Picking and Attempting To Grow Wild Fennel

Posted on Jul 14 2010 - 3:33am by Mike Lieberman

Pretty much everywhere here in Cali fennel is growing. It’s one of the most invasive weeds in the state.

I see it growing in peoples yards, along the sidewalks on trails when hiking. I really don’t think that most people are aware of what it is and that it’s food that they can eat. It’s free food that is growing everywhere. Fennel can be used to make teas, in salads, juices…

The other day when I was walking around the hood, I chopped some off a stem from a fennel plant that was growing along the sidewalk. I stuck it in some water for now with the hopes of it starting to grow some roots that I can then plant in a container on my balcony garden.

You think this will work?


19 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Shawna Coronado July 14, 2010 at 3:01 pm -

    FREE FOOD – you go guy! But why not just harvest it from the invasive areas? You'd save yourself the time and effort??


  2. Mike Lieberman July 14, 2010 at 3:11 pm -

    Could do that for the seeds and flowers, but would be more difficult for the bulbs since they are in people's yards. I can clip the tops (like a ninja) quickly, but harvesting the bulbs would be more difficult.

  3. Sketchkat06 July 14, 2010 at 5:01 pm -

    I think you need to figure out what kind of fennel it is. I think common fennel is an annual or biennial, if that's what you ninja'd then it probly won't root and you're better off nabbing seed heads. I also heard of bulb fennel that can be a perennial, but I don't know if it truly has a bulb. If it is a bulbing plant, somehow I don't think that it will root from the cutting. For sure everywehre I've read about rooting a cutting it specifically says to take a branch that does NOT have any flowers or flower buds on it…

    I don't want to jinx this experiment, so I hope you provemy thoughts wrong!

  4. Mike Lieberman July 14, 2010 at 6:09 pm -

    I just need to stick it in soil and see what happens.

  5. Alison Kerr July 15, 2010 at 6:42 am -

    I agree with Sketchkat06, rooting a flower head seems a bit of a lost cause. But I like to try stuff just to see what happens. Call it a science experiment. You never know! I'd keep it in water for a while though, not soil.

    How interesting that there is such a lot of fennel growing wild. By a strange coincidence, I saw a bunch of fennel growing all over one garden yesterday. Maybe you need to get to know some neighbors who'd let you dig some up. That way you can also check that they didn't spray near it. And you're bound to get to know someone, and maybe even get them interested in your gardening and writing.

    Go for it Mike!

  6. Deb July 15, 2010 at 1:20 pm -

    hmmmm have seen those plants when visiting CA. had no idea that was fennel. Good luck with your experiment.

  7. Mike Lieberman July 15, 2010 at 1:25 pm -

    Thanks Allison. The stuff really is everywhere.

  8. Mike Lieberman July 15, 2010 at 1:25 pm -

    It's hard not to see in CA.

  9. Alison July 19, 2010 at 5:19 am -

    Entering contest to win seed packets! not sure how many times i can post…

  10. Mike Lieberman July 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm -

    The contest post is up. Need to post over there. Thanks.

  11. Alison July 21, 2010 at 3:48 am -

    LOL thanks

  12. Manure Tea Gardening May 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm -

    it might, if not head back out pick some more and dry for seed, then plant some. There might be a side business for you harvest the free growing herb and sell it! You could be the wild Fennel booth at the next Farm to Market sharing your Urban Organic Garden ideas and turning folks on to Fennel : ) 

  13. Peg Wolfe May 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm -

     From the link:  

    “Fennel will reproduce from both root crown and seed. Seeds are dispersed by water and on vehicles and clothing. Birds and rodents eat the seeds and may disperse them as well.” 

    Dig up a clump and give it a shot!  Fennel pollen is absolutely delicious as a spice/condiment.  Worth the trouble, IMO! 

  14. Mike Lieberman May 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm -

    I like it Annie. 

  15. Mike Lieberman May 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm -

    True. True. 

  16. Sylvain Picker February 18, 2012 at 8:27 am -

    Finding markets for wild plants, especially edible and medicinal weeds may be a good way to enhance peoples diets and help the environment because these plants obviously do not need any chemicals to grow. And weeds are often way more nutritious than vegetables.

  17. Sam February 21, 2013 at 4:36 pm -

    Hi there,I live in Sydney Australia,and have been unable to find a way of growing the wild fennel,because of the unavalability of seeds.Do you know where I would be able to obtain them?.

  18. sister_petra September 6, 2015 at 2:35 pm -

    If it’s a weed, I can grow it LOL!!

  19. Cheryl April 23, 2018 at 2:57 am -

    What was the outcome? Did the fennel grow? Wild fennel does not have a bulb.

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