Is Bronze Fennel a Biennial?

Dead Bronze Fennel

I am a fennel fan. I love it’s licorice flavor. It’s why I am a fan of Italian sausage, since fennel is the main seasoning in it. A couple years ago, I was shopping at a local nursery when I came across bronze fennel. It has a beautiful color that I thought would be great edition to my flower/herb garden in my front yard. The first year it grew pretty well, but year two, it really took off. That thing goes over 6 feet tall with little yellow flowers that looked similar to Queen Anne’s lace. The flowers formed plenty of seeds for me to harvest for more plants and seeds. I used the leaves as an herb throughout the season. It was especially good just tossed into salads. Yum! I was looking forward to see what my plant would do in 2015. Then something happen. Well actually it was nothing. I keep waiting as my oregano, thyme, sage, and tarragon all started taking off. But the fennel just stood their with it’s old growth still touring over the garden, without any sign of new growth. After waiting a while, I decided to check the world wide web. That’s when I determined that bronze fennel at least here in zone 5, is a biennial – growing for 2 years and then dies. What a bummer!

Camera didn't really want to focus on the whole plant, but you can see new growth coming out of the center.
Camera didn’t really want to focus on the whole plant, but you can see new growth coming out of the center.

As the weather began to warm up, I went back to the site of my plant and found 4 little bronze fennel plants growing on their own. The plant has re-seeded itself and very successfully I might add. I did however save a ton of the seed from last year mainly for culinary uses but to also grow some more plants. I planted some seeds as well so that I have even more beautiful bronze fennel to enjoy this year and the next.