Fennel, Unlike its sibling Florence Fennel with displays swollen base stems; this common or sweet fennel makes a very attractive tall feathery feature plant (bronze variety almost glistens in lowlight) in any herb or herbaceous garden border displaying large umbels of yellow flowers which can be harvested and served on drinks; but mainly it’s the dried seeds that are collect and used to give its more pronounced aniseed flavour.
Here's Our Guide to Growing Fennel:
How, Where & When to Grow Fennel
Although fennel prefers poor dry growing conditions; in its early days, it requires moist fertile drained soil. Best to direct sow in spring, where they are to grow by placing 2 or 3 seeds in a shallow hole, thinning out after suitable conditions allows for successful germination around 7-10 days time. Thin out to one per planting area.
Distance between 2 or more plants must be kept at 50cm to avoid competition for root growth and water uptake.
Plants under stress may bolt pre-maturely; creating smaller plants, so plants must be kept well watered within reason. Weeds must be kept away as they can cause competition for water and nutrients too. Cut down fennel in June if you don't want it to go to seed and it will grow again giving good tasting foliage for longer. Fennel self sows very easily so if you don't want lots of little seedlings make sure all the flowers are removed before going to seed.
Harvest fresh leaves during the growing season or gather seeds late summer for pickling or infusing.
The Fennel fronds are incredibly fragrant and lend themselves well to accompanying pesto dishes…when next roasting a chicken, create a Fennel bed under the chicken and it will infuse an amazing aroma in the chicken…Fennel make a great companion for cucumbers in a simple salad served with a vinaigrette dressing.
If you're thinking of sowing other vegetable and herb seeds, discover more of our growing guides.