I love the taste of Fennel, and if you don’t know it yet, it’s a little like a sweet anise or licorice flavor and slightly crunchy. The bulb at the bottom is the vegetable part - the leaves, the herb, and the seeds are used for teas and flavoring. I tried for many years to grow Florence Fennel and it grew ok, but when I tried this Sweet Fennel variety I could see that it liked the subtropics and would grow, flourish, and seed here, consistently!
Its flowers attract butterflies and bees, and often the more unusual Swallowtail Butterfly will lay its eggs on the leaves. Sweet fennel likes to grow in the cooler months, but last year I grew it all year long. I started my plants in the spring, they flowered in the summer, and by autumn I had fennel seeds for tea. Useful for flavoring soups, sauces, breads, pickles, sauerkraut, sausages, or add this sweet and delicate flavor to your salad dressing! The leaves or fronds can be chopped and added to any dish and the bottom bulb is excellent sliced thin and eaten raw or cooked. Its a very versatile herb, vegetable and seed.
My current favorite uses are to first thinly slice the bulb and then sauté in a little olive oil with Alan Chadwick Green Beans, garlic, ginger. The bulb is also delicious in egg salad with onion, celery, Dijon mustard, and small thin pieces of finely chopped leaves.
You can direct sow or start in small pots, bring up to size and transplant. They will grow to about 24 inches high or more. Harvest for herbs or bulb or let a few go to flower and seed. A lovely new herbal addition to any home garden in Hawai’i.
Seed Depth – 1/8-1/2 inch deep
Spacing- 12 inches between plants
Full Sun or Partial Shade
Maturity – 60 days
Even watering till mature, then allow to go drier. Use mulch.
Good for growing in containers or pots.