Freesia

The Freesia a native of South Africa is named after Dr Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese, a German physician.

It is a bulbous plant suited to indoor and outdoor containers and rockeries.

Fragrant single or double multi-coloured flowers are produced on wiry stems that emanate from gladiolus like leaves.

They also make good cut flower subjects for bridal bouquets.



Outdoor culture:

In northern areas the corms should be planted out in spring, and autumn in southern areas, providing the garden is protected from hard frosts.

Plant them out in areas that get plenty of sun and protection from severe weather.

Normally corms grown outdoors in the UK are short lived hence the reason for them being used mainly as an indoor plant.

They grow to a height of 250-300mm (10"-12") and generally flower from July to September.

Keep the soil moist during the growing season and feed them once a month.

Staking is advised to keep the stems upright.

After blooming, let the foliage die back, then lift and store the bulbs indoors in paper bags.

Indoor culture:

Week 17: To speed up germination, soak seed overnight in water to soften the coat.

Sow, seven or eight seeds to a 125mm (5”) pot containing well-drained compost.

Cover the seeds with 6mm (1/4”) of compost, and germinate at around 20°C (68°F)

Seeds should take about ten to fifteen days to germinate

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Week 18: Re-pot established plants and divide if necessary.

Week 24: Prick out the seedlings into individual 70mm (3”) pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow on in a well-lit position, but out of direct sunlight.

Week 45: Support established plants with split canes and twine or proper wire rings.

Place plants near the glass to prevent growth becoming weak, but take care that the foliage doesn't touch it, or condensation may encourage grey mould (botrytis) disease.

Pot up further batches of five or six corms 25mm (1”) deep into a 150mm (6”) pot and maintain a temperature of about 8°C (45°F) till to rooted.

Delay watering until growth starts.

Week 51: When autumn planted freesias have rooted up nicely in a cool and dark place, move them into the light when most of the shoots are 25-50mm (1”-2”) tall.

Place containers near glazing to ensure the plants receive maximum light, but don't allow foliage to touch glass as contact with condensation may encourage fungal infections.

They require a minimum temperature of 8°C (45°F) during the winter months.

Provide light support for the grass-like foliage and slender flower stems at an early age, and keep the compost uniformly moist and occasionally feed with weak liquid general fertiliser.





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