Easily grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. May be grown from seed that is sown directly in the garden in spring. Freely self-seeds in the garden. Remove spent flowering stems before seed is produced to avoid any unwanted self-seeding.
Foeniculum vulgare (common fennel) is an upright, branching perennial that is typically grown in vegetable and herb gardens for its anise-flavored foliage and seeds, both of which are commonly harvested for use in cooking. 'Purpureum' is an ornamental cultivar that is noted for its attractive purple-bronze foliage. It typically grows in an upright mound to 3-5’ (less frequently to 6’) tall with a spread of 2-3'. Feathery, compound, aromatic, purple-bronze leaves with needle-like segments are attractive in the garden. Tiny yellow flowers in large, flattened, compound umbels bloom in mid- to late summer. Flowers are followed by aromatic fennel seeds. Flowers are very attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. Fennel is a larval plant for certain swallowtail butterflies.
No serious insect or disease problems. Stem and root rot may occur, especially in poorly-drained soils. Watch for aphids and slugs. Larvae (caterpillars) of swallowtail butterflies may chew on the foliage
Borders, vegetable gardens, herb gardens, cottage gardens or meadows. Good plant for a butterfly garden. Seeds may be harvested for use as flavoring in a variety of foods such as bakery products or sausages. Chopped leaves may be used as flavoring for eggs, breads, salads, potatoes, chicken, pork and fish.