The Freesia is a perennial flower appreciated in the garden and in bouquets for its beautiful shimmering colors. Originally from South Africa, this summer bulb plant from the iris family, close to gladiolus and Montbrétia, is easy to grow.
What there is to know :
Botanical name : Freesia spp
Common name : Freesia hybrid
Family : Iridaceae
Height x spread: 25 to 45 cm high x 10 to 15 cm wide
Foliage : Deciduous. The fine leaves, narrow and sheathing at the base, are arranged in a fan. The foliage turns yellow a few weeks after flowering, the Freesia then enters vegetative rest.
Bulb : This is not really a bulb plant. Rather, we plant a piece of underground stem that will be covered with roots: it is a corm.
flowers : From July to September or in April-May following the date of planting, upright, single or double flowers appear, carried by a flexible stem. These trumpet flowers form small, compact clusters. It is very difficult to achieve a solid flower bed color because the bulbs are almost always sold in mixtures of bright colors. If the white Freesia is very popular, there are some with yellow, orange, red or purple flowers.
Exposure : in the sun, in a protected place.
Soil : The soil, rich, must always remain fresh but well drained. A little sand mixed in helps root development.
Hardiness : frost, 0°C
In cold regions :
- Plant the Freesias in pots in the fall under frames or in April directly in the ground, 3 or 5 cm deep and 5 to 10 cm apart.
- In this case, flowering occurs in early summer (July-August).
In regions where it does not freeze :
- Planting can be done directly in the ground at the end of summer (August-September).
- Flowering is then advanced by a few weeks, to April-May.
To achieve a nice mass effect, plant the Freesia in groups of 20 or 25 corms.
The larger the corm, the thicker the stems that will grow and the more beautiful the bloom will be.
Pot culture is possible , even recommended in cold climates rather than in the ground, provided you use a mixture of horticultural compost and sand (1/3) and provide a good thickness of gravel at the bottom of the container.
Watering : The Freesia does not tolerate drought during the vegetation period. Watering must therefore be regular to keep it fresh, but moderate because this beautiful perennial is also sensitive to excess humidity.
- In pots, add a liquid fertilizer to the irrigation water twice a month.
- In the ground, spread two handfuls of seaweed manure around the feet of a group of Freesias in April to help the bulbs grow and multiply.
Staking : It is often necessary to stake flowers which tend to sag under their own weight.
- In cold and humid regions , pull out the bulbs at the beginning of autumn to keep them dry and frost-free all winter.
- In mild regions , if the location is not too exposed to rain, the Freesias can stay in place.
Freesia uses and combinations
Freesias are handy for filling gaps between tall perennials in flower beds or beds. Plant them quite tightly in groups of 20 to 50 corms to get large colorful spots.
You can also grow them in a large basin, in a planter or a pot to decorate a terrace, a courtyard or a semi-sunny balcony. It is then easier to shelter them in winter.
If the Freesias bloom little!
They are sensitive to excessive heat which dries out the soil. Too much heat reduces their flowering. Keep the soil moist by more frequent watering, put in place a mulch.
Propagation of Freesia
You can sow the small Freesia seeds in April-May in pots placed under frames. Sow lightly, then sort at emergence to keep only 10 to 12 plants in a 15 cm diameter pot.
The recovery of seedlings is quite difficult after transplanting. Avoid sharing the root ball of a pot. Replant it in the ground in its entirety without undoing the roots.
It is relatively easy to achieve flowering inside the house or apartment between February-April. For it:
- Plant in September 6 to 10 potted bulbs.
- Bury the pot in a fairly cool corner of the garden.
- Then move it to a light, protected place, cool but frost-free, for the winter.
- You can bring it in when it blooms.
Did you know ?
The delicate fragrance of Freesia flowers diffuses notes of spicy jasmine. If you like this smell, choose Freesias with double flowers: they are more fragrant than single flowers!
Do not hesitate to cut a few flowers to compose bouquets. The Freesia flower is one of those that keep the best : up to 2 to 3 weeks in a vase!
Varieties of Freesias
Only hybrid Freesias are grown in the garden . Among the most notable:
- Blue Bayou: with mauve-blue double flowers
- Oberon: valued for its large, single, yellow trumpet flowers with a wide border of red