Growing Fennel at the Allotment

Growing Fennel at the Allotment

Both with an aniseed flavour, Fennel comes in two main types; Common Fennel and Florence Fennel.  Florence Fennel is a grown vegetable bulb, and Common or Sweet Fennel grows tall and is used as a culinary herb.

Both types of Fennel thrive in a sunny spot, in well-drained soil. If it becomes too dry or too cold, it will bolt.

Florence Fennel can be sown directly out in May-June in rows, approximately 3cm deep and approximately 30cm apart and thinned out as they grow. You can earth them up once the bulbs are approximately golf-ball sized to produce a whiter bulb.

Common Fennel should not be grown close to Dill as they can cross pollinate, which affects the flavour of both plants.

Florence Fennel should be planted away from other plants as it will be detrimental to their growth. 

Fennel requires plenty of water during dry spells, so not to let it dry out. 

Florence Fennel, once reaching tennis-ball size, can be harvested from August - October, cutting at the base and then removing the leaves.

Fennel seeds can be harvested, once the common fennel has flowered and the seed heads have formed. The leaves can be picked at any time, regularly to encourage re-growth.

The Fennel bulbs can be frozen for storage.


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Growing Fennel in Summary

Sowing Fennel

  • Sow directly May-June
  • Sow in well-drained soil in a sunny spot
  • Thin out seedlings for Florence fennel

Growing Fennel

  • Water well during dry spells
  • Earth up Florence fennel for more white bulbs
  • Do not grow close to Dill

Harvesting Fennel

  • Harvest Florence fennel August-October
  • Harvest when bulbs are tennisball size
  • Pick leaves on common fennel as required and collect seeds once flowered