Before learning how to care for freesias, it may be interesting to first know a little about this popular plant. Freesia, named in tribute to the German doctor Friedrich H. Freese of the 19th century, originated in South Africa.
These pretty, sweetly scented flowers grow from corms and are found within the Iridaceae family, which includes gladiolus, iris, and crocus, among others.
Growing from 12 to 18 inches in height with thin stalks and smallish, sword-shaped leaves, the different cultivars of this plant produce flowers in a multitude of hues including white, pink, mauve, purple, yellow, red, gold, blue, and orange. Veined and feathered freesia varieties also exist that boast two flower colors on one plant, and some varieties feature double blooms.
A favorite of florists, freesias are also very much enjoyed by home gardeners. Once learning how to care for freesias is mastered, the freesia lover will quite possibly want to try his or her hand at a number of different cultivars of this wonderful, intensely fragrant plant.
When to Plant Freesia
In the United States, freesias can be grown as a hardy perennial from USDA agricultural zones 9 and 10. Elsewhere, growing them in a greenhouse or in the home with bright light. You can also dig the corms, after they have finished flowering and the stalks have turned brown, and store them in the refrigerator to plant the following spring.
As you learn to take care of freesias, they are not that difficult to coax into performing, and for those with protected areas, you might try planting them there even if you do not live in the warmer regions of the country. Micro-climates that are even a few degrees warmer can produce surprisingly successful results.
Plant the corms about five inches deep and space them every two inches in sandy loam. For gardeners living in the South, set your freesia corms out in the fall, no later than September. If you are a Northern gardener, wait until spring before planting freesia. In about 10 to 12 weeks, the plants will begin to sprout from the ground and you will soon enjoy the delights of freesia’s fragrance and beauty.
Freesias do well with light applications of fertilizer after they are actively growing. You will also need to keep them watered, but take care not to over-water. Freesias prefer sunny areas, so plant them somewhere that is not shaded for more than several hours a day.
Staking for Showiest Performance
Learning how to care for freesias includes knowing that staking them individually provides the most flamboyant showcase for this lovely flower. Because the weight of the bloom causes the plant to fall over, staking them one by one takes some time, but is worth it in the end. Of course, some people prefer the au naturale look and allow the flowers to sprawl as they wish.
How to care for freesias does not take a huge amount of effort, just a little common sense. Plant them with that in mind, and you are certain to be rewarded with some of the finest performers in your garden.