Weed plant turning yellow

Identifying Cannabis Plants Problems – Bonza Blog

Identifying Cannabis Plants Problems:

  • Nutrient Deficiencies
  • Diseases
  • Pests and Bugs
  • Environmental Conditions
  • Other Problems
  • Identifying Is Part of Solving Plant Problems

Cultivating cannabis is fun. For some people, growing itself adds to the experience of its use. However, during its journey from seeds to mature plants, problems may occur. For example, growers may encounter nutrient deficiencies, diseases, pests and environmental stresses. While some are minor issues, they could become catastrophic unless taken care of early.
Hence, in this article, we cover most of the likely problems cannabis growers may experience.

  • Nutrient Deficiencies
  • Diseases
  • Pests and Bugs
  • Environmental Conditions
  • Other Problems

It is a given that the best solution is to prevent one from occurring in the first place. Regardless, when a problem arises, knowing how to identify becomes as much crucial as providing a solution. As such, the goal of this article is to arm growers with the rudimentary knowledge to deal with anything that becomes a hindrance to a successful grow and harvest.

Nutrient Deficiencies

A common occurrence in cultivating cannabis or any plant for that matter is a deficiency in nutrients. Fortunately, the signs are easy to see. As such, adjusting is not at all unmanageable.

Nutrient Deficiencies – Image powered by Loudclouds.co


Boron plays a role in different plant processes including maturation, seed production, and protein formation.

Signs of Boron Deficiency

  • Uppermost leaves grow
  • Takes a long time for leaves to mature
  • Leaves appear to be twisted or curled
  • Stems become hollow and rough
  • Roots grow slowly; secondary roots shorten and swell


Cannabis plants need copper for photosynthesis, respiration, and metabolism. Although rare, deficiency if not addressed may be fatal.

Signs of Copper Deficiency

  • Younger leaves become affected first
  • Discoloration is noticeable on the tips of the leaves
  • Weird bluish metallic glint
  • Flowers in male marijuana plants cannot mature
  • Female plants show abnormal stigmas
  • Roots grow unusually large and start to decay


This nutrient is essential in keeping the cell wall tissues of the plants intact. Aside from this, it also takes part in root development and protein synthesis. Without enough calcium, the plant will show distorted growth.

Signs of Calcium Deficiency

  • Leaves turn dark green or have necrotic spots
  • New leaves are small and distorted
  • Flowers or buds develop slowly
  • Branches are weak
  • Develop slimy root rot


Iron facilitates the production of chlorophyll – the green pigment that absorbs light and works with carbon dioxide to make plant food.

Signs of Calcium Deficiency

  • Young leaves may turn yellow, but veins are still green
  • Minimal bud growth, twisted stems
  • Roots may be smelly, brown, and mushy


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Magnesium prompts the growth of cannabis leaves. As such, it also helps in growing healthy veins.

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

  • The part between veins becomes yellow
  • Edges of the leaves look burnt while some have brown spots or a patchy pattern
  • The plant withers or sags


Manganese plays a role in nitrate assimilation. Once disrupted, the plant starves because of its low capacity to use nitrates in creating protein.

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

  • Leaves become pale
  • Some show interveinal chlorosis
  • Spots on areas between veins
  • Growth is reduced or stunted


Molybdenum converts nitrate into ammonia to aid in generating protein. As it is essential in plants, protein affects the overall plant growth.

Signs of Molybdenum Deficiency

  • Discoloration on the leaves: orange, red, or pink on the edges
  • Apparent changes begin in the middle of the plant and moves upward


Nitrogen is a component of chlorophyll. It is the compound needed by plants to make sugars from water and carbon dioxide. With less nitrogen in the plant’s system, the plant exhibit signs of starvation.

Signs of Nitrogen Deficiency

  • Leaves start to turn pale in the lower part of the plant
  • Deficiency becomes noticeable as it moves upward
  • It starts at the bottom of the plant and shows yellowish leaves


Phosphorus is needed when the plant reaches its flowering phase. It plays a role in the growth of roots and stems. It also plays a role in photosynthesis in which it converts light into energy. Lacking in phosphorus leads to a low yield.

