Very few people know how diverse fennel can actually be. In our overview, you will find the best tried and tested, new and robust vegetable fennel varieties for growing in your own garden and an overview of spiced fennel and wild fennel.
The garden fennel (. Foeniculum vulgare ssp Vulgare) exists in three different varieties: as Wild fennel – also known as bitter fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare) – as sweet fennel, Roman fennel, or spice fennel (Foeniculum vulgare var dulce.) As well as vegetable or onion fennel ( Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum ). Vegetable fennel is mostly used in German kitchens. However, it is also worthwhile to think about growing the other fennel varieties in your own garden, as they are very aromatic and at the same time a real ornament in the garden. In our overview, we have summarized the best types of fennel and their properties for you.
The spiced fennel is a cultivated form that does not occur wild. Spiced fennel is fennel without a tuber. The seeds of the plant are used. These are sweet and have an intense aroma. That is why the spiced fennel is also called sweet fennel. Spiced fennel is used in teas, as a spice for meat, fish, and salads, and also as a remedy, for example against stomach problems. Nowadays it is mainly grown in France. The cultivation of spiced fennel is particularly attractive for hobby gardeners, as this plant is very robust and easy to care for. It survives the winter well with us because it is very frost-tolerant. The inflorescences also give off an intense smell in the garden.
A close relative of anise ( Pimpinella anisum ), caraway ( Carum carvi ), and dill ( Anethum graveolens ) is the wild fennel. This comes from the Mediterranean and the Middle East and was valued as a spice and remedy in ancient times. At that time it was mainly used to flavor bread and wine. It is also known as bitter fennel and forms only a very small tuber.
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The best known today is probably the vegetable fennel. This is characterized by its pronounced, white tuber. Historically, however, this fennel is the youngest. It was created by crossing different types of wild fennel. Today it is grown as a vegetable in large parts of the world and can be eaten raw in salads, but also steamed, baked, or cooked as a vegetable.
Similarities and differences between vegetable fennel, wild fennel, and spiced fennel :
|Vegetable fennel||Spiced fennel||Wild fennel|
|Foeniculum vulgare||Foeniculum vulgare var. Dulce||Foeniculum vulgare var. Vulgare|
|Use of the tuber||Use of the seeds||Use of the seeds and tuber|
|As a vegetable, cooked or raw||Spice, tea, remedies||Spice, tea, remedies|
Numerous varieties of vegetable fennel are now available for cultivation. We have compiled the most important ones for you below.
Before you start choosing the fennel seeds for growing in your own garden, however, you should consider one thing: The numerous types of fennel differ mainly in their harvest time and the categories “bulletproof” or “not bulletproof”. For the climate in Germany, we recommend using only bullet-resistant varieties. In our latitudes, year-round cultivation of fennel is not possible because it is only slightly frost-tolerant and freezes to death in winter. So if you don’t have a greenhouse or are at home in favorable locations – such as wine-growing regions, for example – you can only grow fennel in the summer months. So that the vegetables do not start to shoot in the warm season, i.e. develop inflorescences, shoot-resistant varieties are recommended.
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Well-tried types of fennel
- ˈDi Parma Sel. Pradoˈ: This late variety from Italy produces lush tubers. It has a high yield and has a wonderful taste.
- ˈDoux de Florenceˈ: This old variety forms large, stocky tubers, but is, unfortunately, less bolt-resistant than today’s varieties. Therefore it is only suitable for autumn cultivation.
- ˈRoman fennelˈ: This precocious Italian variety with lush and densely growing tubers has a fine taste and a very delicate texture.
- ˈSelvaticoˈ: This variety from Italy forms smaller tubers. The fresh green is used as a fennel vegetable or soup. It is also robust in terms of growth.
New fennel types
- ˈCaronte F1ˈ: This Italian variety is suitable for the autumn harvest because it can withstand low temperatures.
- ˈFinoˈ: This new, bullet-resistant variety convinces with lush, bright white tubers. It can be grown early in the year and has good taste.
- ˈMontebiancoˈ: This early to medium-ripening variety bears firm and crunchy tubers.
- ˈOrazioˈ: This variety forms large, thick, rounded tubers. These are also crunchy and spicy with a pronounced aniseed taste.
- ˈPreludio F1ˈ: With this new hybrid variety from Italy, you can look forward to medium-sized, tender, and crunchy tubers.
- ˈPreludioˈ: This variety is productive. It also carries particularly large tubers and is suitable for harvesting in late summer or autumn.
- ˈRondo F1ˈ: This hybrid variety is characterized by a high yield and intense taste of the tubers.
- ˈTeseo F1ˈ: This hybrid variety from Italy bears large, heavy tubers that are aromatic in taste and not fibrous.
Particularly resistant types of fennel
- ˈFinaleˈ: This bulletproof strain is well suited for early cultivation. The tubers are of good size and high-yielding.
- ˈMinosse F1ˈ: This Italian variety withstands low temperatures well. The tuber is large and of good taste.
- ˈPerfectionˈ: This variety bears beautiful, white, flat-round tubers. It is recommended for the autumn harvest.
- ˈSelmaˈ: This bolt-resistant variety is fast growing with large tubers. It is also characterized by its high yield and wonderful taste.