Fennel: Florence (Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum)
Soil Preparation & Start Indoors
Transplant Outdoors & Start Outdoors
Harvesting & Storage
Culinary & Medicinal
Nutrition & Health Benefits
Also Known As: Sweet Fennel, Anise, Florence Fennel, Finnochio, Bulbing Fennel.
Native Range: Mediterranean
Ease of Growing: Moderate
Grown as: Perennial
Maturity (Blooms): June to July
Hardiness: Hardy. Fennel is fairly hardy and prefers cooler temperatures.
Crops: Spring Transplant, Spring, Fall
Growing Season: Short, Long
Growing Conditions: Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot. Fennel needs rich soil and cool growing temperatures. Keep plants well-watered throughout the growing season.
Outdoor Growing Temp: 45°F - 90°F
Min Outdoor Soil Temp: 50°F. Fennel is native to coastal areas and prefers a cool climate.
Start Indoors: Yes
Start Outdoors: Yes
Light: Full Sun. Min. 6 hours daily (Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot). Fennel likes full sun and can tolerate hotter and drier conditions that most crops.
Water: Medium. The soil should be kept evenly moist for rapid growth, but be careful because Fennel doesn't like wet soil. A mulch will help to conserve moisture in warm weather.
Feeder: Light. Fennel is a fairly light feeder and doesn't need very rich soil.
Suitability: Drought tolerant, Tolerates light frost, Needs lots of space
Small Gardens?: No
Containers?: Yes. Fennel is a good option for container growing. Choose containers that are 10 to 16" wide and with room for at least 30" of soil. Make sure your pot has drainage holes. Line the bottom with gravel and cover with potting soil. Water evenly to moisten the soil and place in an area with full sunlight. Keep the soil moist but not soaked, making sure that the soil does not dry out.
Attracts Beneficial Insects?: Yes. Flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. Fennel is a larval plant for certain swallowtail butterflies. Also tolerates Deer.
Plant Height: 48-72"
Sow Depth: 1/4"
Produces: a rounded celery-like stalk with green, feathery foliage and umbrella shaped heads of tiny yellow flowers.
USDA Grow Zone: 4-10
Garden Uses: Borders, vegetable gardens, herb gardens, cottage gardens or meadows. Good plant for a butterfly garden. Seeds are commonly harvested for use as flavoring in a variety of foods such as bakery products or sausages. Chopped leaves may be used as flavoring for salads, potatoes or fish.
Soil pH: 6-8, Ideal 7-8. Fennel will grow in most soils, but prefers a rich, well-drained, alkaline soil with moderate nitrogen. It doesn't need very much phosphorus or potassium.
Lime (Calcium), 5 pounds per 100 sq. ft., 1 time: Fennel prefers an alkaline soil, so it's good to lime the soil if your soil has a low pH
Compost (Nitrogen), 2 inches, 1 time: Incorporate 2˝ of compost into the top 6" of soil before planting. Fennel will be most productive in a moderately fertile soil.
Soil temp for germination: 50°F to 90°F, optimal 60°F to 80°F, optimal 70°F
Total weeks to grow transplant: (Spring/Summer), (Fall/Winter)
How: Dig a hole 4 to 6" deep (depending on the container size). Gently squeeze the sides of the container to release the soil. Remove the plant and soil from the container and place into hole. Surround with additional soil, but don't bury the base of the plant. Give a good watering.
Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot: Fennel needs rich soil and cool growing temperatures. Keep plants well-watered throughout the growing season.
When outdoor temp: 45°F to 90°F, optimal temp 65°F to 75°F.
When min soil temp: 50°F: Fennel is native to coastal areas and prefers a cool climate.
Spacing: 12.0"-14.0", 1 plants per sq ft. Space fennel 12" apart to allow ample room for the plants to mature.
When outdoor temp: 45°F to 90°F, optimal temp 65°F to 75°F
When min soil temp: 50°F. Fennel is native to coastal areas and prefers a cool climate.
Seed Depth: 0.25"-0.5". Sow seeds 1/4" to 1/2" deep.
Spacing: 12"-14", 1 plants per sq ft. Space fennel 12" apart to allow ample room for the plants to mature.