Signs of Phosphorus Deficiency

  • Grows tiny leaves
  • Mosaic pattern – some show burnt or dying leaf tips, changes happen from the bottom and move upwards
  • Leaves turn a darker shade of green, purple, and blue colors


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Potassium is responsible for many functions. It handles the regulation of carbon dioxide absorption in plants. Aside from that, it activates enzymes. If plants lack potassium, growers may have a hard time dealing with multiple problems related to growth, root development, and seed conditions.

Signs of Potassium Deficiency

  • Leaves look scorched and brown
  • Chlorosis
  • Large spaces between the nodes and that indicates stretching of the stems
  • Plant is characterized as being too tall


Sulfur takes care of the development of plant proteins during its vegetation state. If sulfur content is depleted, the process is compromised and takes a toll on the plants.

Signs of Sulfur Deficiency

  • Newer leaves turn yellow, orange, or red
  • Leaves turn fragile and slim
  • Woody stems will keep getting taller, and the plant won’t expand
  • Buds may start to die, and the plant’s growth will be stalled in the flowering stage


Zinc is involved in producing chlorophyll. It is also a part of the growth hormone auxin. Without these two, the plant will have trouble growing.

Signs of Zinc Deficiency

  • Old and new leaves turn yellow
  • Tips of the leaves exhibit distorted colors
  • Space between the newer nodes is limited
  • New leaves may get tangled

Nutrient Burn

Lacking in one or more nutrients can be catastrophic to cannabis plants. However, having too much can also be problematic.

Signs of Nutrient Burn

  • Tips of the leaves are burnt; have yellow or brown
  • Leaves curl


Diseases – Image powered by Growingmarijuanablog.com

Cannabis plants, like people, are also susceptible to diseases. Here are some of the common ones that growers should be aware of:


Many growers ignore the growth of algae because it seems harmless. However, if the growth becomes excessive, then it can be fatal to the plants.

Signs of Algae

  • Leaves become yellow and brown, with dark-colored spotting
  • Roots clump together; turns dry and brown

Bud Rot

Gray mold or bud rot is a fungal disease capable of wiping out an entire garden. It thrives in cool, humid, and temperate climates.

Signs of Bud Rot

  • Stems turn brown and soft
  • Stems may rot and lose rigidity; forms a brownish gray mass which gets covered by fungal spores

Leaf Septoria (Yellow leaf Spot)

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Fungal pathogens cause leaf septoria. These pathogens are brought about by warm weather and rain. More specifically, it targets cannabis plants grown outdoors.

Signs of Leaf Septoria

  • Lower leaves are affected
  • Spots are white or grayish brown or yellow, circular lesions present

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew comes from different types of fungi. Because of the characteristic “white powder” spreads on the leaves of the plant, it is easy to spot.

Signs of Powdery Mildew

  • White powdery substance found on the plant’s green leaves
  • Leaves become pale in color
  • Damp smell coming from buds
  • Entire plant turns to yellow or brown


Fusarium – Image powered by Thejointblog.com

A type of fungus that lives in soil, fusarium has the potential to kill cannabis plants.

Signs of Fusarium Wilt

  • Little dark spots on the lower leaves
  • Turns yellowish brown
  • Tips turn upward and wilting occurs

Fusarium Root Rot

  • Stem swells and breaks open; possible collapse
  • Roots turn red

Verticillium Wilt

A fungus can also cause verticillium wilt. The plants that attract this disease are the ones that are in grown in rich soil or those with stressed roots.

Signs Verticillium Wilt

Leaves found at the base start to yellow while others become a grayish brown color
Stem turns brown especially the part close to the soil

Root Rot

Root Rot – Image powered by Growweedeasy.com

Pythium or root rot is the disease that targets the root of the cannabis plants. Due to underlying conditions, the roots of plants may already be weak. As such, the opportunistic disease takes advantage of that.

