Also known as Finocchio. The wonderful fresh flavour of this easy-to-grow vegetable is prized in European cooking. The swollen leaf bases have a distinctive anise flavour which enlivens salads and sandwiches. Cooked, the flavour stands out in casseroles or simply braised as a unique side dish. The seeds and fronds are also a culinary delight, and beneficial insects love the flower heads. Fennel, as well as anise, star anise, and some other plants, contains the compound anethole, which is widely used as a licorice flavouring. Anethole is thought to be 13 times sweeter than sugar. Follow along with this handy How to Grow Florence Fennel Guide and grow some flavour.!
Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce
We Recommend: Selma Fino (HR1089). We’ve been selling and enjoying this Italian standard for many years, and we love it. Full of flavour, with a succulent crunch we associate with high summer. It’s hard to imagine a vegetable being any more refreshing than fennel.
Season & Zone
Season: Warm season
Zone: Hardy from zone 5 to 10
Start indoors 4 weeks before the last frost date in individual peat or coir pots. Fennel dislikes root disturbance. Transplant or direct sow 4 weeks after last frost in succession to mid-July. Ideal temperature for germination: 15-21°C (60-70°F). Seeds should sprout in 10-14 days.
Sow seeds 1cm (1/2”) deep, a few seeds where each plant is to grow. Thin or space to 20-30cm (8-12”) in rows 45cm (18”) apart.
Ideal pH: 5.5-7.0. Rich, well-drained soil produces the best bulbs. Transplant in April when seedlings are 5cm (2″) tall. If raising transplants, do not disturb the roots, as this may cause plants to bolt. Keep well watered to ensure succulent bulbs and prevent bolting.
Use a knife to slice the bulb from the root when it has thickened to 5cm (2″) or more across. If this is done carefully, smaller bulbs will sprout from the root later.
In optimal conditions 80% of seeds will germinate. Usual seed life: 2 years. Per 100′ row: 240 seeds, per acre: 53M seeds.