Foeniculum vulgare. Half Day Sun. Perennial. Height: up to 3’ Width: 12”
The perennial herb fennel differs from the annual vegetable fennel, in that it does not form a white, swollen base. Mounds of glorious light, lacy, fern-like leaves in a mixture of copper, green and muted purple stems all bend in the air like smoke.
In the Garden
Fennel prefers a lot of sunlight – but not alot of heat, so bright morning sun is most preferrable. and moist, well-drained soil. A fast growing herb, its fine, feathery leaves provide a fine texture in the garden. This fennel is a beautiful plant with whispy foliage that adds as an airy background to the perennial garden. According to folklore, fennel shouldn’t be planted next to dill since it can hybridize with dill to produce unfavorable seedlings. Harvest leaves as needed before flowering. Fennel flowers are said to attract beneficial insects.The plant is strongly scented with a sweet licorice flavor and scent will waft over the entire garden.Tiny edible flowers bloom in midsummer. The flowers contrast nicely with the foliage and are forage for bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects.
Leaves are excellent in many dishes such as salads, fish, pork, eggs, cheeses, beans, rice and vegetables. The flowers make lovely fresh bouquets. A leaf or seed infusion can be taken internally for indigestion, flatulence or suppressing appetite. (Never ingest any herbs for medicinal use without first consulting your doctor.) Externally, fennel has been used in facial tonics or as a gargle for sore throats.