Home » Growing fennel in the garden: This is how it works!

Growing fennel in the garden: This is how it works!

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If you are looking for a beautiful plant that can be used both in the kitchen and as an ornamental, then fennel is for you. Would you like to learn how to grow fennel in the garden?

Foto: nnattalli/ Shutterstock

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Bulbous fennel in particular can be difficult to cultivate. It may be picky about when, where and how to grow it, but that shouldn’t stop you from growing it. If you want to grow fennel in your own garden, simply follow our easy-to-follow instructions.

Growing fennel in the garden – helpful tips

Foto: Fire-n/ Shutterstock

The humble fennel plant is a great choice if you are looking for a fragrant plant that can serve as an edible garnish and filler in your garden bed. Fennel, a hardy herb with a lush appearance, is a great way to fill garden gaps. You can also sprinkle it over your food to give it an extra boost of flavor. As much as people love fennel, it can keep some garden pests at bay. This plant also makes a great replacement for ornamental grass!

2 main types – spiced and bulbous fennel

There are two main varieties of fennel. spiced fennel (Common fennel) is a biennial plant grown for its seeds and leaves. Most bulbous fennel (Feniculum vulgare var. azoric) are annual plants. They both smell and taste strongly of anise or licorice, and they also look quite similar. If you’re not sure you can handle the bulb shape, consider trying spiced fennel instead. It is easier to care for and gets stronger and bigger every year.

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Fennel, carrots, parsnips, celery, dill, parsley, coriander and others all belong to the umbelliferous family (Apiaceae). The fennel plant is native to the Mediterranean and southern European coastal areas with lots of sun. Fennel produces large, flat flower heads from compound umbels at the base of the stems in mid to late summer, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and containing 20 to 50 flowers per umbel section. Many different types of pollinators, including lacewings, bees and wasps, visit the flowers. After the flowers wither, the seeds emerge, which are initially greenish-brown in color, but as they mature they turn gray and have grooves on the sides. If there is no harvest, the plants sprout and form comparable flowers and seeds.

The bulbous fennel is often up to 60 – 90 cm high and forms a large, flat or spherical, white bulb at the base that is 7 – 10 cm wide. Spice fennel, which has no bulbs, grows up to 2 m tall and has stronger, thicker stems.

Planting fennel – soil and location

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Both types of fennel should be in the sun for at least six to eight hours a day. Make sure that the fennel is not overshadowed by other plants in the garden, as it does not tolerate shade. Although fennel can overwinter outdoors as a perennial plant, it does not survive severe cold snaps. Fennel bulbs sown in summer can be harvested until the first frosts. Mulch helps plants by retaining moisture in the summer and heat in the winter.

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Nutrient-rich, well-drained soil is ideal for fennel. Mix in some biological material, but not too much. Tubers and leaves lose flavor if the soil is very rich. This plant thrives in an environment with a neutral pH between 6.5 and 7.5.

The spice fennel can grow up to two meters high, as already mentioned. If you are growing it for aesthetic reasons, make sure it is at the back of the garden and not obscured by other, shorter plants so that you can see its delicate leaves without obscuring them.

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When is the right time to grow?

You should plant bulbous fennel outdoors from March to mid-August. Note that the distance is 35 x 35 cm. If it ripens on hot, long days, bolting may occur. For a fall harvest, sow fennel seeds April to July. It is ideal to plant fennel in the garden after other, earlier maturing plants as it thrives in cooler conditions.

Mischkultur

Photo: Kerdkanno/Shutterstock

Fennel gets along well with most flowering plants, including marigolds, sunflowers and nasturtiums, and with herbs such as anise, basil, parsley, sage and coriander. Other good neighbors include: artichokes, peas, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach and celery.

Fennel’s allelopathic properties make it a poor choice for growing near nightshades such as beans and lentils. Other bad neighbors include: kohlrabi, coriander, caraway, marjoram and parsnips.

If you want to harvest fennel in the fall, cut the bulb at the base to encourage new growth from the roots.

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Also Read: Using Beer in the Garden: How to Use Beer to Fertilize and Water Plants, Control Pests, etc!

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