A tender perennial, plant fennel in the spring after all danger of frost has passed in a location that will receive full sun. Space plants 6″ apart in average well-drained soil. Grows well in containers or mixed pots. Plant height 24-36″.
Easy to grow, fennel is usually grown as an annual or biennial. Attracts predatory insects to the garden and songbirds. Bronze fennel is also a host and nectar plant for butterflies.
Fennel, Bronze foeniculum vulgare nigra
Bronze fennel is a great ornamental addition to the garden by virtue of its highly unique color. It also has a decorative feathery texture that makes a nice contrast to green, leafy plants. Bronze fennel’s large, lacy yellow flowers attract butterflies.
The anise-like flavor of fennel makes it a tasty addition to meat and vegetable dishes. It blends well with rosemary. Fennel came from the Mediterranean and is a relative of parsley and carrots. It is one of the spices that gives Italian sausage its flavor, and is great in marinara sauces and meatballs.
Every part of the plant can be used, from bottom to top: stalk, leaves, and flowers. Leaves and stems should be harvested for fresh use before the plant begins to flower. Roots are edible and may be harvested in the fall of the first year, before the plant flowers.
Fennel must usually be wintered over for seed production. Will bolt to produce seed the second summer in areas where it is grown as a biennial or perennial. Plants may produce seeds the first year (in areas with a long cool spring). Harvest seeds as they begin to turn their characteristic grayish-green color. Note: too much moisture at bloom time can prevent formation of seeds