Signs of Root Rot

  • Leaves have burnt brown spots
  • Yellow or white colored leaves
  • Leaves fall off
  • Roots are off-colored, soft, and watery
  • Root external layer falls off
  • Rotting smell coming from the roots

Damping Off

Due to unequal distribution of nutrients because of complications brought on by diseases, damping off occurs. It results in weak stems that are soft and mushy. Unless rectified, it may cause the plant to topple and die.

Signs of Damping Off

  • Leaves and stems have a yellow or brownish discoloration
  • Lesions between nodes, red and brown cankers
  • Plant collapse

Pests and Bugs

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Pests and bugs are also common, and growers need to do everything that they can to stop them. As these are likely to interfere with plant growth, it’s best to take preventive measures against these creatures.


Ants are insects that are quite attracted to sugar. Often seen lurking in the kitchen, they do not affect your plants directly. However, in the garden, it can cause damage to the root systems of plants. Not only that but they also signal underlying problems like aphid infestations.


These are pale and tiny pests in plants that are so small that they are easy to miss. Some growers fail to see them because they hide under the sides of cannabis leaves. But these little creatures can cause problems by draining the plants of essential nutrients.


For outdoor growers, this animal is a friend and an enemy. First, birds are quite helpful in getting rid of pests like caterpillars and worms. But they can also turn out to be the enemy if allowed to touch plants during germination. That is because they happen to love eating seeds.


Caterpillars just love to eat plants. These creatures have a voracious appetite and like aphids can go unnoticed until cannabis leaves are all gobbled up and gone. There is also a different type of caterpillar that likes to stay inside the plant and eat the interior. Growers need to be meticulous, or they might end up with hollow and dead plants.

Cats and Dogs

Canines bring destruction by digging the soil of the garden. Aside from that, urine and fecal matter are two other things that may cause harm such as harboring other pests and parasites. The last thing that growers want is a garden full of urine, poop, and creepy crawlies wreaking havoc.


Cutworms – Image powered by Forum.sensiseeds.com

Cutworms can destroy seedlings. Naturally stealthy, it is difficult to catch because growers can only see it in action at night.

Crickets and Grasshoppers

Crickets and grasshoppers are everywhere. From flower gardens to farms, there is no escaping these terrible pests. Even worse, they have quite a big appetite for plants. Unless controlled, they might end up eating everything in the garden.


As adorable as deer are, they can also be a menace. It so happens that these herbivores are attracted to cannabis plants. Unless the garden is fenced, they can come roaming freely and feed on the plants.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats attack the stems and roots of the plants. It first starts with the lower part of the stem before making its way towards the root system. Keep in mind, any trouble with the root system of the cannabis plant may result in growth abnormalities.

Gophers and Moles

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Growers should be aware of gophers. They attack the root system of plants. Fortunately, it does not appear to target cannabis plants. Moreover, they help its growth by eating other insects or critters.

Leaf Miners

These little miners try to mine the plant’s tissue. They feed in the inner plant tissue found on the upper and lower parts of the leaves. Growers know if there are leaf miners because of the squiggly lines that appear on the leaves.


Mealybugs don’t do much damage in smaller populations. However, if it gets out of hand, then that is when the trouble begins. It leaves white and gauzy balls on top of leaves while others will have blotchy patches.

Rats and Mice

Rats and mice practically eat anything in front of them if left without a choice and that includes cannabis plants. As these rodents are very particular about human presence, most of the time, they always get their way by sneaking in when plants are unattended. It would be best to set up a preventive measure against these pests.

Snails and Slugs

Outdoors, snails and slugs are enemies of cannabis plants. They like to linger around and leave a glistening trail, and that is how most growers notice them. Unless taken care of, they feed on plants.

Spider Mites

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Spider mites can multiply quickly, and that may be the biggest challenge for the garden. They affect the survival of the plant by taking out nutrients and chlorophyll.


Thrips primarily attack the flower of cannabis plants. When the infestation is not controlled, the plants are not likely to mature. Moreover, they can also cause even more damage to the garden by spreading other plant diseases.


Whiteflies are small flying insects that live on the undersides of the plant. They move quickly and can spread diseases, too.

