How to plant fennel

Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel, also known as fennel, is a plant used as an aromatic herb and as a medicinal herb. It also has a group of cultivars ( Foeniculum vulgare Grupo Azoricum, sin. Foeniculum vulgare var. Azoricum ), sometimes called florence fennel, florence fennel, sweet fennel or even fennel. head, but generally referred to only as fennel, whose leaf stems are used as a vegetable (they are incorrectly called the fennel bulb, as they are the petioles and leaf sheaths), being eaten raw or cooked in salads and other dishes. To distinguish it from florence fennel or head fennel, any other fennel cultivar is sometimes called medicinal fennel.


Fennel or fennel can be grown in different climatic regions, but the best conditions are found in regions of mild or moderately warm climate. The plant can survive a light frost.


The fennel needs high light and must receive direct sunlight for at least a few hours daily.


The soil must be well drained, light, fertile, rich in organic matter. The plant is tolerant of soil pH, but does not grow well in very acidic soils.


Irrigate as often as necessary so that the soil is always kept moist, without being soaked. The lack of water can induce the plant to flower early.


The seeds can be sown directly in the final location of the garden or they can be sown in sowing and transplanted when they are 10 to 15 cm tall. When choosing the planting location, take into account that the plant is perennial and can survive for several years in this location, reaching up to two meters in height, depending on the cultivar.

On the other hand, it is better that the seeds of the fennel-of-florence or of the fennel-headed ( Foeniculum vulgare Grupo Azoricum) are sown directly in the final place, because this group of cultivars does not support the transplant well. If sown in seed, transplant with the plant very young, when the seedlings have a maximum of 4 leaves. The recommended spacing for florence fennel is 25 to 30 cm between plants.

Planting in pots and planters is not the most recommended procedure, as the fennel has a root system that reaches a great depth, but it is still possible to grow it in large pots, at least 30 cm deep.

Do not grow fennel near dill or dill ( Anethum graveolens ), as these species interbreed, and the plants resulting from this cross are not normally considered satisfactory in terms of productivity or flavor and aroma.


Remove invasive plants that are competing for nutrients and resources, especially in the first months of cultivation.

Specifically for florence fennel or head-fennel, soil can be piled together with plants two or three weeks before harvest, but without covering the apical bud where the new leaves come from, so that the base leaves are whiter and have a smoother flavor.


The harvest time for fennel or fennel leaves can begin when the plant is well developed, which varies with the planted cultivar and the growing conditions. If the objective is to harvest the seeds, the ideal is that the leaves are not removed until the seeds are harvested. So, if you want leaves and seeds, ideally, plants should be grown to harvest the leaves and other plants to harvest the seeds.

For florence fennel or fennel-headed, the harvest can be carried out in 80 to 100 days after planting. The plant must be harvested before inflorescences appear, otherwise they can become bitter. Cut the plant about 2.5 cm from the soil (remove the soil that was piled together with the plants first). Cutting approximately at this time will allow the plant to sprout, allowing for a new harvest, this time of small leaves. Florence fennel is grown as an annual plant, although it is also perennial.

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