Water Needs: Moderate. The soil should be kept evenly moist for rapid growth, but be careful because Fennel doesn't like wet soil. A mulch will help to conserve moisture in warm weather.
Fertilizer Needs: Light. Fennel is a fairly light feeder and doesn't need very rich soil.
Watering: Water, 0.5 inches, every 1 week. Watering also depends on your local weather; don't water if it's raining, or water more frequently if it's dry. Just be sure to keep the soil somewhat moist but never soggy for the best crop. The best way to know how much moisture is in your soil is to feel 2" below the soil line. If it's dry, water.
Does not create a bulb, use for foliage and seeds only.
Storage Req: Dry
Storage Temp: 50-70°F
Storage Length: 1-180 days
Green Fennel doesn't dry well and is best used fresh. It can be kept in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week.
Storage Req: Refrigerator
Storage Temp: 35-40°F
Storage Length: 1-7 days
Seed Viability in Years: 2 - 4 years
Mellow anise-flavored seeds, and licorice flavored foliage.
Fennel can be used raw or cooked as in braising, grilling or stewing. The unique flavor of fennel can be used to create an infused broth which can be used with fish or as an additive to other dishes.
Leaves: raw or cooked. A delicious aniseed flavor, the young leaves are best since older ones soon become tough. They are often used as a garnish on raw or cooked dishes and make a very pleasant addition to salads. They help to improve digestion and so are particularly useful with oily foods. The leaves are difficult to store dried, though this does not really matter since they can often be harvested all year round, especially if the plants are in a warm, sheltered position.
Leaf stalks and flower heads: raw or cooked. A similar aniseed flavor to the leaves. The aromatic seeds are used as a flavoring in cakes, bread, stuffings etc. They have a similar flavor to the leaves and also improve the digestion. The sprouted seeds can be added to salads. An essential oil from the fully ripened and dried seed is used as a food flavoring in similar ways to the whole seed. Root - cooked. Somewhat parsnip-like. The leaves or the seeds can be used to make a pleasant-tasting herbal tea.
Known Hazard: Skin contact with the sap or essential oil is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. Ingestion of the oil can cause vomiting, seizures and pulmonary oedema.
Companions: Plant fennel in an ornamental border rather than in or near a vegetable garden. Its lacy leaves and airy flower heads combine well with flowering ornamentals. Wasps and other beneficials are attracted by the flowers.
Enemies: Coriander planted nearby is reputed to prevent fennel from forming seeds.
To attract Ladybugs to your garden you will need to grow: Angelica, Calendula, Caraway, Chives, Cilantro, Cosmos,
Dill, Fennel, Feverfew, Marigold, Statice, Sweet Alyssum, and Yarrow. You may also want to grow decoy crops to keep your ladybugs supplied with aphids to eat such as Early cabbage, Marigold, Nasturtium, and Radish. Without a food source, your ladybugs will be forced to leave which will leave your crops vulnerable.
Soft-winged Flower Beetle or Collops Beetle: Collops beetles are commonly found on Alfalfa and Cotton plants in agricultural fields, landscapes and gardens. The adult eats aphids and the larvae are active predators in the soil. Two abundant species in Utah are the two-spotted melyrid and the soft-winged flower beetle. Collops beetles are not commercially available.
Soldier Beetles: The adult stage of the soldier beetle eats aphids. The larvae live in the soil and help to control soil-borne pests. There are beetles that look similar to soldier beetles such as blister beetles and click beetles, so use care when identifying them. Soldier beetles are not commercially available.
Since Soldiers Beetles lay their eggs in the soil, all you have to do to is grow good nectar or pollen producing plants like Asclepias (milkweed), Solidago (goldenrod), and, while it’s not well understood, they seem particularly attracted to hydrangeas. Soldier Beetles can be found on flowers where they lie and wait for prey. They also feed on nectar and pollen but do not damage the plants.
Long-legged Flies: There are many species of long-legged flies (Dolichopodidae), the adults of which are predators of soft-bodied pests such as thrips, aphids, spider mites, flea hoppers, booklice, flies, silverfish, small caterpillars, and a variety of other small insects. They also eat nectar from flowers. The adult is recognized by the long legs and tapered abdomen but also by the metalic green or blue color. Larvae of long-legged flies are maggot-like in appearance and develop in wet or dry soil, rotting vegetation, or under bark. They are not commercially available.
