I've tried growing Florence Fennel in the past without much luck. Florence Fennel is suppose to grow large and bulbous just above the soil surface. Light is a big problem for me and without proper sunlight, it grows tall and skinny, with nice tops and no bottom. I figured the only way I'd have any success with fennel would be to get it up above the balcony railing at the edge of the balcony. Lots of sunlight there But as usual, I was a bit lazy this year and before I knew it, the fennel had started to grow long and lanky before I finally got it up into an adequate amount of sunlight.
Once I got it up there, it was happy until I had to do some re-arranging to get more light to some other plants. The fennel, which I had pretty much given up on, got stuck down in a shady corner and I stopped watering it regularly. After a bit of hot weather, it started to bolt. One of the plants is just starting to produce flowers.
I may uproot these and try again although I think it's getting a little late in the season to be starting fennel from seed. On the other hand, growing it into the fall means I won't have the hot weather to deal with. But with tomatoes, peppers and melons demanding all of my sunny spots, I'm not sure I can give any fennel plants the sunlight they desire.