Foeniculum vulgare ‘purpureum’. 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. Threadlike, feathery, bronze-purple leaves similar to dill, it blooms with tiny edible flowers in midsummer. New growth is bronze-purple throughout the season. Mustard yellow summer flowers contrast nicely with the foliage and are forage for bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects.
In the Garden
Fennel prefers a lot of sunlight and moist, well-drained soil. A fast growing herb, its feathery leaves provide a fine texture in the garden. Bronze 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.
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