Syrphid, Flower, or Hover Flies: Syrphid flies are about the size of house flies and hover in flight. The adults, which sometimes resemble bees, are not predaceous, but the larvae are aphid predators. The larvae vary in color from green to brown, some with a stripe or two down the back. The body tapers to the mouthparts. Syrphid flies are not commercially available.
To attract Hover Flies to your garden try growing: Fern-leaf yarrow (Achillea ﬁlipendulina), Common yarrow
(Achillea millefolium), Carpet bugleweed (Ajuga reptans), Lavender globe lily (Allium tanguticum), Basket of Gold (Alyssum saxatilis), Dill (Anethum graveolens), Golden Marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria), Dwarf alpine aster (Aster alpinus), Masterwort (Astrantia major), \Four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), Purple poppy mallow (Callirhoe involucrata), Caraway (Carum carvi), Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium), Coriander (Coriandrum sativum),
Cosmos white sensation (Cosmos bipinnatus), Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota), Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum CA), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Poached egg plant (Limnanthes douglasii), Statice (Limonium latifolium), Butter and eggs (Linaria vulgaris), Edging lobelia (Lobelia erinus), Sweet alyssum white (Lobularia maritima), Lemon Balm (Melissa ofﬁcinalis), Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Wild Bergamot (Monarda ﬁstulosa), Rocky Mountain penstemon (Penstemon strictus), Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), Sulfur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta ‘warrenii’), Alpine cinquefoil (Potentilla villosa), Gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia fulgida), Orange stonecrop (Sedum kamtschaticum), Stonecrops (Sedum spurium), Peter Pan goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), Wood betony (Stachys ofﬁcinalis), Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia), Crimson thyme (Thymus serpylum coccineus), Spike speedwell (Veronica spicata), Zinnia "liliput" (Zinnia elegans).
Predaceous Midges: The larvae of these flies are very small (~1/10 inch long), but are generalist predators of mites, aphids and other soft-bodied insects. The larvae are yellow to orange in color. The adults are not predatory. Predaceous midges are commercially available.
Damsel Bugs: These true bugs are very common and abundant in farms, gardens and landscapes. They are generalist predators and both the adults and nymphs eat aphids, caterpillar eggs, small larvae, fleahoppers, lygus bugs, leafhoppers, treehoppers, spider mites, and other soft-bodied insects, especially on shorter growing plants. They are common in agricultural habitats, such as soybean, corn, and alfalfa. Damsel bugs are greyish brown in color and have grasping front legs. They are not commercially available.
To attract Damsel Bugs to your garden you will need to grow: Caraway (Carum carvi), Cosmos “white sensation” (Cosmos bipinnatus), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Peter Pan Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), and Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia).
Big-eyed Bugs: Big-eyed bugs are small (~3/16 inch long), fast moving true bugs. They are generalist predators and are most commonly seen on the ground or in shorter growing plants. They prey on aphids, small caterpillars and caterpillar eggs, fleahoppers, lygus bugs, mites, thrips, whiteflies. They are distinguished by their very large eyes which are as broad as the width of their body. Big-eyed bugs are not available commercially.
To attract Big-eyed bugs to your garden you will need to grow: Caraway (Carum carvi), Cosmos “white sensation” (Cosmos bipinnatus), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Peter Pan Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), and Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia).
Minute Pirate Bugs: Minute pirate bugs are very small (~1/12 inch long) predators that are difficult to see without a hand lens or jeweler’s loupe. They are generalist predators that feed on small insect prey. Both the nymphs and adults are predaceous. The adults are identified by the black and white color and an X pattern across the back. The nymphs are tiny and red to orange in color. Minute pirate bugs are commercially available.
To attract Minute Pirate Bugs to your garden you will need to grow: Caraway (Carum carvi), Cosmos “white sensation” (Cosmos bipinnatus), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Peter Pan Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), and Marigold “lemon gem” (Tagetes tenuifolia).
Lacewings: Green lacewings are common generalist predators that feed on aphids. Brown lacewings are slightly smaller. Some species of adult lacewings are predaceous while the larvae are very active predators that feed on soft-bodied prey such as mites, aphids, leafhoppers, thrips, whiteflies, and pest eggs. Lacewings in nearly all life stages are commercially available.