Environmental Conditions

Environmental conditions can be conducive to the growth of cannabis plants, or it could be stressful. Here are bits and pieces of information that growers want to know of to prevent these external factors from stunting plant growth or worse, killing them.

Environmental Conditions- Image powered by Leafly.com


Most cannabis plants thrive in dry and warm climate. However, when the heat is excessive, it can become fatal. Heat stress is noticeable when there is a change in the color of the leaves. For instance, they turn yellow and curl inward. As such, it is best to have ample shading. Inside a tent, then growers can raise the grow light.

Humidity and Temperature

Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. As plants breathe the air, they may be getting air that has the right or excessive amount of moisture.

Temperature is also related to humidity. It may directly affect the amount of water vapor the air can sustain. Furthermore, it may even cause the growth of molds and mildew.

Careful monitoring, thus, is vital to not only the survival of the plants but also to optimal growth.


Sudden changes in the climate can cause undue stress on plants. It may result in abnormalities and other complications. As much as possible, it would be best to have emergency plans in case of severe weather.


Soil problems can be challenging. It is quite true for those who grow outdoors. Because soils differ, some may or may not be suitable for growing cannabis in its various stages. Hence, growers need to ascertain the type of soil before even cultivating. If it is not suitable, the right ones can be purchased.

Other Problems

Besides nutrient deficiencies, diseases, pest and bugs, and environmental condition, growers can face other challenges or problems.

Other Problems – Image powered by Bigbudsmag.com

Airy and Loose Buds

Having airy and loose buds causes various problems. One is that plants will not be able to mature properly. Thus, it results in having less THC production. Moreover, they’ll appear flaccid as they’re not as dense as normal buds.


Stem stretching can pose a big problem. What happens is that it can significantly impact plant growth. In this case, it can lower the yields or create weak stems.


Hermaphroditic plants have male and female genitalia. Ideally, the plant is originally female or male. Unfortunately, some factors affect the plant causing it to transform into a hermaphrodite. Either it is genetic or most likely, due to environmental stress.

Plants Will Not Flower

When plants don’t flower, of course, there is an underlying issue. It may be related to light cycle. Growers usually identify it first, so it’s easier to solve the problem.

Knocked Down Plant

Knocked down plants need to be in a secure place. They have to have the necessary support to keep the stem intact and solid. Placing the plants in the right spot makes a lot of difference.

Hard or Soft water

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Using hard or soft water in the plants have their advantages and disadvantages.

Hard water contains high doses of calcium and magnesium. It might sound appealing, but it has its downside. Too much calcium may block absorption of other nutrients. In soft water, it doesn’t have a lot of minerals. Sometimes, there’s even not enough at all.

The trick here is to observe for signs of deficiency and adjust accordingly by feeding the right nutrients.

Over- and Under-Watering

Over-watering and under-watering have adverse effects on the plants. Too much or too little water can damage the leaves, stems, and roots of the plants. Good growers use strategies help them prevent over-watering or under-watering their plants.

Identifying Is Part of Solving Plant Problems

As mentioned, growing cannabis is a part of the fun that adds to the cannabis use experience. However, problems arising can be challenging. At times, the damage caused can not only be disheartening or discouraging but also cause one to quit cultivating.

Like many things too, all it takes is an investment in time and effort learning. With the requisite knowledge, these problems are not only detected but also can be prevented from occurring in the first place.

Why Do Cannabis Plant Leaves Turn Yellow?

When most people picture cannabis plants, they imagine the leaves a nice shade of green. Sometimes, however, the leaves of the cannabis plant may turn yellow. This typically indicates some sort of issue. Given the time and money you have invested in growing your plant, it pays to be aware of the most common reasons your cannabis plant leaves have turned yellow and what to do about it.

When Yellow Leaves Are Normal and No Cause for Concern

Before exploring the potentially harmful causes of yellowing leaves on cannabis plants, keep in mind that sometimes yellow leaves are normal and should not worry you.

The very first sets of leaves that your plant grows will likely turn yellow and then die when more start to grow. It is natural for cannabis plants to lose their baby leaves.

It is also common to have a handful of yellow leaves at the point that your cannabis plant is ready for harvesting. As long as you know the yellowing is not from any of the other causes on this list, it is normal.

