Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bronze Fennel
Foeniculum vulgare 'Rubrum'

Family: Apiaceae (ay-pee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Foeniculum (fen-IK-yoo-lum) (Info) (fen-IK-yoo-lum) (Info)
Species: vulgare (vul-GAIR-ee) (Info)
Cultivar: Rubrum
Additional cultivar information: (aka Smokey Bronze)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

11 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
Flowers are good for cutting
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By saya
Thumbnail #1 of Foeniculum vulgare by saya

By saya
Thumbnail #2 of Foeniculum vulgare by saya


3 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral juhur7 On Jun 7, 2013, juhur7 from Anderson, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

Self seeds here , left the seeds last year to fall where there may . They did and plants of this are everywhere.

Positive joraines On Mar 3, 2013, joraines from Inman, SC wrote:

I have this growing in my butterfly garden and it creates a beautiful, billowy bronze-rose 'cloud' in the garden and is consistently covered with swallowtail caterpillars through the summer. It has already started returning this year in early March and will no doubt grow even taller this year than last when it reached over five feet tall. I love it.

Positive dmj1218 On May 3, 2006, dmj1218 from west Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Bronze color to leaves add winter interest--caterpillars of various species love this plant and I grow it to provide "fodder" for the cats and to lure them away from more valuable plants in the landscape. I overwinter the plant and it will often go dormat in the height of summer but will re-emerge when temperatures cool in the fall. It is a perennial here in the south.

Fennel is a hardy relative of dill, coriander, cumin, anise, carrot, and Queen Anne's lace; it grows very well in the south.
Bronze leaf fennel is probably the most difficult to grow in the south but is beautiful and well worth the effort. Most fennels grow from between 3'-5' when in bloom. Once seeds are harvested, cut the bloom stalks down to the ground and new growth comes quickly. Fennel is very drought tolerant and hardy, but a little water improves its flavor.

Fennel is the important "something" added to many sausages and is also used with fish. Fish is excellent grilled over fennel stalks with butter.Its also good in salads. The odor of fennel is warm, sweet, and fragrant. All fennels have the familiar anise flavor with varying degrees of sweetness, depending on the amount of oils present. Fennel releases its oils well in water but more freely in alchohol. This accounts for its presence in so many fine liquors.

Neutral Gabrielle On Feb 4, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Also known as Smokey Bronze Fennel; my information says it is hardy to zone 11.

Positive saya On Jun 8, 2005, saya from Heerlen
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

Beautifull ..really striking colour..brown orange to ochre..very pretty.. I cannot stop touching this plant. Its foliage is so cool and soft lacy...aromatic too..tasty in salads. Attracts butterflies and it is one of the bests hosts for the cats of butterflies... special for Swallowtails...


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Huntsville, Alabama
Ohatchee, Alabama
Tuscumbia, Alabama
Capistrano Beach, California
Fallbrook, California
Laguna Beach, California
San Clemente, California
Washington, District Of Columbia
Gainesville, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Columbus, Georgia
Lake Charles, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Roseland, Louisiana
Florence, Mississippi
Cincinnati, Ohio
Inman, South Carolina
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Killeen, Texas
Lexington, Virginia

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