An essential component of many bouquets thanks to their long vase life (over 3 weeks), Freesias are striking beauties that also deserve a spot outdoors. Visually stunning with their abundant clusters of brightly colored flowers on gently arching stalks, they are also intensely fragrant. Native to South Africa, these tender cormous perennials, often grown as annuals, require minimal maintenance, are virtually disease-free and pest-free, deer and rabbit resistant, and will multiply to form generous clumps over time. No doubt these charming little flowers will capture your heart!
1. Select The Right Site
- Freesias grow best in full sun or light shade, in moist, well-drained soils.
- Freesias are tender perennials, winter hardy in growing zones 9-10 and grown as annuals elsewhere. Not sure about your growing zone? Check here.
- Freesias grow best with cool daytime temperatures (60-70°F or 15-21°C) and slightly cooler nights. They may not bloom if temperatures rise over 70°F (21°C)
2. Planting Freesias
- In USDA Zones 9-10, Fresia corms may be planted outdoors in fall. In cooler areas, Freesias may be planted outdoors from spring to early summer for flowering in summer and fall. They may also be planted indoors in the fall for late winter and early spring flowers.
- Plant the corms 2 in. deep, pointy end upwards, and 3 in. apart. Plant in groups of minimum 6-8 plants for best visual impact.
- Cover the corms with soil and water as needed.
- You may plant Freesias corms in succession so as to extend their bloom period. Plants normally produce flowers 10-12 weeks after planting. Pick them when the first couple of flowers in the spray are open.
- Water the corms sparingly before sprouting, then water frequently so the soil is consistently moist but not soggy. Too much water will lead to root rot.
- Apply a high potassium feed every 2 weeks from when the first buds are seen.
- Staking is advised to keep the stems upright. Alternatively, you may plant them among low-growing groundcover (like Iberis or Ajuga) for some support.
- After flowering, cut off faded blooms and continue to water and feed until the foliage begins to yellow, then cease watering. A period of at least eight weeks of growth is required to encourage offsets.
- If you live in hardiness zones 9-10, cut the foliage very short after it yellows. If you live in a cool area (hardiness zones 3-8) and want to save your bulbs, you may lift your corms before the first frost and store them in a cool dry location (55°F or 12°C) until next spring.
- Freesias are usually increased by corm offsets. They can also be grown from seed in about 7-8 months but may not flower for a few seasons.