Caring For Forced Freesias – How To Force Freesia Bulbs

freesia forcing
Image by MrKornFlakes

By Bonnie L. Grant

There are few things as heavenly as a freesia’s scent. Can you force freesia bulbs like you can other blooms? These lovely little blooms need no pre-chilling and, therefore, can be forced at any time in the interior. Forcing freesia flowers indoors is a perfect way to enjoy the floral bouquet up close and personal. Even though there is no chilling requirement, there are some tips on how to force freesia bulbs that will make the process easy and allow you the benefits of a floral garden in your home.

Can You Force Freesia Bulbs?

Many varieties of bulbs can be forced to bloom inside the home. Most of them come from regions where chilling is necessary to break the bulb’s dormancy and encourage it to sprout. Bulbs from tropical regions don’t require a cold period. Freesia plants are from South Africa where they experience high heat and no freezing, which makes them perfect to grow indoors. Provided you have a good southern facing window, you can enjoy forced freesia at any time of the year.


As a rule, forcing bulbs refers to getting them to bloom in a site and at a time they normally would not be flowering. If no chilling period is required, it’s almost as simple as planting the bulb. Freesias need a full day of sunlight to flower, so the ideal time to plant your bulb is October or November when foliage can form over winter and by spring, the longer daylight hours will encourage blooms.

Choose a well-draining soil for freesia bulb forcing. Leaf mold and perlite are excellent, but any commercial potting soil should do as long as it is loose.

Container size is the next consideration when learning how to force freesia bulbs. A 6-inch pot can easily accommodate 5 of the tiny bulbs and allow for the foliage growth. It may look crowded, but the proximity of the plants will help them stand as they grow.

Caring for Forced Freesias

Probably the most important aspect of caring for forced freesias is water. Keep the soil moderately moist but never soggy.

Another important step when forcing freesia flowers indoors is support. The tightly planted bulbs will self-support to some degree, but the thin stalks will benefit from additional reinforcement. Use slender bamboo stakes at planting time, set around the bulbs to form a scaffold. Willowy sword-like leaves will form first, usually about 12 weeks after planting the bulb. Once flowers appear, tie them to the stakes to help support the heavy blooms.

Choose a room with bright sun most of the day and slightly cool temperatures at night. This may be difficult when forcing freesia bulbs indoors in cold regions. In order to afford the cool temperatures, place pots in the basement under plant lights and then move them into a southern window once winter is over.

Deadhead the plant when blooms fade but move the green foliage outdoors when temperatures warm up. You can plant the bulb in the garden or allow foliage to wither and start the whole process over again. Freesia bulb forcing is a really simple process with fragrant and visual rewards.

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