How to Care for Freesias
image by Mel B.: Flickr.com
Freesias are strongly scented flowers grown from corms, or thick swollen stems which store food for the plant during dormancy. Corms are similar to bulbs, but the flower bud grows on top of the corm and sends shoots of growth out from the ground. The graceful freesia plant is native to South Africa, and grows best in temperate climates. It will not thrive in extreme heat or cold. Pastel freesia flowers come in colors of yellow, gold, orange, pink, lavender, white and blue.
Plant freesia in a sunny location with well-drained fertile soil in the early fall. Freesias prefer cooler evening temperatures and if they are planted in the autumn, they will bloom early the following spring. Plant freesia corms 1 to 2 inches deep and at least 1 inch apart, watering them thoroughly to soak the soil.
Water freesias once every two to three weeks until growth emerges from the soil. Increase to one heavy watering per week once freesia plants are established. Keep the soil moist until the flowers and foliage die back after blooming; then cease watering while the plant is dormant.
Apply a slow release fertilizer to freesias once per year in the fall. Apply organic fish emulsion once every two weeks during the growing season and after the plants are at least two inches high to promote abundant blooms, if desired.
Remove the flower heads from freesias once they begin to fade to reserve nutrients for the rest of the plant and encourage the growth of new flowers. Pinch off the faded blooms with your fingers, as close to the stem as possible.
Leave freesia corms in the ground and they will continue to grow for several years. Lift the corms after the foliage has died back if you live in an area with extremely cold winters, or if frost is common. Store the corms in a mesh bag in a cool, dry place until early fall when they should be replanted.