There may also be natural variations or mutations that involve some yellow on cannabis leaves. This is not usually a concern.

Incorrect pH

One of the most common reasons that the leaves on the cannabis plant turn yellow is due to incorrect pH levels, specifically at the roots. This can be the case regardless of your growing media, including hydroponics, coco coir, and soil. If the pH is not within the ideal range, your cannabis plant will find it too hard to absorb nutrients, leading to a nutritional deficiency. This means that the wrong pH can lead to a lack of nutrient absorption even if the nutrients are right there.

If you are growing in soil, aim for a pH between 6 and 7. If you are growing in coco coir or using hydroponics, aim for 5.5 to 6.5. In addition to yellow leaves, the wrong pH can lead to burning around the leaves’ edges, patches, stripes, and spots, or just general nutrient deficiencies. If you notice those symptoms, check the pH. From there, use one of the many products on the market that helps you adjust the pH of your plant and media.

Incorrect Temperature

Yellowing on the cannabis plant leaves can also occur when your plants are not in the ideal temperature range. You may spot burnt or yellow leaves by the light or just general yellowing by the upper leaves. Some leaves will also likely start curling up around the edges.

Avoid this cause of yellowing cannabis leaves by making sure the area for the plants is not too warm or too cold. Do not let it drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) and make sure you can comfortably keep your hand in the area with the plant without it getting too warm. Ideally, you do not want the temperature to go over 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day or 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. You can also reduce the risk of hot spots with good air circulation.

If your cannabis plant gets too much or too little water, this can also lead to yellowing leaves. You should also look out for deficiencies and droopiness. If the leaves are fat, you likely overwatered and they are swollen. If they seem thin and papery, this indicates under-watering.

Sometimes, the overwatering will be because you physically gave the cannabis plant too much or too little water. To minimize that risk, place the plant in a container of the appropriate size. You should also ensure the plant has proper drainage so the water does not accumulate. You can tell you overwater your plants if they droop after the watering. You can tell you under-water them if they perk up when watering.

Burns From Light

In the case where only some of the leaves on your cannabis plant turned yellow, this may be from a light burn. You can recognize this cause by the fact that the leaves are still hard to remove, even when the entire leaf is dead. Additionally, the light burn will disproportionately affect the leaves that are right by your grow light.

A light burn may cause cannabis plant leaves to yellow if the grow light is set up too close. It can also happen if you change the bulbs. To resolve the issue, move the grow lights or the plants so they are further apart.

Lack of Light

The opposite of the light burn can also cause cannabis leaves turning yellow, specifically in the case of seedlings. When the shell cracks, the leaves will be round and yellow. The green color arrives when the plant gets enough light.

Give your seedlings more light to correct the issue if the leaves remain yellow or do not get darker than pale green. You should also notice that the seedlings seem tall but still have small leaves and there is extra space between each leaf. Resolving this cause of yellow leaves in cannabis plants is as simple as giving the seedlings enough light.

A Deficiency of Nitrogen

Another potential reason for cannabis plant leaves to turn yellow is if the plant does not have enough nitrogen. In this case, you will notice the color is somewhere between lime-green and pale, with yellow leaves by the bottom of your cannabis plant. The yellow leaves, in this case, will be soft and may fall off easily.

Your cannabis plants may experience nitrogen deficiency if you have kept them in the same container for a few weeks or months. In the case of hydroponics and coco coir, the deficiency will occur if you do not actively add nitrogen since those medias do not have any naturally.

To overcome nitrogen deficiency, you can just give your cannabis plant a nutrient that is cannabis-friendly and adds nitrogen. In the case of soil-grown plants, consider transplanting it into a container with new soil.

A Deficiency of Iron

In the case of iron deficiencies, your cannabis plant will only experience yellowing of the newest leaves. These new leaves will grow in fully yellow. Interestingly enough, that yellow usually turns green, starting on the edges of the leaf and working toward the center.

