Dill Companion Plants | Good and Bad

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is an aromatic herb that is native to Mediterranean countries. Between summer and fall, dill boasts delicate yellow flowers atop its thin, leggy stems. Although mainly grown for its green, feathery leaves that have a subtle licorice taste, every part of the dill plant is edible from the seeds to the stems to the flowers. 

Not only does dill make a great addition to many culinary dishes but also boasts a variety of other practical applications. It has a number of medical and cosmetic applications and is also great at attracting pollinators and repelling pests. 

Dill is a fast-growing annual that is easy to maintain. Lots of plants make great companions to dill, especially other edible species. I have provided you with some of my favorite dill companion plants alongside helpful planting advice, to help make this process easier for you.

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is the practice of growing different plant species together in such a way they will mutually benefit one another. This technique was first used to grow crop plants as a natural way of increasing their yield. The success of companion planting has led to it becoming widely used across the globe for both crop and ornamental plants. 

Companion planting is ideal for gardeners who wish to utilize their growing space more effectively and produce happy and healthy plants in an organic way. Through strategically combining species, both the plants and the grower can reap the rewards.  

One famous example of companion planting is called the “Three Sisters” method and is used to grow beans, sweetcorn, and squash together. 

The beans fix nitrogen into the soil which can then be taken up by the sweetcorn and squash to aid their growth. The beans take advantage of the tall and sturdy sweetcorn, using it to climb up as they grow. The squashes’ large leaves shade the soil, helping to keep it moist and suppress the growth of weeds. 

Companion Planting Benefits

Companion planting makes use of the advantageous characteristics of certain species. Some of the main benefits that can be obtained through this method of growing are explained below: 

Improve Flavor: Certain companion plant combinations are known to improve the flavor of edible produce including fruit, vegetables, and herbs. For example, not only do tomatoes and basil taste great together in a dish, but also make excellent growing companions. Fragrant basil enhances the taste of tomatoes as they grow in close proximity. 

Manage Pests: Companion planting is great for environmentally conscious growers who wish to support the local ecosystem. Some companions have natural pest-repelling properties, meaning no harsh pesticides will need to be used. 

Highly scented plants such as onions, mint, or marigolds deter insect pests with their smell or even mask the scent of the main crop you are trying to protect. Other plants attract predatory insects that are often referred to as ‘trap crops’. The insects that they attract prey on pests, preventing them from feasting on the main crop. 

Save Space: Since companion planting relies on growing plants close together, it is a great method for those with limited space. For example, you can save space by interplanting tall, narrow plants among low, bushy ones. 

Attract Pollinators: The majority of the world’s food crops are pollinated by animals, mainly insects. By planting scented and colorful companions you can attract pollinators to your garden. They can help pollinate any crops you have as well as encourage biodiversity. 

Improve Soil Health: Companion plants with strong, deep roots like parsnips can help to break up the soil and prevent it from becoming waterlogged. 

Plants that belong to the Fabaceae family are nitrogen fixers. They take atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into a fixed form in the soil. Nitrogen is an essential element for plant growth, so this benefits neighboring plants. 

Considerations

Although many planting combinations can offer wonderful benefits, there are some pairings that simply don’t work. When selecting your companion plants, there are a number of factors you need to consider. 

A partnership will not be successful if both plants have opposite growing requirements. For example, a plant that needs alkaline soil to thrive would make a terrible companion for one that requires acidic soil. 

Trap cropping is a huge benefit that can be derived from companion planting. However, you need to think about what plants are susceptible to what pests. If plants are all vulnerable to the same insects, the chances of an attack are increased if they are grouped together. 

For landscaping in ornamental gardens, the aesthetic value of pairings is important. Consider if you want your chosen plants to complement or contrast with one another. By choosing plants with different blooming periods, you can extend the period your garden is in bloom.

Good Dill Companion Plants

Some of the best companions for dill are those which benefit from the pest-repelling properties of dill and thrive under similar growing conditions. 

Dill should be grown in a warm and sunny location where it receives between 6 and 8 hours of full sunlight. It prefers fertile, moist but free-draining soil. Ideally, the soil should be slightly acidic to neutral. Dill is hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11. 

Great companion plants for dill are listed here below: 

Vegetables and Herbs:

Asparagus: Dill attracts lacewings and ladybugs which prey on aphids, a major pest of asparagus. Dill has shallow roots whilst asparagus has deep roots, so they won’t be in competition with each other and therefore making asparagus a fantastic companion plant. 

Onion and other alliums: Similarly, to dill, onion gives off a pungent scent that repels pests including Japanese beetles and aphids. Both plants also make a great pairing in the kitchen. 

Broccoli and other brassicas: The scent of dill repels the pests of broccoli and also improves the health of brassicas that are grown nearby. Despite its bushy appearance, dill can easily be interplanted in the gaps between brassica plants to help save space.  

Lettuce: Dill is a great lettuce companion because its scent repels pests that nibble on the lettuce leaves. 

Corn: Dill’s strong fragrance entices predatory insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, and hoverflies that will feast on the insect pests of corn. 

Cucumber: Dill attracts parasitic wasps that will help control the population of cucumber beetles. If sown at the same time, dill and cucumber can be harvested together, which is handy for a lot of recipes since their flavors complement each other perfectly. 

Zucchini: The fragrance released by dill is great at repelling squash beetles and flea beetles, some of the main pests of zucchinis. 

Basil: Dill and basil have similar growing requirements and conditions so make great companions. Both also attract beneficial insects and repel pests. 

Chervil: Both dill and chervil offer very similar benefits, namely pest control. Planting them together will amplify their effects. 

Legumes: Dill deters insect pests from feasting on legumes whilst the legume positively influences the growth of dill. Legumes fix nitrogen into the soil which the dill can absorb and use for growth and development. 

Bad Companion Plants for Dill

Not all plants can be successfully grown together. Plants you should keep away from dill include: 

Carrots: Dill and carrots are both members of the Umbelliferae family. If planted together they can easily cross-pollinate, resulting in distasteful produce. Additionally, dill can stunt the growth of carrots. Both plants are also susceptible to carrot flies. 

Cilantro: Similar to carrots, cilantro belongs to the Umbelliferae family so can easily cross-pollinate. This would be an issue if you require your plants to self-seed or if you wish to collect the seeds for future use.

Tomatoes: Young dill will attract beneficial insects to your garden that can initially benefit your tomatoes. However, once dill matures and flowers it will inhibit the growth of the tomato plant. 

Pepper and other nightshades: Nightshades such as peppers and eggplants should not be planted near dill as the herb can hinder their growth. Mature dill releases a chemical from its roots that are harmful to nightshades. 

Lavender: Dill favors moist soil whereas lavender thrives in a drier environment. Dill grows a lot faster than lavender and may block out some of the sunlight, hindering the growth of lavender. 

Fennel: Both fennel and dill belong to the Umbelliferae family meaning they can cross-pollinate easily. This can lead to both plants tasting unpleasant. 

If you enjoyed this article, why not take a look at Companion Plants for Ginger? Simply click the link.

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Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.