Growing Florence Fennel, also Finocchio

foeniculum vulgare dulce : Apiaceae / the umbelliferae family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  P P                  

(Best months for growing Florence Fennel in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 10°C and 25°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: Thin to 15 cm
  • Harvest in 14-20 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Lettuce, Chicory, Cucumber, peas, sage
  • Avoid growing close to: Beans, tomatoes
  • Ready to use
  • A fennel seedling
  • Fennel flower heads, some have gone to seed

This is a perennial grown as an annual as the stems become more fibrous with age. Both seeds and leaves have a mild aniseed flavour. With its feathery leaves it makes a good background plant in a border. Grows to approx 1.5 m (5 ft) Can be repeat sown throughout the year or left to self seed.

Fennel prefers well-drained fertile soil.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Florence Fennel

The swollen base of the stem is used.

Slice and steam/stir-fry the bulb, or use raw/grated in salads. Can be cooked and served with sauces or butter.

Your comments and tips

26 Oct 20, Deborah Ross (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi how do you encourage it to bulb?
26 Oct 20, Anonymous (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Probably like any crop, plant it during the recommended time period, Feb-April for you. Growing time 14-20 weeks. Good soil regular watering. It probably needs the warmer temps to germinate and grow and then cooler temps to mature and form a bulb.
22 Aug 20, Phil Jones (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi, Can anyone tell we where to buy the Florence Fennel plants or seeds please? I live in Wellington. Thanks.
05 Nov 22, Ursula M (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
When you get them going, leave one to go to seed at the end of the season. Leave it in the ground afterwards and you'll get another cropping of bulbs appearing at the base of the old plant. I have seeds if you're still stuck.
06 Oct 20, Penelope Bedggood (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi Phil. I may be a bit late but if you're still after fennel seeds I have a bunch I can post to you.
24 Aug 20, (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Check internet seed selling companies.
05 Apr 20, Joan (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Have lots of this growing wild on my place. The only recipe we tried with the bulb was a stir fry but we got put off because the flavor was too strong. Are there recipes to take the strong taste off it!? Thanks.
08 Jul 20, Frances (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I recommended sauteeing or roasting it slowly in butter or olive oil with a dash of balsamic vinegar - this caramelises it and makes it taste sweeter. You can add a dash of brown sugar too.
06 Apr 20, anonymous (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Try looking on the internet - Google it.
12 Sep 10, Jan Rawlinson (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Does anyone have any tips/advice on germinating Florence Fennel? It grows really well in our region but germination seems a bit hit & miss whether I use a heat pad or not. Cheers...Jan
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