How to grow Fennel Herb
What is fennel? You might wonder. Fennel is a herb that produces the fennel bulbs and the fennel seeds. Fennel in Hindi – सौंफ़ and Fennel in Tamil – பெருஞ்சீரகம்.
The fennel herb, Feoniculum Vulgare, as it is botanically called has been in use for a long long time. Fennel belongs to the carrot family. The fennel herb was used for medicinal purposes and eventually due to its flavor, it is used in many cuisines for flavoring. It is one of the favorites for the chefs. Though it is native to Europe, the fennel herb is now grown all over the world. Sugar coated Fennel seeds are used as mouth fresheners in restaurants all over the country.
There are two ways to grow if you are wondering how to grow fennel. Fennel herb may be sometimes divided. But lot of care has to be taken while dividing fennel plants as they dont like their roots getting disturbed. Fennel doesnt like its tap root disturbed, just like carrot.
The other method for growing fennel is from seeds. Planting fennel by seed is an easier option. Fennel seeds can be sown in plugs or directly in the soil. For temperature climatic conditions, sow the seeds once the soil is warmed up. The fennel seeds are sown in soil or in soilless mix. THe fennel seeds sprout in about a weeks time. Once germinated the seedlings can be planted 12-18 inches apart. They should be about 6 inches tall.
The procedure on how to grow fennel is very simple as it is a low maintenance plant. Fennel herb doesn’t need lot of care. It belongs to the same family as Carrot, Parsley, and Dill. Fennel herb produces fruits upon maturity. The fennel plant fruits are actually what we incorrectly refer as seeds.
While growing fennel, plant the fennel seedlings in a location that receives full sun. The soil should be well drained and should be rich in organic matter.
Fennel herb leaves are soft and needle-like. The plants can go upto a height of 5 to 6 feet and can double up as an ornamental plant as well. Not just the fennel seeds, but the fennel plant leaves themselves are aromatic too.
Fennel herb starts flowering and produces seeds. The seeds can be harvested or can be left on the plant. This can result in re-seeding. Do not plant fennel seeds near Dill as they cross pollinate readily.
Fennel Plant Care
As mentioned above, fennel herb is fairly maintenance free crop and doesn’t demand lot of attention. Feed with a general purpose fertilizer monthly. Ensure the soil remains moist during hot weather.
Be it for ornamental purpose or for culinary value, growing fennel herb is definitely worth the effort.