Quick Guide to Growing Fennel
- Plant fennel in spring after the last frost. It’s a great option for growing in raised garden beds, containers, and in-ground gardens.
- Space fennel plants 4 to 12 inches apart, depending on the variety. Grow them in an area that gets at least 6 hours of sun and has fertile, well-drained soil.
- For best results, improve your native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter.
- Promote excellent leaf production by regularly feeding with a water-soluble plant food.
- Keep soil consistently moist and water when the top inch of soil becomes dry.
- Harvest fennel leaves anytime, but avoid trimming more than one-third of the plant at once.
Leaves and seeds have a sweet anise flavor, somewhat like licorice. Use leaves in salads, coleslaw, soups, and stews. Bulbs can be sliced for use in salads and side dishes, or roasted to mellow the strong flavor. Fennel flowers are edible, and make wonderful garnishes for fish, meat, potato, and tomato dishes. Fennel stems also look wonderful in fresh bouquets.