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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

 Bulb Fennel, Bulb Anise, Carosella, Fetticus, Fino, Finocchio,
Finochio and Italian Fennel

Latin Name: Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum

Plant Family: Apiaceae

Close Relatives: Anise, Cilantro/Coriander, Carrots, Celery, Dill and Parsley

Uses and Markets: Culinary (e.g. enlarged leaf base (bulb) is used as a fresh or cooked vegetable, seeds use as a spice or condiment)

 Immature Florence fennel in the fieldMature Florence fennel in the field The enlarged stem (bulb) of Florence fennel at maturityHarvested and trimmed Florence fennelFlorence fennel beginning to bolt.
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes


Propagation method

Most commonly by transplants from seeds; less commonly by direct seeding

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

early spring

Field Seeding Date:

Beginning late April

Field Transplanting Dates

Spring, 4-6 weeks after seeding

In-row spacing

20-30 cm

Between row spacing

90-120 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



 No current Ontario fertility guidelines exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions.  Ontario fertility guidelines for celery, a close relative, can be found in OMAFRA Vegetable Production Recommendations Publication 363, and would be a good starting point.  Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soils.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range


Temperature sensitivity

Frost Sensitive (mature bulbs)

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation beneficial under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

 70-80 from transplanting; 90-100 from seeds

Specialized equipment


Harvest Scheduling

Successive Plantings; Single Harvest..

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Harvest the enlarged leaf base, often called bulbs, before bolting begins when the base of the stem is 6 to 8 cm wide. Bolting causes the bulbs to become woody. The bulbs should be round and pale in colour. As bolting begins, the bulb begins to narrow and becomes elongated. Much of the leaf and stem material is cut off at harvest leaving several centimeters of stem and some leaves on the bulb.  Harvest during cooler parts of the day to reduce moisture loss and cooling costs. Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing


Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 90-95%)

Temperature: 0-2°C

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 14-21 days

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Parsley worm, leaf hopper


Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Aphids, cabbage looper, flea beetle, cutworm, beet armyworm, corn earworm

Diseases: Leaf blight, stem rot, damping-off

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: none.  This crop is in Crop Group 4: Leafy Vegetables (except Brassica Vegetables) Group and Subgroup 4B: Leaf Petioles Subgroup.  For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.

Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2013. OMAFRA herb demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Cantwell, Marita. 2001. Properties and Recommended Conditions for the Long Term Storage of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. University of California, Davis.
  2. Kowalchik, C. and W. H. Hylton. 1998. Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. Rodale Press, Emaus PA.
  3. Munro, D.B and E. Small. 1997. Vegetables of Canada. NRC Research Press, Ottawa.
  4. Purdue University. 1993. Fennel: A New Specialty Vegetable.
  5. Purdue University. 2013. Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2013: herbs.
  6. Simon, J.E., A.F. Chadwick and L.E. Craker. 1984. Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography. 1971-1980. The Scientific Literature on Selected Herbs, and Aromatic and Medicinal Plants of the Temperate Zone. Archon Books, 770 pp., Hamden, CT.
  7. Small, E. 2006. Culinary herbs, 2nd Edition. NRC Research Press, Ottawa.
  8. University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  1998.  Publication 3346 Specialty and Minor Crops Handbook, Second Edition.  University of California, Oakland.