Iron deficiencies are typically due to incorrect pH. Cannabis plants have minimal iron requirements and most water should be able to meet that requirement. This means you should start by checking the pH and correcting it if necessary. If that does not work, give the plant a nutrient containing iron.

A Deficiency of Magnesium

Yet another deficiency that can lead to the yellowing of the cannabis leaves is magnesium. In this case, the entire leaf will not turn yellow. Instead, just the area between the leaves’ veins will turn yellow. This will be more common on the leaves closer to the bottom of the plant.

In nearly every case, incorrect pH leads to magnesium deficiency. It may also be from using soft or heavily purified water. If you notice this type of yellowing, check the pH and correct it if necessary. If the plant still shows magnesium deficiency symptoms, use a Cal-Mag supplement.

Keep in mind that you do not always need to correct this type of yellowing. You could mistake a magnesium deficiency for plants simply getting older. In that case, it will affect just a few limp leaves by the bottom of the plant.

With so many nutrient deficiencies causing cannabis plant leaves to yellow, you may feel tempted to overdo it with the nutrients. Avoid this temptation because giving your plants too many nutrients can also cause yellowing of the leaves or other issues. Be careful, as the long-term nutrient burn cannot always be fixed. If you notice the problem early, however, you can just flush the plants using pure water to minimize the issue.

In the case of yellow on leaves that only affects a few buds and seems to occur overnight, bud rot might be the culprit. This situation leads to yellowing on just select leaves on the largest buds. The yellow leaves typically fall out easily and you may spot mold grown inside the cola by the leaf’s base.

Bud rot can happen due to cool temperatures, a lack of circulation, or higher levels of humidity. Avoid it by keeping humidity below 50 percent RH during the flowering stage and the temperature above 60 to 70 Fahrenheit at night. You should also ensure your plants get enough air circulation. If the plants get too bushy, defoliate them a bit as well to provide more air to all leaves and buds.

The Presence of Pests

There is a range of pests that can cause the leaves of your cannabis plant to yellow from stress. If this is the case, you will also notice an overall lack of vigor in the plant, bite marks, spots, and may actually see the bugs.

Prevent pests from turning your cannabis leaves yellow and damaging the plants by never adopting clones or visiting another garden unless you fully trust the grower. If you give your plants fresh air, make sure to keep out bugs with a screen.

Don’t Remove All the Yellow Leaves

Since there are various solutions to get yellow cannabis leaves healthy again, there is no reason to prune yellow leaves when you spot them. This is a particularly bad idea for younger plants. Instead, check for the above causes depending on the appearance of the leaves.

The Takeaway

If the leaves of your cannabis plants start to turn yellow, do not take drastic measures. You should be able to resolve the issue easily; you just have to figure out which one of several possible causes is to blame.

Yellowing Dill Plants: Why Is My Dill Plant Turning Yellow

Dill is one of the easiest herb to grow, needing just average soil, plenty of sunlight and moderate moisture. Problems with dill plants aren’t too common, as this is a hardy, “weed-like” plant, which thrives in conditions more tender specimens can’t tolerate. However, yellowing dill plants can be an indication of incorrect cultural care, improper site or even insects or disease. Yellow leaves on dill can also indicate the end of the season. If you are asking, “why is my dill plant turning yellow,” read on for more information about common causes.

Why is My Dill Plant Turning Yellow?

We all know dill as a main flavoring in canned pickles, as a fresh herb for flavoring fish and for its seeds as a culinary accent to a variety of recipes. This plant is thought to be from the Mediterranean and has a host of health benefits as well. The slender, hollow stems and airy foliage combined with the umbels of bright yellow flowers also enhance any garden bed. When dill weed turns yellow, you need to find the cause or potentially lose all that great potential.

If it is late September to October, you might as well ask why is the sky blue. Yellowing

is a normal process when cold temperatures enter the picture and the plant begins to die back. Dill is an annual plant that sets seed at the end of the season and then finishes up its life cycle. Cold weather will signal that the growing season is over, and once the seed is set, the plant has done its work and will die.

