BAGBANI


         

Freesia

 

Those who don't know freesias by name still recognize these flowers as florist favorites. Their elegant form and long vase life endear them to anyone who arranges flowers, professionally or otherwise. Freesia are most famous, however, for their intense sweet citrusy perfume, which can envelop an entire room. If fragrance is your thing, these blossoms are guaranteed to delight. 

 

Freesia flowers open in sequence along arched stems, providing a long blooming period. The thin, spiky foliage, typical of many South African natives, blends well with neighboring plants that have a fuller silhouette. In bloom, freesias provide some of Mother Nature's best aromatherapy. Could you use a therapy session where you didn't have to divulge any secrets?

 

Freesia Growing Information

 

A Bit of Horticultural Geometry

Freesia flowers are “zygomorphic” which just means that they grow along one side of the stem, in a single plane. When you look at a flower stalk however, you'll see that the blooms are facing upwards. How does this work?

 

Freesias stems have the unusual habit of turning at right angles just below the bottom flower. This causes the upper portion of the stem to grow almost parallel with the ground. The flowers bloom along the top side of the stalk, which makes them lovely to look down into in a garden setting and ideal for arrangements.

 

If you didn't care much for geometry in high school, here's a painless way to give it another try.

 

Outdoor Beds

1.  Find a location where the soil drains well. If there are still water puddles 5-6 hours after a hard rain, scout out another site. Or amend the soil with the addition of organic material to raise the level 2 - 3 inches to improve the drainage. Peat moss, compost, ground bark or decomposed manure all work well and are widely available.

 

2. Site your freesia where they will get full day sun. 

 

3. Dig holes and plant the freesia bulbs 2” deep and 3” apart. The bulbs look like small, slim onions. Plant them with the pointed end facing up.

 

4.  After planting, water freesia well, thoroughly soaking the area. Roots and sprouts will form in the autumn. Winter will bring taller growth and flowers will develop in the spring. 

 

5.  When in bloom, feel free to cut freesia flowers for bouquets. This will not hurt the plants and having scented blooms to bring indoors is one of the best reasons to grow freesia.

 

6.  After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year's show.  Water as needed.

 

7.  Later in the summer the leaves will yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. Foliage may be removed at this point. Your freesia will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.

 

Pots, Tubs & Urns

1.  Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained soil.  Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; freesia must never sit in waterlogged soil or they will rot.

 

2.  Site containers where they will receive full day sun. 

 

3.  Plant your freesia 2” deep and 2” apart for the most brilliant display. The bulbs look like small, slim onions. Plant them with the pointed end facing up.

 

4.  After planting, water freesia well, thoroughly soaking the area.  Roots and sprouts will form in the autumn. Winter will bring taller growth and flowers will develop in the spring. 

 

5.  After blooming has finished for the season leave the foliage in place; don't cut it off. The leaves will gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year's show.  Water as needed. 

 

6.  Later in the summer the leaves will yellow and die back as the plant slips into dormancy. Foliage may be removed at this point. Your freesia will rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle.

 

Indoor Forcing

1.  Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; freesia must never sit in waterlogged soil or they will rot.

 

2.  Site your containers on a sunny windowsill - the sunnier, the better. When grown indoors, freesia often don't get as much light as they'd like and so they tend to flop a bit. We recommend using support rings or stakes in all but greenhouse situations.

 

3.  Plant your freesia 2” deep and 1” apart for the most brilliant display. The bulbs look like small, slim onions. Plant them with the pointed end facing up.

 

4.  After planting, water freesia well, until water comes out of your container's drainage holes. Sprouts will show in a few weeks with leaves and buds following shortly thereafter. 

 

5.  When in bloom, the flowering period can be prolonged by placing the potted freesia in a cool room. Flowers may also be snipped for use in a vase.  Water plants as needed to keep soil lightly moist. 

 

6.  After flowering has finished, freesia plants may be transplanted to outdoor gardens in zones 9-11. In colder areas it's difficult to coax a rebloom. Most gardeners savor the graceful blossoms and their intoxicating fragrance for a single season. Think of freesia as the horticultural equivalent of fine chocolates - while they don't ever last long enough, but they're still delicious.

 

Quantity tips:

       For 12-15” pots - plant 15-20

       For 10” pots - plant 12-14

       For 8” pots - plant 9     

 

 

 

 

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