Freesia

Freesia - Garden Basics - Flower - Bulb

(Iridaceae)

This tender, cormous plant originated in South Africa. A number of named cultivars are offered by nurseries, and both single and double flowers are available. Leaves are sword shaped and light green and may be up to 1.5 feet high. Flower stalks are slender and about the same height. As many as 8 funnel-shaped flowers form a loose cluster at the top of each stalk and are sometimes fragrant. Where the flowers begin, the stem makes a sharp bend so that the flowers face upward.

Cultivation

Freesias do well in zones 8 to 10, and may be grown outdoors only in warm climates. They are so delicate and easily damaged by the elements that it is best to grow them in containers. In colder climates they should be grown indoors, and are great for winter flowers.

The corms should be planted close--six will do nicely in a 5 inch pot. Soil should be light and should drain well. Place the top of the corm 1 inch below the soil. For winter flowers, plant them in late summer or early fall and keep them cool until frosts are due. At this time bring them in and keep them in a sunny window.

Maintenance

They need full sun and cool night temperatures, preferably between 45 and 40 degrees. Keep the plants well watered while leaves and flowers are developing. When the leaves begin to brown after the flowers have faded, the plants may be gradually dried off and the corms saved for the following year. Propagate by offsets and seeds.

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