spacing – Make sure to space all plants appropriately to allow for ample air circulation. Crowding causes fungus and pests.
- Trap Cropping – Some gardeners plant dill as a “trap crop” to lure pests away from nearby vegetables.
- Crop Needs – Although dill may stunt nightshades, you can plant it while young and remove before maturity. Adapt pairings to crop needs.
With smart planning, you can maximize the benefits of dill as a companion plant!
Maximizing the Benefits of Dill
To get the most out of planting dill:
- Prune regularly to prevent bolting, which reduces leaf production. Frequent trimming encourages dense foliage.
- Allow some dill plants to fully mature and flower. The blooms attract pollinators and predatory beneficial insects to control pests.
- Use young leaves for cooking. Mature leaves and seeds have the strongest flavor for pickling.
- Ensure adequate space and soil nutrition to prevent competition between mature dill and more delicate plants.
With the right growing conditions, dill generously gives back to the garden through pest control, pollination, and culinary flavor.
When it comes to companion planting, dill is one of the most versatile herbs. Thoughtful pairings with favored companion crops enables dill to give back to the garden through pest control, beneficial insect attraction, and efficient use of space. On the flip side, planting dill near inhibited vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, and carrots can limit production and flavor.
With smart planning to maximize the benefits of dill while avoiding competition with more delicate plants, this aromatic herb can boost the health and yields of your entire garden. Get those dill companions planted and let the benefits begin!