Use fresh fennel leaves in salads or with eggs, fish and sauces.
The bulbous stem can be steamed, grilled or served raw; it's like celery with a delicate anise aroma. Chopped and sauted, it's great with shrimp. Likes full sun and mild to cool weather. Start outside after danger of frost.
Sow after danger of heavy frost has passed, in average soil in a sunny area. In frost-free areas, Sow from fall to early spring. Sow thinly and cover with 1/4" of fine soil. Firm lightly and keep evenly moist. Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.
How to Grow
When seedlings reach 1-2", thin to stand 10" apart. As a perennial, sweet fennel is short-lived, but it will reseed abundantly.
Enjoy the young leaves as a garnish and flavoring for soups, salads, and fish. Bulbous stems can be roasted, grilled or served raw. Use the tasty seeds crushed or whole in sausage and other meats, as well as to make a refreshing tea with a warm, sweet anise flavor. Fennel's lacy texture makes it a valuable garden plant and it is also a favorite of the butterfly, Black Swallowtail, caterpillars.