Florence Fennel Guide
This high yielding, slow bolting alien looking plant will attract ladybugs, wasps, and other beneficial predatory insects good for your garden while it repels aphids and fleas. It’s also a rich source of fibers, vitamin C, B6 and B9, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus. You can’t go wrong using the licorice flavored herb in soups and salads, or as toppings for pasta or pizza.
Fennel grows best in cooler weather between 60°F-75°F. They thrive in containers and gardens. Bank on Seeds recommends direct seeding.
If Direct Seeding
- Direct seed outside 3-4 weeks after last frost date; or
- Direct seed into a container 8-10 inches deep and wide anytime of the year. It can be placed outside when the temperature is between 60°F-80°F; or
Begin the growing season early and start the fennel seeds indoors in trays or pods 4 weeks before the last frost date; germination is best between 65°F-75°F. It can be transplanted outside 6 weeks later.
Sow seeds ¼ inch deep and 6 inches apart with rows spaced 8-12 inches apart. Germination will take 5-10 days. Thin the seedlings to 8 inches apart if they start competing for space or light.
Fennel likes well-draining, fertile soil mixed in with compost and free of weeds. They also like full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. Check the top 1-2 inches of soil and if it is dry, then water it. You can let dry slightly between watering.
Add compost to the soil every 6-8 weeks or use 10-10-10 or 5-10-10 fertilizer.
Fennel is full grown in 80 days. The leaves can be picked as needed for salads or as garnish as soon as the plant is established – do not take too many at a time though. Use a sharp trowel or knife to cut the fennel bulb from its roots when the bulbs are 2-3 inches in diameter.
Leafhopper, parsley worm – spray off with water, handpick, insecticidal soap, diatomaceous earth, row covers
Carrot rust – row covers, yellow sticky cards, crop rotation yearly, keep free of weeds
*Fennel is greatly beneficial for your garden and pollinators but best planted by itself. Avoid planting with bush beans, kohlrabi, tomatoes, and dill in particular. *