Growing Fennel

Botanical Name:

Foeniculum vugare

Common names:

Sweet Fennel, Wild Fennel, and Roman Fennel


A beautiful addition to any perennial herb garden, fennel has thick, 5 to 6 foot tall stems, feathery green or bronze foliage and impressive rays of tiny, umbel-shaped yellow flowers. Fennel is native to the Mediterranean, where it was highly sought by ancient Romans for its succulent leaves and licorice-like aroma. Due to their pungent flavor, the seeds were used by the poor to satisfy their hunger cravings during lean times, and also used to add flavor to otherwise unpalatable food.


Life Cycle:

tender perennial


full sun


Fennel will grow in almost any soil as long as it's well-drained, although it will produce more foliage when soil nutrients are high. Seedlings do not transplant well, so broadcast seeds directly in the soil in late spring. Fennel readily reseeds itself and unwanted seedlings should be removed before developing long tap roots that will be difficult to pull up. Sow in succession to maintain a continuous harvest of leaves and seeds. If seeds are not desired, remove flower heads to promote bushier growth. Fennel can be grown as an annual, although the established roots will over winter with protection. Divide roots in fall after the seeds have been harvested. Dill and Coriander will grow poorly if planted near fennel




Parts Used:

leaves and seeds

Harvesting and Storage:

cut fresh leaves for use as needed

Medicinal Uses:

aromatherapy, indigestion; respiratory congestion; cough remedies; stimulant for flow of breast milk; eyewash.

Culinary Uses:

Leaves: salads and fruit salads; fruit drinks and teas (flowers); pork, veal and fish dishes; stocks, sauces and stuffing; mayonnaise, flavored butters and salad dressings; Placed dried stalks under grilled meat and fish; Seeds can be used as a spice in breads; Seedlings make a pungent salad.

Other Uses:

wreaths, skin care and hair care

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January 4, 20070 found this helpful

I grew Fennel next to my Rosemary, when the Fennel reached a reasonable height I noticed that my Rosemary looked like it was literally trying to climb out of my Herb Garden. I had to stake the Rosemary upright & pull out the Fennel.


It took almost two weeks for the Rosemary to grow upright again (not a climbing Rosemary). I dried all the Fennel that I'd taken out & won't plant it near Rosemary again. I'm a little more careful which plants I put Fennel with again.

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