To attract Lacewings to your garden you will need to grow: Fern-leaf yarrow (Achillea ﬁlipendulina), Dill (Anethum graveolens), Angelica (Angelica gigas), Golden marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria), Four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), Purple poppy mallow (Callirhoe involucrata), Caraway (Carum carvi), Coriander (Coriandrum sativum),
Cosmos white sensation (Cosmos bipinnatus), Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Prairie sunﬂower (Helianthus maximilianii), Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), Dandelion (Taraxacum ofﬁcinale).
Parasitic Wasps: There are several species of parasitoid wasps that parasitize aphids specifically. Parasitic wasps that specialize on aphids are very small (~1/8 inch long) and female wasps have a modified stinger for depositing eggs. The egg is injected into an aphid where the larva develops inside. Parasitized aphids are a light tan to gold color and have a bulbous look. A circular cut out on the rearend of the aphid indicates adult wasp emergence. Parasitic wasps are commercially available but there are abundant populations in the environment.
Hornets, Paper Wasps, Yellow Jackets: Although hornets, paper wasps and yellow jackets are often considered a nuisance, they are predators of soft-bodied insects. They do not typically sting humans unless they are disturbed. If their nests are not in an area likely to be disturbed by people then it is not a bad idea to leave them alone.
To attract Earwigs to your garden you will need to grow: Celery (Apium graveolens), Beets (Beta vulgaris, Cabbages, Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea/Brassica rapa), Cucumber (Cucumis sativus), Dahlia, Carrot (Daucus carota), Carnation (Dianthus), Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus), Strawberry (Fragaria ananassa), Hop (Humulus lupulus), Lettuce (Lactuca sativa), Lupin (Lupinus angustifolius), Apple (Malus domestica), Apricot (Prunus armeniaca), Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium), Plum (Prunus domestica), Peach (Prunus persica), European Pear (Pyrus communis), Rhubarb (Rheum hybridum), Roses (Rosa), Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), Potato (Solanum tuberosum), Grapevine (Vitis vinifera), Corn (Zea mays), Zinnia
Ground Beetles: Prey on snails, slugs, ants, maggots, earthworms, caterpillars, armyworms, grubs, Colorado potato beetles, cutworms.
To attract Ground Beetles to your garden you will need to grow: evening primrose, amaranthus, clover.
The Health Benefits of Fennel
Indigestion: It is a common practice, particularly on the Indian Subcontinent, to chew fennel seeds after meals. This is done to facilitate digestion and to eliminate bad breath.
Some of the components of the essential oils in fennel are stimulants and they stimulate secretion of digestive and gastric juices, while reducing inflammation of the stomach and intestines, and facilitating proper absorption of nutrients from the food. Furthermore, it can eliminate constipation and thereby protect the body from a wide range of intestinal troubles that can stem from being blocked up. It also has antiacidic (basic) properties and is extensively used in antacid preparations. In culinary applications, it is also used as an ingredient of focal point of many appetizers.
Flatulence: Fennel is very popular as an antiflatulent, due to the carminative properties of the aspartic acid found in fennel. Its extract can be used by everyone, from infants to the elderly, as a way to reduce flatulence and to expel excess gas from the stomach. It is commonly used in medicines to reduce symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia and flatulence in infants and young children.
Constipation: Fennel seeds, particularly in powdered form, can act as a laxative. The roughage helps clear the bowels, whereas its stimulating effect helps maintain the proper peristaltic motion of the intestines, thereby helping promote proper excretion through the stimulation of gastric juices and bile production. Fennel is also commonly found in medicines that treat abdominal pain, diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and other intestinal issues.
Heart Disease: Fennel is a great source of fiber, as mentioned above, but besides the advantages to digestion that fiber provides, it also helps to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood stream. This means that it can stimulate the elimination damaging LDL cholesterol, which is a major factor in heart disease, artherosclerosis, and strokes.
