How Much Light Do Dill Seeds Need to Germinate?

Not every plant grows in the same way. While some seeds don’t need any light to germinate, others need quite a bit. You often can’t tell from the seed or the plant, as even plants that require a lot of light once they grow may sometimes need darkness to germinate. 

So, where does Dill fall on this list? Dill seeds need about five to six hours of sunlight per day to germinate. Though you can provide fluorescent light if you are willing to keep the light on for most of the day. 

Dill isn’t the only plant that needs light to germinate, either. While most seeds do better with darkness, about one-third of all commonly grown plants need a bit of light to germinate. This is why it is important to check all plants’ growing conditions before starting germination. 

How To Grow Dill From Seed

When growing Dill from seed, you generally want to plant the seeds no more than ¼ inch (0.6 cm or 6.35 mm) down into the soil. You will want to ensure the plants are also about 2 inches apart (5 cm). 

However, you can plant a couple of seeds into each hole to ensure that some grow, and you can separate them later. Generally, about 3 seeds per hole is recommended. Dill seeds can be planted in a pot or directly into the soil outside if you live in an ideal environment.

If you are planting outside, planting the seeds about 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30.5 cm) apart will give the plants the space they need. Dill doesn’t do well with transplanting, so if you want your Dill to grow in the garden, it is safer just to plant them there. 

It often takes Dill seeds about five to ten days to germinate once they have been planted, so you won’t have to wait too long before starting to see results. If you live in a colder area or don’t get that much sun when you plant them, you may have to wait two to three weeks to start seeing results, so don’t immediately assume the worst. 

Is Dill Hard to Grow?

Dill plant
Dill is considered relatively easy to grow. Even though it doesn’t handle transplanting well, it grows fast and needs little outside regular plant care. For this reason, it is considered relatively low maintenance. 

However, if you want to have your Dill grow as much as it can, it prefers specific conditions. 

For light, Dill plants prefer having a lot of direct sunlight. Six to eight hours of light is ideal per day for Dill. While they can grow under partial shade, they won’t be as sturdy or grow as fast. 

For soil conditions, Dill prefers soil that drains well and is a little acidic, usually around a pH of 5.6 to 6.5. However, besides good drainage, Dill doesn’t care about the soil. This has caused many people grief as their Dill gardens expand as the plants spread out with little thought for what else they have planted.

Dill can handle droughts without much harm, but they prefer having about an inch (2.5 cm) of water a week. They don’t enjoy overhead watering much, which increases their chances for fungal diseases, so watering at the soil level is considered a better option if you can. 

While your Dill doesn’t need fertilizer, getting the right kind can improve flavor and the number of oils in the plant. Usually, manure or vermicompost is best. Vermicompost is the compost produced on a worm farm. 

Do Dill Seeds Need Light to Germinate?

Dill seeds need light to germinate properly. Planting them too far down can cause problems with your Dill’s growth. Never plant your seeds below ¼ of an inch (0.6 cm or 6.35 mm) below the soil.

If you don’t have much worry about pests or wind, like when you are planting indoors, you can just place the seeds on the soil instead of burying them. 

If you are planting your Dill indoors, ensure your plant is still getting enough light. Five to six hours of sunlight daily or 12 hours of fluorescent light daily provides them with the light they need to grow. 

Does Dill Need Darkness to Germinate?

Dill is different from many other plants. Where most seeds need to be planted a bit deeper, so they get proper darkness to germinate, Dill and a few other plants like celery, lettuce, and petunias enjoy having light to germinate instead of darkness. 

Either way, once your seeds start to sprout, they will need to be given light, so always keep an eye on your plants as they germinate to make sure you are ready to transplant them to somewhere better after their leaves grow. 

Do Seeds Germinate Better in Dark or Light?

For most seeds, dark is better. Some seeds are even harmed by getting too much light while they are trying to germinate. 

Some plants that prefer darkness when it comes to germination are:

  • Calendula
  • Centaurea
  • Gazania
  • Nemesia
  • Primula Sinensis
  • Delphinium

How Can Seeds Germinate in Total Darkness?

dill seeds
Seeds are designed to germinate in the dark. This is because they need the carbonic acid gas that forms in the dark. Light will decompose the carbonic acid. Plus, the sunlight causes oxygen to be expelled and carbon to be fixed. 

In simple, non-chemical terms, the seed itself will harden. With a harder seed, the plant is unable to break free of its casing, and the plant is unable to grow.  

Additionally, plants get their energy from the sun via leaves. Any part of the plant that is green has chlorophyll in it, which is what converts sunlight and a few other components into glucose for energy. 

Before a plant sprouts, there is no way for the plant to get energy from the sun, so there isn’t much need for many plants to be in sunlight until after they start growing. Instead, there is an endosperm in the seed full of nutrients that allow the plant to grow until it can get energy from the sun and establish its roots. 

Though we say most seeds need darkness to germinate, the truth is that about two-thirds of all seeds we traditionally grow in our homes and gardens need darkness, while the final one-third need at least a little light. 

So while it is a majority, a significant amount of plants still need light, especially common garden plants. 

Do Herbs Need Light to Germinate?

Not all herbs need light to germinate, but some do. For some herbs, the sunlight encourages germination. For these plants, you want to plant them closer to the sun with only a thin layer of soil. 

For other herbs, you want to ensure they have a good amount of soil on them to help protect them from the light and give them the darkness they need to grow. 

If you buy seeds from a store, sometimes the packet will tell you if the plant needs light or not to germinate. However, they will often just tell you how deep down to plant the seeds. If the depth is on the surface or just under the surface, the herb probably needs light to germinate. Otherwise, the seeds will often be a little bit under the soil. 

Some herbs that like light during germination include:

  • Thyme
  • Dill
  • Lemon Balm

Always research the plant you are germinating, as some have additional requirements, such as freezing before planting or letting it soak in water for a few days. If you didn’t get the seeds from a store, look online. 


Dill is an interesting plant. They are straightforward to take care of once they sprout, needing little maintenance to produce plenty of delicious herbs. While they are easy to take care of as a seed, they also have more specific and unique requirements than you might not expect. 

For example, Dill needs quite a bit of light to germinate, unlike many other plants that do better with little to no light while germinating. Planting them under a very thin layer of dirt is ideal. 

Dill needs quite a bit of light to germinate; generally, five to six hours a day of sunlight minimum is required though you can provide fluorescent light if you are willing to keep the light on for most of the day.