Growing Freesia

Freesia are frost-tender bulbs that are normally grown in greenhouses for the cut flower trade. Their delicious sweet fragrance is much in demand and gardeners continually ask how to grow them.

This bulb is very temperature sensitive and if you screw up the temperature, you wonÂ’t get much of a flower show.

Here are some basic guidelines.

For growing indoors:

Plant the bulbs in a well-drained soil in mid-winter.

Set the bulbs two to three inches apart in the pot. Set the bulbs on top of the soil in the pot and then cover with peat moss or a sandy grit so the top of the bulb is one to one and a half inches deep. (note that this means the soil level is well down from the lip of the pot)

Keep the bulbs slightly damp at 40F. No higher. Full sunlight.

Increase the watering as the bulb grows and when it gets seven full leaves, increase the temperature to 50F. Start feeding with half strength balanced ratio fertilizer as the flower buds start to form.

In the garden:

Plant outside in full sunshine so the tops of the bulbs are one and a half inches deep. Plant two to three inches apart. Plant in a good soil.

Plant in late May in a zone 4 or when the ground is warm enough to plant corn (warm enough to put the back of your hand on it without flinching) Flowers should form in mid-to late summer depending on the season. Be prepared to stake the flowers if the season turns hot and the bulbs produce floppy growth.

Dig up in the fall before frost destroys them, store cool (40F) and dry until the next planting season.

While Freesia are mostly fragrant, it is a good idea to only pick varieties that are labeled as fragrant. Some of the newer florist bulbs have larger flowers and double flowers at the expense of lost fragrance.

Excellent for fragrance:

Some excellent varieties (old-fashioned) for fragrance include:

Golden Wave
Pink Westlind

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