Cancer: The raw vegetable itself hasn’t been extensively studied in regards to cancer protection, but the fennel seed extract has, and the findings regarding cancer protection are quite impressive. It shows that the extract can not only inhibit the growth of tumors, thanks to its concentrations of flavonoids, alkaloids, and phenols, but that it can even be somewhat chemo-protective against the harmful effects of radiation during cancer treatment. Fennel seed extract has been found to be preventative of various breast cancer and liver cancer strains.
Blood Pressure: Fennel is a very rich source of potassium, which is an essential nutrient in our bodies and is vital for a number of important processes. One of the attributes of potassium is its quality as a vasodilator, which means that it relaxes the tension of blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure. High blood pressure is connected to a wide range of health issues, including heart attack, stroke, and artherosclerosis. Also, for diabetic patients, blood pressure issues can make management of their insulin and glucose levels very difficult, and can be the cause of many potentially lethal complications. A cup of fennel bulb in your daily diet will pump you full of potassium and all the benefits that come along with it.
Brain Function: Potassium, found in high levels in fennel bulbs and seeds, is an electrolyte, which means that it facilitates increased electrical conduction throughout the body. This includes connections within the brain, which is a veritable switchboard of electric currents. Potassium can help increase brain function and cognitive abilities through this quality. Also, fennel is a vasodilator, which means more oxygen reaches the brain and neural activity can work at optimal functionality.
Diarrhea: Fennel is helpful in curing diarrhea if it is caused by bacterial infection, because some components of the essential oil in fennel such as anetol and cineole have disinfectant and antibacterial properties. Some amino acids, such as histidine, can aid in digestion and the proper functioning of the digestive system, thereby helping to eliminate diarrhea due to indigestion. Fennel has long been used by indigenous cultures as a way to eliminate diarrhea.
Colic: Polymeric and heavy molecules are useful in the treatment of Renal Colic. Such polymers, also called Phytoestrogens, are found in Anethole, a component of the essential oil in fennel. This attribute of fennel makes it quite helpful in the treatment of Renal Colic. Fennel has certain antispasmodic qualities which also help it relax smooth muscles and reduce the discomfort associated with the condition.
Immune System: 1 cup of fennel bulb contains almost 20% of the daily requirement of vitamin-C, which makes fennel quite a rich source of this beneficial element of our diet. Vitamin-C improves general immune system health, produces and repairs skin tissue, helps to form collagen, and also protects the blood vessel walls as an antioxidant against the harmful effects of free radicals that can frequently lead to heart disease!
Menstrual Disorders: Fennel is also an Emenagogue, meaning that it eases and regulates menstruation by properly regulating hormonal action in the body. Furthermore, fennel is used in a number of products to reduce the effects of PMS, and it is also used traditionally as a soothing pain reliever and relaxing agent for menopausal women.
Breast Enlargement: The flavonoids present in fennel seeds increase the amount of estrogen thereby acting as a stimulant and tonic. Fennel seeds helps increase the size of the breasts as they increase the formation of new cells and tissues in the breast.
Eye Care: Using fennel in food helps protect the eyes from inflammation, as well as helping to reduce disorders related to premature aging and macular degeneration. This is due to the high abundance of antioxidants (vitamin-C and amino acids like Arginine which are very beneficial for rejuvenation of tissues and the prevention of aging), detoxifiers and stimulants. They are more specifically in fennel essential oil, as well as minerals like cobalt and magnesium. Finally, the juice of fennel leaves and the plant itself can be externally applied on the eyes to reduce irritation and eye fatigue.
Fennel is also a rich source of flavonoids, which are very useful in protecting against pigment cells dying due to oxidative-stress-induced death. By protecting against this destruction of the pigment cells, fennel can safely be classified as effective in eye health for numerous reasons.
Respiratory Disorders: Fennel is useful in respiratory disorders such congestion, bronchitis, and cough due to the presence of Cineole and Anetol which are expectorant in nature, among their many other virtues. Fennel seeds and powder can help to break up phlegm and prompt loosening of the toxins and buildup of the throat and nasal passages for elimination from the body and quicker recovery from respiratory conditions.
Other Benefits: Fennel is diuretic, which means that it increases the amount and frequency of urination, thereby helping the removal of toxic substances from the body and helping in rheumatism and swelling. Fennel also increases production and secretion of milk in lactating mothers and since this milk contains some properties of fennel, it is an anti-flatulent for the baby as well. It strengthens hair, prevents hair loss, relaxes the body, sharpens memory and has a marvelous cooling effect in summer. This can be achieved if the pale, greenish-yellow water, in which it fennel is soaked, is ingested with a bit of sugar and black salt.
