Plant Bronze Fennel For Black Swallowtails!
Bronze Fennel, (Foeniculum vulgare ‘purpureum’ and ‘rubrum’) also known as Smokey Fennel, is a tall and unusually-colored herb in the carrot family, native to the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia.
Black Swallowtail caterpillars love to eat its lovely bronze or smokey-tinted, feathery leaves. In addition, other butterflies and pollinators love its umbels of nectar-filled flowers. Because of its unique color scheme, it is a great back-of-the-garden accent plant!
Characteristics of Foeniculum vulgare Plants
Bronze Fennel is an herbaceous perennial, hardy in USDA zones 5-11. It prefers full sun but can handle partial shade. It does best in rich, moist, well-drained soil, though it is drought-resistant.
Foeniculum vulgare sports its large, aromatic yellow flowers from mid-to-late summer. It reaches a height of 4-5′ (sometimes taller), spanning 2-3′ horizontally. This fennel is a fast grower that readily reseeds.
Bronze fennel has the same licorice flavoring of other fennels, therefore it’s used interchangeably with Green Fennel as a culinary herb – if the swallowtail caterpillars leave you any, that is!
Germination of Bronze Fennel Seeds
These seeds are easy to germinate, with a high rate of successful germination. Bronze Fennel seeds can go directly into the ground after the last frost date in the spring, or you can start them indoors several weeks early. Plant seeds about 1/4″ deep at room temperature, 70°F. They will start germinating in 7-14 days. Space them in your garden about 12-18″ apart.
Attract Black Swallowtails, and other pollinators, with this multi-use herb; we offer only Certified-Organic seeds grown in Oregon, and our plants are grown from these seeds!