Image by Vicky Brock
By Jackie Carroll
A wide range of colors and an alluring floral fragrance make freesia hard to resist. With up to eight trumpet-shaped, upward-pointing blossoms on leafless stems, freesias make delightful cut flowers that last a long time in the vase. The freesia bulb plant is easy to force indoors on sunny windowsills. Learning how to grow freesias in the garden and freesia flower care will allow you to enjoy these beauties year after year.
How to Plant a Freesia Corm in the Garden
Knowing how and when to plant freesia bulbs is important for their success in the garden. Start by choosing a location with full sun or light morning shade and well-drained soil.
Prepare the bed by digging and loosening the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches. Plant the freesia bulbs, or corms, at least 2 inches deep and 2 to 4 inches apart.
Freesias look their best planted in groups or masses rather than in rows. Masses of a single color make a striking display. Freesias bloom 10 to 12 weeks after you plant the corms. You can extend the bloom season by planting the bulbs at weekly intervals.
When to Plant Freesia Bulbs
In U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9 and warmer, you can plant freesia corms in fall. In cooler areas, however, plant the corms in spring. Also, in USDA zones cooler than 9, the corms won’t survive the winter in the garden. You will need to dig them up at the end of the season and store them until next spring, but since the corms are inexpensive, it’s usually easier to purchase a new freesia bulb plant next year.
Another option is to plant them in containers so you can bring the entire pot indoors for winter storage.
How to Grow Freesias Indoors
Freesias bloom readily indoors. Plant the bulbs about 2 inches apart in a pot filled with regular potting soil. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy, and place the pot in a sunny, preferably south-facing window. Expect flowers in 10 to 12 weeks.
Once the flowers and foliage die back, allow the pot to dry out and place it in a cool location until you are ready to bring them into bloom again.
Freesia Flower Care
Once the foliage emerges, water the growing freesia plants often to keep the soil moist. Freesias need an abundance of moisture during the entire growing season, but you should allow the soil to dry out once the flowers fade.
Fertilize the plants in spring with a bulb fertilizer following the label instructions.
You can also pick off faded flowers to keep the garden looking tidy, but allow the foliage to die back naturally.
Freesias make excellent cut flowers too. Cut the stems early in the morning before warm temperatures have a chance to dry out the blossoms. Cut the stems again at a slight angle an inch or so above the first cut while holding them under water. Place them in a vase of water right away. You can add a floral preservative if you like, but you won’t need it if you change the water daily.