Freesia (group)
Common Name: freesia
Type: Bulb
Family: Iridaceae
Zone: 9 to 10
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, lavender & bicolors
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy, Fragrant

Culture

Although freesias are winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-10, they require cool nights to flower well. They are best grown in pots in the St. Louis area either as greenhouse plants or as house plants for winter bloom. Plant corms 1-2" deep, 6-8 corms per 6" pot. Commonly planted in succession from late summer throughout the fall to early winter so as to extend the bloom throughout the winter months to early spring. Plants normally produce flowers 10-12 weeks after planting. Best performance is in a bright sunny room with cool daytime temperatures (60-70 degrees F) and slightly cooler nights. After bloom, reduce watering and allow foliage to yellow and wilt before lifting corms and storing in a cool dry location until the following late summer when corms may be potted again for winter bloom. Although freesias can also be started in late winter for spring bloom, this planting regimen does not always work well in the St. Louis area where hot summer temperatures can appear as early as May.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Freesias are noted for their fragrance and bright flower colors. Native to South Africa, freesias are frost tender perennials that grow from corms. The large-flowered hybrids sold by florists feature sweetly fragrant, funnel-shaped flowers (5-10 per stem) that bloom in one-sided racemes atop leafless, arching, wiry stems to 18" tall. Many different hybrids are available in single or double blooms and in colors ranging from white, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, lavender and various bicolors. Narrow, sword-shaped leaves appear in an iris-like fan.

Genus name honors a German physician, Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese (d.1876), of Kiel, a friend of Ecklon who named the genus.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Winter flowering house plant or greenhouse plant that makes a good cut flower.