Besides tasting great to us humans, bees and beneficial insects love dill too, gathering both pollen and nectar from its flowers. I love it with smoked fish and potatoes–but I digress. Dill is a great plant to keep honey bees happy and healthy, and to attract those beneficial insects into your garden.
It might seem strange to talk about dill (Anethum graveolens) as a flower, since we know it as an edible herb. But of course once it blooms it has hundreds of tiny yellow flowers organized into an umbrella-like shape. Bees and beneficial insects come calling. Dill is a popular host plant for many caterpillars/butterflies. Black Swallowtails especially like dill.
To keep “bad” bugs away from your garden or yard, try planting dill. It will attract the beneficial insects, who will then kill the “bad” bugs. See my post How to Keep the Bugs Away for more information.
Dill also benefits plants in the Brassica family, which includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. (And the ferny foliage of dill looks great against the thick cabbage leaves.) Tuck it in between plants in this family for both of them to be healthy and happy. Carrots, however, do not like dill. Neither plant will do well when planted next to each other.
This herb is super easy to sow directly in the early spring for summer flowers. Choose a full sun site with rich, well-drained soil. Since the mature stems are thin, I like to sow it thickly. A group of it looks gorgeous. Dill will grow to about 2-3′ high. The ‘Bouquet’ variety is a bit shorter and is good for containers or small areas.
In about 70-90 days after you sow the seeds, the plants will be ready with new seeds. Once they turn brown and are dry, you can shake the seeds over paper. The seeds can be saved for the next crop or used as a seasoning in soups and stews.
So plant enough dill for you and the pollinators. You can also make pickles.