(tips on growing fennel in your garden)
Fennel’s strong aroma and flavor make it a garden favorite. Unfortunately, those same attributes make it a poor companion plant; or does it?
Fennel companion planting options are thought to be limited and many 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
Conventional wisdom tells us that fennel is a highly aromatic and slightly odd plant that is pretty much a poor companion plant for everything.
Fennel companion planting is thought to only work when growing dill. However, even dill might be a poor choice because the two herbs tend to cross-pollinate.
Is fennel truly a bad companion plant?
I’ve begun to wonder if fennel’s reputation as a bad companion plant is based on Internet rumors rather than fact. We’ve all seen it. Once one person (who may or may not be worth listening too) proclaims something, others repeat those claims and it suddenly becomes accepted as fact. With fennel and companion planting, I may have fallen victim to that as well. We’ve not grown fennel, yet. Therefore, this article was fully researched rather than fully experienced.
This fennel companion planting article has become much more informative thanks to several of our visitors and I truly thank them for that. A number of you have contradicted the conventional wisdom that companion planting fennel is a recipe for disaster. Instead, they report fennel makes a wonderful companion plant. We’ve not had one comment that tells a tale of woe from the results of fennel being a bad neighbor to other plants.
I suspect, like with so much else in gardening, there are often too many factors to say ‘this always works’ or ‘this will not work’ for certainty. After reading the experiences of Colby and other herb gardeners; and since fennel has the reputation as a great insect repellant (the bad guys) and attracts the good insects, I would give it a try and see how it goes.
Fennel & Insects.
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.