University of Maryland Extension


Fennel (Foeniculum dulce)

Fennel foliage
Photo: Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, 


Fennel is a perennial (but usually grown as an annual) that grows to about 3 to 4 feet in height. The leaves are finely divided into thread-like segments and are light green in color.


Fennel grows easily from seed planted in the garden is spring. Sow in full sun. Space rows 3 feet apart. Thin plants 10 to 12 inches apart and stake when 18 inches tall to protect from wind.


Pick seeds when ripe. The best stems for eating are the tender flower stalks just before they blossom.


Fennel seeds are used as a condiment. The leaves have an anise-like flavor and the stems can be eaten like celery. Seeds can be used in cheese spreads and vegetable dished. Don’t confuse with bulb fennel.


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