Difference Between Bronze Fennel and ‘Smoky’ Fennel
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Gloria
Posted on: May 23, 2005

I was wondering if you could please tell me the difference between bronze fennel and smoky fennel? Do the butterflies hatch on both plants? I tried to find these today, but I could only find smoky. How much is a bronze fennel plant to ship to the zip 62816?

The fennel variety ‘Smoky’ is a type of bronze fennel. Over the years we have seen several different red or bronze fennel varieties offered on the market, but the differences between them are minor. We do not feel that the differences are sufficiently significant, so we put them all under the "bronze fennel" designation. In fact, the current seeds and plants we are selling are of the ‘Smoky’ variety. Butterflies are unlikely to discriminate among the various bronze fennel varieties.

I wanted to make a small butterfly garden, just for fun and enjoyment, in a limited space, what is your suggestion?

Please see: http://www.richters.com/show.cgi?page=./QandA/Growing/19980331-68.html

When I plant the smoky fennel, should I mulch with a cypress mulch? What do you use to mulch herbs such as chives, pineapple sage, dill, etc?

I have no experience with cypress mulch, but if it affects soil pH signicantly then I would avoid it. Otherwise, I don’t see a problem using it. We use mulch in different ways depending on the crop: for perennial crops such as chives we use nursery fabric covered with bark chips. The nursery fabric allows moisture to get to the roots, but prevents weeds from penetrating. However, nursery fabric is not ideal for annuals and tender perennials that are planted annually. In that case we use bark chips alone.

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