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Fennel Companions

Growing Fennel

(tips on growing fennel in your garden)

Neighbor's beautiful fennel plant. Isn't it pretty against her stone wall.

Neighbor’s beautiful fennel plant. Isn’t it pretty against her stone wall.

Fennel’s strong aroma and flavor make it a garden favorite. Unfortunately, those same attributes make it a poor companion plant.

Fennel companion planting options are limited and we strongly recommend to any gardener who is considering adding fennel to their garden to be mindful of what plants do not do well when planted near fennel. Be sure to also check out our guides on growing fennel and companion planting with herbs.

Fennel Companion Planting

Fennel is a highly aromatic and slightly odd plant that is pretty much a poor companion plant for everything.

Fennel companion planting generally only works when growing dill. However, even dill is a poor choice because the two herbs tend to cross-pollinate.

Fennel & Insects.

Fennel Flower being polinated by a parasitoid wasp

Fennel Flower being polinated by a parasitoid wasp

Fennel attracts a variety of beneficial insects including ladybugs, syrphid flies, tachninid flies, beneficial parasitoid wasps and hoverflies and other beneficial predator insects to your garden. Aphids are said to find fennel exceptionally offensive and are strongly repelled by it.

Fennel as a flea repellant.

Fennel is a strong repellent for fleas. An old gardening mantra suggested to “plant fennel near your kennel” to protect your pooch from fleas. Dried fennel leaves will provide additional flea deterrence when put inside the dog house or kennel.

Additional Fennel Information

(Fæniculum officinale, All.)

To learn more about growing fennel be sure to check out our fennel fact sheet. And to find out how fennel was used during medieval times to prevent ghosts from entering dwellings and other historical and modern uses for fennel, read our article on fennel history and uses.

7 thoughts on “Fennel Companions”

  1. Everywhere I look this up, I read that fennel is not compatible with other vegetables and herbs, and can hinder their growth. I have never found this true. I grow a very mixed garden, and have always planted fennel wherever I have the space, whether next to beans, onions, beets, kale, etc. I have never had any sort of problem at all…in fact, if anything, the plants near the fennel seem to fare a little better when up against the pests that come. And my plants, the fennel and whatever company it keeps, grow large and robust. I have been doing this with the same results for over 11 years. 🙂

    1. I’ve never grown fennel. Being honest, this article was fully researched; not fully experienced. I’m appreciative (despite the hideously long time I took to respond) that you shared your experience with growing fennel. Seems like the fennel may be a great pest deterrent for the very reasons so many are proclaiming it to be a poor companion plant.

  2. I too have read only negative posts about fennel as companion plants. I find it very discouraging to grow this lovely plant as I don’t believe in mono culture. This year I will follow your experience and inter plant fennel as space allows. Thank you for giving this plant a chance in your garden.

  3. I also have grown fennel, mostly for its beauty and fragrance. I have grown it beside tomatoes and peppers and have never had negative experiences. It is lovely, and a great fill in in the flower garden.

  4. I have also grown fennel, for the first time, in a spare spot in my garden. I had a bed of rainbow chard, broccoli & cauliflower & garlic on one side and a bed of snow peas on the other. Everything has thrived! Now that it’s spring, I have my hops plants coming to life under the fennel and even passionflower. My thoughts are, it’s fragrant/pungent aroma has kept bugs away. I will try growing it closer to my cabbages next season as they didn’t fare well with bugs this year!

    1. I have to admit that I’ve not grown fennel. Unfortunately, I have had to rely on other gardeners for information on this lovely, aromatic plant. I can’t help but wonder if it’s gotten a bad rep that it might not deserve. Thank you for sharing your experience growing fennel! Seems like the best strategy (like so many in gardening) is trial and error.

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