Yellowing dill plants are also commonly caused by incorrect cultural care. The herb requires 6 to 8 hours of bright sunlight. Lack of light can cause some dulling in leaves. There really can be too much of a good thing. Excess fertilizer causes salt build up in soil so dill weed turns yellow. Dill prefers well-draining soil that is not too fertile.

Yellow Leaves on Dill from Disease and Insects

Dill is not especially bothered by insects but there are always a few bad actors. Primary among the pests of dill are aphids. Their sucking feeding activity causes the plant to lose sap and the leaves will stunt and yellow. You may actually see the insects, but their presence is also easily recognized by the honeydew they leave behind. This sticky substance encourages the growth of sooty mold on leaves and stems.

Carrot Motley Dwarf is a disease transmitted by the aphids that further yellow leaves with red streaks and stunted growth.

Downy mildew is another fungal disease that causes yellow spots on the upper surface of foliage and white cottony growth on the undersides.

Other Problems with Dill Plants

Dill can become weedy, so it is best to control the growth of the plant while it is young. Cut off seed heads before they form to prevent over seeding. Most insect pests avoid dill, but it is great for attracting beneficial insects.

Cutworms may pose a problem to young plants and root knot nematodes will attack the root system and cause overall plant yellowing.

If you are growing your dill for the airy foliage, harvest it early in the season, as hot temperatures force the plant to bolt, producing the thick, hollow stems and ultimately the flower head.

Happily, in most areas, dill is relatively trouble free and easy to manage. Long season gardeners can even hope to get a second crop of dill when seed is planted in mid-summer.



Dill, Anethum graveolens, is an herbaceous annual in the family Apiaceae grown for its leaves which are used as a herb. Dill is a very aromatic plant with an erect growth habit. It possess branching stems and fine, soft, fibre-like leaves which are arranged into an open cone and are blue-green in color. The plant produces yellow flowers on umbels which can be up to 16 cm (6 in) in diameter. Dill can grow up to 1.5 m (5 ft) in height and is an annual plant, surviving only one growing season. Dill may also be referred to as garden dill and its origin is no known, although it is believed to be native to the Mediterranean.
Dill flower umbels
Dill flower umbels
Dill seedhead
Dill flower umbels
Dill stem and flowerhead
Young dill plant
Dill foliage
Dill cultivation in Montana, USA
Dill foliage ‹ ×


Dill leaves are used fresh or dry as a culinary herb. The leaves may be used to make tea. The seeds of the plant may be used as a spice.


Basic requirements Dill grows best in full sun in temperatures averaging 16–18°C (601–64°F). Dill can be grown in a range of soils but the plants will grow optimally in well-draining sandy loam which is rich in organic matter and has a pH between 5.6 and 6.5. Dill should be planted in an area that receives 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight every day and that is sheltered from strong winds which can easily damage the hollow stalks of the plant. Planting Dill does not transplant well and it is therefore recommended to direct seed. Seeds should be planted in early Spring after all danger of frost has passed. Sow seeds 1.9 to 2.5 cm (0.75 to 1.0 in) deep, allowing 30 to 38 cm (12-15 in) between plants and 45 cm (18 in) between rows. It is common for dill to be grown between other plants such as onions. Stagger plantings by 2 to 3 weeks for a continuous harvest. Seeds usually germinate within 7 to 21 days depending on the soil temperature. General care and maintenance Dill is a hardy plant and can tolerate temperatures down to -3.8°C (25°F) once established, Dill plants require little water, usually irrigating once or twice a week is sufficient and one light application of fertilizer late in the Spring should be enough to sustain the plant for the entire growing season. If the plant is not sufficiently sheltered from wind, the plants will benefit from staking to prevent the hollow stems from snapping. Harvesting Dill is ready to harvest approximately 90 days after planting. Foliage can be harvested anytime but is most flavorsome just before flowering. To harvest the leaves simply cut the leaves at the stem or cut the stem a few inches from the soil line. Seedheads should be harvested 2-3 weeks after bloom before the seeds begin to change color. The seedheads can be hung up to finish drying.
CABI Crop Protection Compendium. (2008). Anethum graveolens datasheet. Available at: http://www.cabi.org/cpc/datasheet/3472. . Paid subscription required. Masabni, J. & King, S. (2010). Dill. Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. Available at: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/vegetable/files/2010/10/E-325-Easy-Gardening-Dill.pdf. . Free to access Oakley, A. & Drost, D. (2009). Dill in the Garden. Utah State University Cooperative Extension. Available at: https://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/Horticulture_Garden_2009-03pr.pdf. . Free to access