A Few Words of Caution: You must remember that there are two sides to any story and too much of anything is harmful. This is obviously true for fennel as well. Certain components of the fennel essential oil such as Anethol, and a few chemicals present in the plant itself, besides being beneficial, can be dangerous if ingested in too large of a quantity. You must remember that the compounds which can kill bacteria and microbes in low doses can be harmful for you too. Excess use of fennel can cause difficulty breathing, increased palpitations, irregular heart beat, and various neural problems.
Caraway (Carum carvi)
Chives: Garlic (Allium tuberosum)
Chives: Onion (Allium schoenoprasum var. album)
Coriander: Leisure (Coriandrum sativum)
English Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
Cosmos: Bright Lights (Cosmos sulphureus)
Cosmos: Candy Stripe (Cosmos bipinnatus)
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Cosmos: Radiance (Cosmos bipinnatus)
Dill: Dukat (Anethum graveolens)
Marigolds: Naughty Marietta (Tagetes patula)
Marigolds: Sparky Mix French (Tagetes patula)
Marigold: White (Tagetes Erecta 'Kilimanjaro')
Commonly called African marigold, Aztec marigold, American marigold or big marigold, is native to Mexico and Central America. Big marigold may be the best descriptive name because plants are noted for their large flowerheads. They typically grow from 1-4’ tall and feature huge, mostly double-globular flowers (2-4” diameter) in various shades of yellow, orange, and whitish. This variety is unaffected by high summer heat and generally blooms throughout the summer.
Yarrow: Red (Achillea millefolium rubra)
Yarrow: White (Achillea millefolium)
Nasturtiums: Jewel Mix (Tropaeolum minus)
Nasturtiums: Empress of India (Tropaeolum minus)
Radish: Early Scarlet Globe (Heirloom) (Raphanus sativus)
Radish: German Giant (Heirloom) (Raphanus sativus)
Radish: Watermelon (Heirloom) (Raphanus sativus)
The Watermelon radish is a type of Japanese winter radish also known as a "daikon," which simply means "large root" in Japanese. Daikon radishes account for the largest percentage of any cultivated vegetable in Japan, and can be found in some form in nearly every meal of that country. Watermelon radishes, which orginated in north China near Beijing, are often served sweetened there as a dessert or fruit.
Radish: White Spear Sprouting (Heirloom) (Raphanus sativus)
Milkweed: Blood Flower (Asclepias curassavica)
Milkweed: Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Milkweed: Common (Asclepias syriaca)
Milkweed: Showy (Asclepias speciosa)
Milkweed: Swamp (Asclepias incarnata)
As the name indicates, these swamp milkweed seeds for sale thrive in swamps and low meadows or along streams. The bright pink flowers attract swarms of bees and butterflies, and have a sweet scent described as similar to vanilla or cinnamon. At one time, the silk from swamp milkweed seed pods was spun for fabric or used for stuffing pillows; in World War II, school children gathered the silk to provide a cheap filling for soldiers' life jackets. Commercial attempts to make use of this abundant plant included the manufacture of paper, fabric, lubricant, fuel, and rubber; eventually these became impractical and were abandoned. Though this plant is toxic to most animals, butterflies are immune to the plant's poison and actually become rather poisonous themselves as protection from predators.
Poached Egg Plant (Limnanthes douglasii)
This native species was first discovered by David Douglas, a Scottish botanist commissioned to collect native American plants suitable for the gardens of Great Britain. The species name "douglasii" honors his discovery, while the genus name "Limnanthes" means "marsh flower" because of this plant's preference for moist soil. This fragrant butterfly magnet has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's prestigious Award of Garden Merit.
