Fennel, Dill & Parsley and Heat

Panoply76(8)March 22, 2014


I am an amateur butterfly gardener. Many butterflies use fennel, dill and parsley as host plants - plants they lay their eggs on and their cats eat.
My problem is that I live in south Louisiana and the summertime heat and humidity kill off my fennel and dill. This year (only my 3rd year of butterfly gardening - or any gardening for that matter), I thought I'd try potting them so I could move them around - keep them out of the sun when it got too hot. All's well now, they are growing fine as it isn't very hot yet. Last year I planted a single Fennel in early Fall, when it just started to cool off, and it did great - got very large (nearly 3 feet) and played host to some beautiful black swallowtail b-fly cats. Sadly, I missed covering it up for a couple of freezes - we had an exceptionally cold (for us) winter, and it died. No sign of it returning. Anyway. I'm hoping I can do this year round, grow these herbs.
I am hoping that one of you know how I can best maximize the ability of my herbs to thrive and still be accessible to b-flies. Will keeping them out of the sun be sufficient? I mean it will still be very hot in the shade and the humidity will be the same. I put in a single 'Bronze Fennel' as a friend told me it was more heat tolerant. Is that right? I've 2 Fennel (3 including the bronze), 3 Dill and one Parsley. ANY and ALL tips are very much welcome.


PS: I have no idea if parsley is affected by heat as this is my first time using it. I potted it just the same, though. Will the parsley shrug off the heat like fennel and dill cannot?

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CA Kate

I'd put the fennel where it gets morning sun only.

I have my parsley in a pot, in full CA summer sun and it survived last summer just fine.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 12:27AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Fennel grows in the Mediterranean, so I don't see any reason to protect it from sun. It grows wild near the sea here and can take salt winds and exposure. It is perennial and self seeds like crazy so if you had it in flower last year I wouldn't be surprised if you find seedlings. It gets a big tap root so is not really suited to pot culture. It's hard to weed out because the roots are so tenacious.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 3:35AM
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weedlady(Central OH 6)

Parsley is a biennial, so you'll normally only have foliage the first year. In spring of the 2nd year it will send up flower stalks, ripen seed, and then die. I plant some new each year since the previous year's plants send up a nice early flush of foliage for a number of weeks before fading and that I can use until the new plants reach harvestable size.

Weirdly, the parsley plants I started myself from seed last spring bolted to flowers the same year. I am in central Ohio, U.S., where we had unusually high temps for most of the summer, so I am guessing that is why. Have never had this happen before.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 3:44PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I'm in Western NY State (not all that far from you) and have seen parsley bolt same year after a hot summer. It was, howver, the best year for the self-sowing it can do. Those late-summer/fall dropped seeds sprouted into a wonderfully thick parsley patch come the next spring!


    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:45AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have never grown Fennel but I grow parsley and dill every year. They both like cool weather and can thrive with less sun in partial shade. The only difference is that dill is annual and it is not cold hardy but can stay live till first frost. I usually grow fern dill though.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 6:37AM
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Dill just doesn't do well here at all, so I skip it. Italian parsley goes until it seeds out, so you have to replace it eventually. I've found that Bronze Fennel is quite long-lasting here. Regular fennel does well, but eventually it has to be replaced..

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 3:15AM
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