Freesia flowers are beautiful perennials that have a pleasant citrus-like fragrance. These pretty flowers were named for a German botanist and doctor, Friedrich Freese. They are native to the eastern side of southern Africa, from Kenya to South Africa.
Freesias have double or single funnel-shaped flowers and are available in many different colors including white, cream, yellow, orange, red, pink, mauve, lavender and purple. The flowers have 12 to 15-inches stems and each stem have 6 to 12 flowers. Their long vase life makes them a popular cut flower. You will find that Freesia flowers grow along one side of the stem, horizontally. This is known as “zygomorphic”. The Freesia photo we selected shows how all of the blooms grow facing upward.
Freesias are easy to grow and can be grown in containers or in the garden. Once they are established they require very little maintenance. They bloom in spring and summer. Freesias are winter hardy for zones 9-10 and should be planted outdoors in the fall. In cooler zones, plant them in the spring for flowers in the late summer. You can plant them in containers and in cooler climates, you lift them and store them, so they survive the winter.
Freesia bulbs are called corms and look somewhat like a green onion. Plant them in well-drained soil that gets full sun. They will not bloom if planted in the shade. Full sun is needed because of their long blooming season. When planting them dig a hole 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart. The pointed side of the corms must be planted up. Cover the bulbs with soil and pat the soil down gently and then water thoroughly. If you plant your corms in a container, make sure it is a tall container as Freesias have long tap roots.
As we have pointed out in the past, water these bulbs in the morning, so the planting bed or container has time to dry out before nightfall. Freesias need to be watered at their base once the plants start to appear. If the soil does not drain well, there is a chance if the water sits, the roots of the plants can rot. Use a liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks to keep the plant healthy and producing lots of blooms.
When the blooming season has ended, don’t cut back the foliage if you plan on overwintering or saving the bulbs. Continue to water and let the foliage die back naturally to allow the plant to store up energy in the bulb. Dig up your bulbs and let them dry out over the winter. The bulbs need to be protected from the cold to survive the winter. Once you have dug them up place them in a cool, dry space for the winter. If you are in a warmer climate, you can leave them in-ground. You can plant them again after the last frost is gone.
I live in a warmer climate and am going to plant these this fall! If you grow them, let us know if you have any helpful tips.