of the month
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Freesia x hybrida
free-zee-uh, FREE-see-uh HIGH-bri-duh)
Freesias are perennial
blooming plants that grow from corms. The inflorescences each
comprise five to 10 trumpet-shaped florets and/or buds along the
top, upper side of a curved stem. Each 1-to-2-inch-long floret
has six “petals,” or segments. These sweetly fragrant plants are
available in single- and double-flowered varieties.
The thin stems, which are
leafless and often branched, can grow to 2 feet in length
although dwarf cultivars generally top out at 1 foot or shorter.
Potted Freesias have narrow sword-shaped foliage that
fans out from the corms, just above soil level.
See the “Colors” section on the "Cut Flower of the Month"
section of the Web site.
should last from two to five weeks at the consumer level,
depending on variety, care, environmental conditions (especially
temperature and light) and stage of maturity at the time of
plants are available almost year-round, depending on variety and
growers, peak periods are November through May (especially
February, March and April). White varieties often are the only
ones grown for November and December sales.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
plants require bright, indirect light, such as from east, south
or west windows. Protect them from hot, direct sunlight.
Keep compost evenly moist at all times, watering lightly but
frequently. Avoid overwatering. If possible, use nonfluoridated
water; fluoride can retard flower development and cause the tips
of blooms and leaves to burn.
Potted Freesias perform best in cool environments (55 F
to 65 F). Bloom life will decrease by six to nine days, on
average, when these plants are displayed in higher temperatures
(72 F to 75 F), which are common in many homes and offices.
prefer moderately humid air. Mist blooms daily, or place pots on
a pebble tray.
STORAGE These plants can
be stored for up to three days in a floral refrigerator at 33 F
to 35 F.
During their blooming cycle, feed Freesia plants every
seven to 10 days with a balanced or high-phosphorous plant food.
This is especially helpful if consumers intend to save and
replant the corms.
SOIL A light, well-draining
potting mixture will provide best results.
Freesias are moderately sensitive to ethylene, which can
cause buds and blooms to drop, petals to become translucent,
flowers to die more quickly and foliage to yellow, so make sure
your purchases are treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the
grower level or during shipping. In addition, keep these plants
away from sources of ethylene gas such as ripening fruit,
decaying flowers and foliage, automobile exhaust and tobacco
Incorrect watering, insufficient light, too-high temperatures
and insects (spider mites, aphids) all can be causes. Leaf
yellowing is more prevalent in certain varieties and can occur
as a result of improper conditions at the grower level—both of
which you can do little or nothing about.
As the wiry stems grow tall, they often need to be staked or
bound with twine to keep them upright. The single-flowered
varieties are not as prone to falling over as the heavier
double-flowered types. Also, investigate dwarf varieties.
The intensity of the flowers’ fragrance varies considerably
among cultivars. Yellow, white and cream varieties are often
more fragrant than other colors.
WHAT’S IN A NAME
Freesias are named for Friedrich Heinrich Theodor
Freese (1795–1876), a German physician who also was a
well-known student of botany and who discovered many South
African native plants.
Freesias are members of the Iridaceae (Iris)
family and are related to Irises, Crocuses,
Crocosmias, Gladioli, Ixias and
Watsonias, among others.
HOME SWEET HOME
Most species of Freesias are native to the Cape
Province of South Africa.
Some information provided by:
Chain of Life Network®,
Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, The by Barbara Pleasant
SAF Flower & Plant Care, by Terril A Nell, Ph.D. and Michael
S. Reid, Ph.D.
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners, by William T.