How to Grow Dill for Garden Beauty — and Pickles

Dill is easy to start from seed and grows best when planted outdoors. Choose a location with full sun — at least eight hours of direct sunlight per day — and well-drained soil. If your soil holds water thanks to heavy clay, dig organic matter such as compost into the top few inches to help drainage.

Sow seeds directly into the soil, placing them ¼ inch deep and about 1 to inches apart in rows 6 inches apart. Depending on the variety, dill grows 1 to 3 feet tall, so thin (remove by pulling or cutting) the seedlings so they are 12 to 24 inches apart. It may seem cruel, but thinning allows each remaining plant to grow best.

To keep a continual source of fresh dill on hand, consider succession planting. Start by sowing just a few seeds from the packet at first, then a few more each week during the growing season.

You don’t need to plant dill in rows. If you want dill plants to self sow, plant them in clumps where the seeds can drop and grow the following year.

Proper watering is essential for growing dill. Keep the soil evenly moist while seeds are germinating. Once dill plants start growing, they need about 1 to 2 inches of rain or additional water to thrive.

Most herbs, including dill, don’t need additional fertilizer. But if you wish, you can apply a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer once or twice during the growing season. Use a liquid fertilizer mixed with water or scratch a time-release fertilizer into the ground at planting time.

When temperatures rise, dill tends to “bolt” and send up flower stalks so it can set seeds. Once this annual herb flowers and sets seeds it dies, so you can keep the plant going for one growing season as long as you remove the flowers.

Dill Weed and Dill Seed

Dill is not considered a weed, but some spice companies and people refer to the dill plant as dill weed, perhaps because of the feathery foliage. Dill weed is fresh or dried foliage. Dill seed is produced from the pretty yellow umbels of flowers.

Growing Dill in Pots

Even if you don’t have an outdoor garden, you can still keep pots of dill on a sunny balcony or deck. Choose a container at least 12 inches deep; dill plants grow with a deep taproot. Remember to keep the spacing of 12 to 24 inches in mind, depending on the width of the container.

Dill doesn’t perform to its full capacity in an indoor herb garden, but it is worth starting a few seeds indoors to harvest as soon as the plants begin to form leaves. Succession planting in an herb garden is worth doing indoors, too.

How to Use Dill

Fresh dill weed begins to droop as soon as you clip it and begins losing potency within a couple of days. Use it as soon as possible. You can store fresh dill in the refrigerator with stems tucked into a container of water or with leaves wrapped in a damp paper towel. The bright flavor is great with potatoes, vegetables, fish, salads, soups, and stews.

Fresh dill flower umbels look beautiful in a mixed bouquet, but don’t be surprised if the plants begin to wilt after a few hours. They’re perfect for quick bouquets clipped just before a dinner party.

You can freeze fresh dill by placing it in water in ice cube trays. Drop the cubes into cooked dishes that can handle the additional moisture.

Although the flavor becomes muted, dill leaves and seeds are easily dried for later use. To dry the leaves, hang an entire plant upside down in a warm, dry location until you can strip off the foliage. Or, snip the leaves while fresh, place on a plate, and allow them to air dry.

To harvest dill seeds, cut the flower stalks after the yellow blooms have faded but just before the seeds begin to ripen and loosen from the umbel. Place a small paper bag with a few tiny holes for ventilation over the entire flower head, hang the plant upside down in a cool, dry location, and wait for the seeds to fall and gather in the bottom of the bag. Store the seeds in an airtight glass container in a cool, dry, dark place.

Using Dill for Pickles

Consult pickle recipes for specific directions on making pickles and food safety. In general, add two to five clean, fresh dill seed heads to each batch. Dried dill can be used, but it may not provide as good a flavor.

  • By Deb Wiley

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