Sweet Fennel

Foeniculum vulgare

Growing Zones 8a-10b
  • Height: 18-48″
  • Width: 12-24″
  • Spacing:  8-12″
  • Bloom Time: Mid – Late Summer
  • Location: Full Sun
  • Water:  Average




Fennel does not require rich loam to grow properly. The only stipulation it requires is that it be planted in well drained soil. Planting fennel in rich, well fertilized soil is not recommended, because the plant will lose a lot of its aromatic oils and taste if well fed. Be careful to plant fennel away from other plants in the garden, because it will cross-pollinate, and the results of this is disappointing. Grow instead in pots away from the garden plot, or at the very least at the back of the garden. Be aware that fennel grows a very long taproot.Fennel is a beautiful herb to have in the garden. Feathery and fern-like, it adds both color and texture to your plantings. It also boasts a strong, licorice-like flavor. Fennel is a tender perennial, which means the plant may make it through the winter in warm areas, but is sensitive to cold. Most gardeners grow fennel as an annual. Leaves and seeds have a sweet anise flavor, somewhat like licorice. Use leaves in salads, coleslaw, soups, and stews. Bulbs can be sliced for use in salads and side dishes, or roasted to mellow the strong flavor. Fennel flowers are edible, and make wonderful garnishes for fish, meat, potato, and tomato dishes. Fennel stems also look wonderful in fresh bouquets. Fennel is known to attract bees, butterflies and birds. Suitable for containers. Fennel should not be planted near almost all plants, as it can inhibit growth, cause bolting, or actually kill other plants. If you’re growing bulb fennel in pots, this means you have to leave several inches of room between the soil and the rim of the container when you sow. One good way to achieve this is to plant your container grown fennel in a tall grow bag with the top rolled down.