Posted by Bonehead
(Planet Earth - Zone 8b) on Jul 4, 2016 7:01 PM concerning plant:
May improve eyesight. Quoting Longfellow:
"Above the lower plants it towers,
The fennel with its yellow flowers;
And in an earlier age than ours
Was gifted with the wondrous powers
Lost vision to restore."
On the other hand, this is a Class B noxious weed in Washington state (do not allow to spread). Fennel colonizes disturbed ground and grasslands, forms dense colonies, and out-competes natives. Hand dig or mow before it goes to seed.
Posted by Catmint20906
(PNW WA half hour south of Olympia - Zone 8a) on Aug 1, 2014 8:09 PM concerning plant:
In addition to being a larval host plant for the Black Swallowtail Butterfly, Foeniculum vulgare attracts a variety of beneficial insects to the garden, including parasitic mini-wasps, hoverflies, ladybugs, and lacewings. These beneficial insects eat a variety of common garden pests including aphids, armyworms, codling moths, European corn borer, flies, gypsy moths, cabbageworms, mealybugs, soft scales, spider mites thrips, moth eggs, and small caterpillars.
Posted by gardengus
(Indiana Zone 5b) on Apr 2, 2013 2:32 PM concerning plant:
When planting fennel, keep it far from your dill. These two will cross pollinate.
The dill seed will not produce a true-tasting dill plant. Best to buy fresh seed.
Posted by Bonehead
(Planet Earth - Zone 8b) on Sep 22, 2014 2:21 PM concerning plant:
Typically grown for the bronze feathery foliage, and often dead-headed before flowers form. The flowers are, however, an important host for parasitic wasps, which help to control caterpillars and aphids. To prevent rampant re-seeding, allow flowers to bloom but dead-head before the seeds mature. Fennel may be short lived, so allowing a small amount of re-seeding may be advantageous. Catch unwanted seedlings early as fennel has a long taproot and more mature plants are difficult to pull up. Looks rather ratty after a frost (the leaves just straggle down), so I cut to the ground in late fall. Some folks may be sensitive to the sap, which can cause phytophotodermatitis. If you are susceptible to this, work with this plant on overcast days wearing gloves and long sleeves.
Posted by SongofJoy
(Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Feb 11, 2012 8:41 AM concerning plant:
If you want to collect the fennel seeds, leave the flowering stalk. You can still harvest the outer leaves, but don't cut the center stalk which will bear the flowers. Watch when seeds start to turn from green to brown, and then cut the whole head and allow it to finish the ripening process in a brown paper bag. When the seeds are ripe, they will easily shake loose from the main head. Store in a dry airtight jar out of light.
Posted by Sharon
(Calvert City, KY - Zone 7a) on Sep 25, 2011 9:05 PM concerning plant:
Fennel is a food plant for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, in this zone it is the Swallowtail. It also provides a faint licorice flavor and is especially good as a seasoning for baked fish.