Freesia is a genus of about 16 species of flowering plants in the family Iridaceae, indigenous to the eastern side of southern Africa. The fruit is a capsule about 1 cm long, containing numerous seeds. In many species the leaf bases produce bulbils and in some species such as F.refracta these form replacement bulbs around the mother bulb, aiding vegetative propagation.
Freesias are widely grown for their attractive flowers, which are often intensely scented. Available in a range of colors from white to purple, or yellow and greenish-yellow, they can be used in bouquets or pots, but usually have a short vase life if cut. They are sometimes referred to as “Lent lilies”.
The name Freesia honors German botanist Friedrich Freese who first discovered them in South Africa in 1818.
There are several types of freesias and each possesses different characteristics.
Colors: Freesia flowers come in many colors, including white, purple, yellow, pink, and orange.
Fragrance: Some freesia flowers have a strong, sweet fragrance and others have a milder scent.
Size: Freesias can range from 6 inches to 2 feet in height depending on the species.
Four Different Types of Freesia Plants:
Freesias are fragrant, colorful flowers that you can grow in your garden, in pots, or even indoors. They’re easy to plant and maintain, and they’ll produce gorgeous blooms for years to come.
Here’s how to get started:
1. First, decide whether you want to plant a freesia bulb, or a container of bulbs with soil included. Freesia bulbs are often sold online. If you’re planting from seed, check out our guide on how to start freesias from scratch!
2. Once you have your bulbs, choose a spot for planting. Freesias love lots of sun, so make sure the soil is well-drained and sunny. You can also plant them in pots or planters to give them more sunlight and drainage than what they might get in the ground.
3. If you’re planting your freesias in pots or planters, add some potting soil before adding the bulbs. It should be moist but not wet—just enough to keep the bulbs steady when they’re planted.
Freesia plants do best in warm climates with lots of sun and well-drained soil – if possible, plant them where they’ll get at least six hours of sunlight
The freesia plant requires a little patience, as the process of growing these plants from seeds takes about four months. If you want to take care of this plant, you must understand its needs such as the right light, soil, water, fertilizers, temperature, and humidity.
Freesias prefer well-drained soil that has been enriched with organic matter before planting. The use of fertilizer is not necessary because the bulbs will provide their nutrients. They should be planted with their pointed tips facing up, approximately two inches underneath the soil surface.
Full sun is best for Freesia plant growth. The bulbs can tolerate some shade but will produce longer stems if they receive plenty of sunlight. If you live in a warm climate and are concerned about the hot summer sun damaging your freesias, it is possible to plant them in late summer and early fall so they can get established before the heat sets in; then you can transplant them once the weather cools down.
Freesias must be watered regularly throughout their growing season, to keep the soil moist without drowning them. Once the blossoms appear, stop watering altogether for about three days.
The freesia plant requires fertilizer to grow properly. Use a balanced fertilizer such as 8-8-8. The Freesia Society recommends using fertilizer once a month while the plant is actively growing. Fertilize the plant at half strength once a month in winter if it is planted in pots.
Temperature and Humidity
The freesia plant grows best in warm temperatures. Keep it in an area that receives lots of sunlight and where the temperature remains between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
The freesia is an evergreen plant that produces unique flowers. It is very easy to propagate freesia. You can do it in two ways, by rhizome or by seed.
Find out how to propagate freesia with this step by step guide:
The easiest thing to do is to buy one or two flowering plants and dig them up while they are dormant, that is to say, between January and March. Dig up a section of the rhizome (underground part of the stem), which is where you will find the buds. Cut out several sections with at least 3 buds each. Remove all the leaves from the rhizomes, leaving only 1 cm above each bud. Let them dry for 3 days in a well-ventilated area before planting them again. In general, the distance between plants should be about 30 cm with a depth of 10 cm (4 inches deep).
1. Collect freesia seeds after the flowers have faded and died back in the fall. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of moist sand in a zipper-lock plastic bag. Add the seeds, seal the bag and place it in your refrigerator for 1 month.
2. Fill a 4-inch pot with a mix of half potting soil and half perlite.
3. Sow the freesia seed on top of the soil, then cover it with a thin layer of soil. Water lightly to moisten the soil, then keep it moist until germination occurs, which should take 10 to 14 days.
4. Transplant each seedling into its pot after germination occurs, using a 3-inch pot filled with potting soil and perlite.
5. Place the potted freesia seedlings in a bright, warm location that gets at least six hours of sunlight daily and keep them indoors during winter months in USDA zones 5 through 9 where they are not cold tolerant. Plant your freesia outdoors when temperatures remain above 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night and daytime temperatures are 70 to 75 F.
Pest and Disease Control
Pests are organisms that cause damage to the plant. They can be insects, animals, mites, or pathogens. Pest control is a method used to reduce or eliminate the population of pests in a garden.
Disease control is used to prevent or slow down the spread of any disease.
The following strategies can be used to control pests and diseases:
Crop rotation is a strategy where different crops are planted in a specific area in each season. Crop rotation aims to break the life cycle of pests and diseases and it also helps improve soil quality as certain crops consume different nutrients than others.
Companion planting is a strategy where plants are planted near each other that have proven benefits for each other’s growth and health.
Mulching – this is a strategy where materials like straw, leaves, or grass clippings are placed around plants to help keep weeds out, retain moisture, and protect from frost and strong winds in winter. Mulching also releases nutrients into the soil as it breaks down over time.
Hand-picking – this is a strategy where you remove pests from your garden by hand (usually with gloves). This method doesn’t kill the pest but removes them from your garden.
The best way to limit the impact of pests and diseases on your plants is to take action before they become a problem. Because once a plant has been affected by an insect or disease, it might be too late to save it.