Growing Florence Fennel, also Finocchio

foeniculum vulgare dulce : Apiaceae / the umbelliferae family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

(Best months for growing Florence Fennel in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 77°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: Thin to 6 inches
  • Harvest in 14-20 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Lettuce, Chicory, Cucumber, peas, sage
  • Avoid growing close to: Beans, tomatoes
  • Ready to use
  • A fennel seedling
  • Fennel flower heads, some have gone to seed

This is a perennial grown as an annual as the stems become more fibrous with age. Both seeds and leaves have a mild aniseed flavour. With its feathery leaves it makes a good background plant in a border. Grows to approx 1.5 m (5 ft) Can be repeat sown throughout the year or left to self seed.

Fennel prefers well-drained fertile soil.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Florence Fennel

The swollen base of the stem is used.

Slice and steam/stir-fry the bulb, or use raw/grated in salads. Can be cooked and served with sauces or butter.

Your comments and tips

12 Mar 09, gay staurup (Australia - temperate climate)
i have a question: the old fennel plant is still in the ground. will it grow a new bulb from that or should i sow seed to get new plants?
14 Mar 09, sonofkit (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
As fennel is a perennial I would expect new growth to come from the old plant. Also, for cooking - slice lengthwise in half, or more if they are big, place in a baking tray, sprinkle with salt & pepper, drop in some butter and bake covered at about 180c for about 20 mins.
11 Sep 09, nicola dobiecka (United Kingdom - warm/temperate climate)
Do you have to get certain seed which can be planted now? I have some seed but the packet says to only sow it in spring/summer... it doesn't say you can sow it in autumn as well? Thanks Nic ;o)
30 Jan 10, Dion Italiano (Australia - temperate climate)
I am in pinjarra W.A and would like to know the right time to plant my seed?And can you let it grow above the ground like an onion or a beetroot?Because in recent times i've been told that as they grow you need to pack them up.
10 Feb 10, Janet (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
That explains why my fennel just grew up and went to seed without growing a bulb. I planted it in late spring but it obviously should have been late summer/autumn.
24 Apr 10, Jane (Australia - temperate climate)
@ Janet You may have planted the wrong kind of fennel There are two kinds. Florence Fennel produces the bulb at the bottom and Bronze Fennel just goes to seed and is usually grown for the seeds or the feathery leaves. Bronze fennel is the one that grows along the sides of the roads (feral) in many parts of Australia.
13 Jul 10, Jack (Australia - temperate climate)
The fennel I planted has several bulbs growing together (that's how it came. Should I separate them, if so, how?
12 Sep 10, Jan Rawlinson (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Does anyone have any tips/advice on germinating Florence Fennel? It grows really well in our region but germination seems a bit hit & miss whether I use a heat pad or not. Cheers...Jan
16 Apr 12, Mel Sperryn (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Fennel might need a period of cold to break its dormancy. try putting it in the refigerator for a while before germinationg it.
27 Jan 11, ingrid (Australia - temperate climate)
Where can I buy Florence Fennel seed? I live in monbulk Vic
Showing 1 - 10 of 60 comments

Hello, I live in Edmonton. At our community garden, we are trying to grow Florence Fennel. The plant is healthy, with fronds a metre high, but it is not forming a bulb. The root is ten centimetres long. If we cover it to get over the early threat of frost, which is often a risk in early September, we may get warm and sunny days trough to October. Is there anything we can do encourage the plant to form a bulb? Thank you for taking our question. Morris

- Morris Lemire

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