Florence Fennel

May / Jun, Jul / Aug
Sep / Oct

Why Grow It

A delicious, white, aniseed-flavoured bulb that will be ready to eat in four months. Worth growing for its pretty foliage alone. It’s a little tricky to grow, but definitely worth a try.

  • Florence fennel is a Mediterranean crop that needs warm growing conditions, so it should be grown in the summer.
  • If exposed to fluctuating or low temperatures it will be at risk of bolting.
  • Florence fennel can be sown in modules for later transplanting or directly into soil.
  • If sowing in modules, sow one seed per module from late April to July.
  • If sowing direct, sow from late May till July, 1cm deep, thinly, in rows 30cm apart.
  • Plants will be ready for transplanting when they around 10-15cm high.
  • Space 30cm apart in rows 30cm apart and thin direct sown crops to the same spacing.
  • Don’t allow the soil to dry out as this can encourage bolting
  • Florence fennel will grow in any reasonably fertile soil.
  • Expect bulbs to be ready 14-16 weeks after sowing (the bulb should be 7cm across).
  • Cut the bulb off at ground level. Further, feathery shoots will appear, which can be used as celery/dill-flavoured seasoning in the kitchen.
  • Snip the leaves off the bulb – if you leave them on, they draw the moisture out of the bulb.
  • Romanesco
  • Rondo F1
  • Slugs are a problem at seedling stage. For more info on dealing with pests click here.
  • Urbanites rejoice, for fennel can be grown in 13cm-deep pots.
  • The bulb, the celery-like stalks and the feathery leaves can all be eaten.