(Species: Freesia refracta, F. alba, F. corymbosa - Family: Iridaceae)
Freesia and its origins
Freesia is an African native with all 14 species originating from the continent. It was named in honour of the German physician Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese in the late 18th century. Grown not only for its beauty, Freesias are also chosen for their distinctive and sweet scent, and commonly feature in soaps, lotions and perfumes.
Freesias symbolise nostalgia and innocence, they are often included in bouquets and as cut flowers. They can be grown indoors or outside with extra care and attention. Temperature sensitive, to ensure a healthy bloom, Freesias need to be planted in the right place at the right time.
Seasonality: Freesia in flower
A spring bloomer, Freesias should be planted between October and December and can be planted at regular intervals during these months to produce a continuous bloom. They are a funnel-shaped, upward facing flower with up to 8 Freesia flowers forming a loose cluster at the top of each stem.
Freesias are available in a wide spectrum of colours ranging from white to yellow, orange, mauve and blue. They can reach up to 30cm in height.
How to Plant: Freesia
For best results, plant freesias in the winter months. They are half hardy and like lots of sun with a well-drained soil that is kept moist. Water logged soils will hinder the bloom, therefore, soil will need to be adjusted if holding water. Prepare the soil by adding a fertiliser a couple of weeks before planting the freesias.
Plant the corms 3-5cm apart and 3-4cm below the surface. Generally grown by more experienced gardeners, Freesias are temperature sensitive and frost-tender, needing protection from winter frosts. The stems are often weak and may require staking or support during growth.
Propagation of Freesia
Technically a perennial, Freesias can be difficult to propagate and need specific conditions in order to bloom successfully again. Propagation is done by seed or offshoots. Offshoots removed from the corms are often easier to manage and can be replanted indoors, ready to bloom in the next season.
The corms should be brought indoors in the late summer months to dry out, ready for replanting in the winter season.