Balm: Lemon (Melissa officinalis)
Mint: Pennyroyal (Mentha Pulegium)
Mint: Spear (Mentha spicata)
Bergamot: Wild (Monarda fistulosa)
Penstemon: Rocky Mountain (Penstemon strictus)
Parsley: Italian Giant (Heirloom) (Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum)
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Corn: Country Gentleman-Open Pollinated (Heirloom) (Zea mays)
Corn: Golden Bantam-Open Pollinated (Heirloom) (Zea mays)
Corn, Popcorn: Shaman's Blue (Hybrid) Open Pollinated (Zea mays)
Blue corn originated in the Andes Mountains of Peru, where the native peoples usually ground it into flour for cooking. Indians of Mexico and the southwestern United States also widely used this corn, since its dryness made it an excellent flour corn and gave it good resistance to disease. This exciting blue popcorn receives high marks for both visual and taste appeal. The unique blue/purple kernel pops into mounds of snow white popcorn that will satisfy any popcorn lover with its slightly sweet flavor.
Celery: Tendercrisp (Heirloom) (Apium graveolens var. dulce)
Celery: Utah Tall 52/70 (Heirloom) (Apium graveolens var. dulce)
Beets: Detroit Dark Red (Heirloom) (Beta vulgaris)
Beets: Golden Detroit (Heirloom) (Beta vulgaris)
Beets seem to have originated in the Mediterranean region, where people grew them for thousands of years. Later, beets grew in Germany and Holland and were used as cattle fodder; they were later imported to England for this purpose, but the poor began to raise them for an affordable food source. American colonists later brought them to the New World, where they became a commonly enjoyed food both for their roots and their greens. According to historians, George Washington experimented with beets, cross-pollinating them to create new varieties.
Cabbage: Early Jersey Wakefield (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
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Cabbage: Late Flat Dutch (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Cabbage: Red Acre (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Cabbage is considered one of the oldest cultivated vegetables, since historians trace it back to 4,000 BC in China. The Romans also cultivated it and praised it for its healing qualities; philosophers Pythagoras and Cato both made the lowly cabbage the subject of a book. Jacques Cartier brought the first cabbage to America in 1536. Cabbages were quite popular in colonial America, being pickled and preserved in every possible way to provide food for the winter.
Cabbage, Chinese: Pak Choi (Heirloom) (Brassica rapa var. chinensis)
Cauliflower: Snowball Y Improved (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis)
Cucumber: Marketmore 76' (Heirloom) (Cucumis sativus)
Cucumber: Mexican Sour Gherkin (Heirloom) (Melothria scabra)
Cucumber: National Pickling (Heirloom) (Cucumis sativus)
Cucumber: Sumter (Heirloom) (Cucumis sativus)
Cucumber: Straight Eight (Heirloom) (Cucumis sativus)
Cucumber: Wisconsin SMR 58 (Heirloom) (Cucumis sativus)
Carrots: Chantenay Red Cored (Heirloom) (Daucus carota)
Carrots: Cosmic Purple (Heirloom) (Daucus carota)
Carrots: Danvers (Heirloom) (Daucus carota)
Carrots: Rainbow Blend (Heirloom) (Daucus carota)
Carrots: Scarlet Nantes (Heirloom) (Daucus carota)
Carrots: Tendersweet (Heirloom) (Daucus carota)
Lettuce: Bibb (Heirloom) (Lactuca sativa)
Lettuce: Freckles Romaine (Heirloom) (Lactuca sativa)
Lettuce: Oakleaf (Heirloom) (Lactuca sativa)
Lettuce: Red Romaine (Heirloom) (Lactuca sativa)
Rhubarb: Victoria (Heirloom) (Rheum x coltorum)
Tomato: Amana Orange (Heirloom) (Lycopersicon lycopersicum)
Tomato: Beefsteak (Heirloom) (Lycopersicon lycopersicum)
Tomato: Green Zebra (Heirloom) (Lycopersicon lycopersicum)
Tomato: Sweetie Cherry (Heirloom) (Lycopersicon lycopersicum)
Tomato: Yellow Pear (Heirloom) (Lycopersicon lycopersicum)
Zinnia: Canary Bird (Zinnia elegans)
Zinnia: Cherry Queen (Zinnia elegans)
Zinnia: Exquisite (Zinnia elegans)
A unique and colorful Zinnia that offers a range of shades. Exquisite Zinnia is an easy to grow annual that blooms bright red and fades to soft rose pink as the blooms age. Definitely a favorite of gardeners, florists, or anyone who loves cut flowers.