HOW TO GROW FREESIA BULBS
Freesia plants are grown from a corm that sends a tuft of long and narrow leaves with a branched stem. The flowers are loose, one-sided spikes with funnel shaped flowers that are rather narrow. These flowers are bordered with a few side leaves. Some of the more famous Freesia varieties are the Excelsior, Golden Wave, Welkin, Allure, Athene, Demeter, Mirabel, Snowdon and Pink Westlind.
The leaves of Freesia plants are sword shaped and light green in color. They can grow up to 300mm (one foot) in length. The stalks are slender and grow up to 300mm in height. You can find as many as eight funnel shaped Freesia flowers forming a loose cluster at the top of each stalk on the plant. One peculiarity of Freesia flowers is that, at the point of the start of flowers, the stem bends to face upward at a sharp bend. Freesia flowers are generally used for gifts on special occasions and they are said to symbolize innocence.
Freesia’s are grown for two reasons; the beauty of its flower clusters and the exquisite fragrance it emits. Besides being used in perfumes, the fragrance is used to create Freesia fragrance oils. These oils are used in oil burners and different vaporizers like drive time car vaporizer, radiator vaporizer and mini vaporizer. Freesia fragrance oil is also used for aromatherapy in scented candles, massage oils, bath oils and perfumed body oil.
Freesia flowers can be propagated either through offsets of bulbs or through seeds. These are plants that need full sun and cool night temperatures which lie somewhere between forty five and forty degrees. Make it a point to keep Freesia plants well watered; especially in the development phases of the leaves and flowers. Once the Freesia flowers start to fade, the leaves of the Freesia plants tend to brown and plant dries off. You then have to save the corms for the following year.
On receiving a Freesia bulb you need to water the bulb if you find that the soil looks dry. Place it in full sun. If you wish to save the bulb for the next year make sure you leave the foliage in place and do not cut it. This is because the foliage collects sunlight and provides nourishment to the bulb. Make sure that you water the Freesia bulb periodically.
When growing Freesia bulbs in your garden, it is important that the corms be planted close to each other. It is possible to grow as many as six corms in a 125mm (five inch) pot. The soil that is used for growing Freesia bulbs should be light, and well drained. When planting the corm make sure it is planted at least 25mm (1 inch) below the soil. Place the pots somewhere where there is full sunlight.
If you wish to have Freesia flowers in the winter months it is better to plant the bulbs in late summer or early Autumn. Make sure you keep the corms as cools as possible till frosts are due. During the winter months, it is better to bring the Freesia bulbs in, and place them in a sunny window.
If you plan to grow Freesia bulbs in garden beds it is important to choose a spot where there is no water pooling. This is because, though Freesia bulbs need water, too much water is bad for the bulb. If you have poorly drained soil you can try to improve it by adding organic matter. Organic material improves the drainage of the soil and you can use peat moss, ground bark, compost or decomposed manure.
Freesia bulbs don’t tend to be harmed or troubled by pests apart from slugs and snails which eat the foliage. The blooms of Freesia bulbs may, however, be attacked by thrips. Thrips are tiny insects that are only about a millimeter in length. They feed on soft plant tissue and suck plant fluids.
Thrips usually infest Freesia flowers in the warm and dry springtime season and cause brown spots on the petals or discourage buds from opening. Once the plants are attacked by thrips it is difficult to gain complete control as neighbouring plants can re-infest the Freesia bulbs.
When your Freesia’s are being attacked by slugs the best thing to do is encourage natural predators like ducks, frogs, hedgehogs, snakes and some birds. It is not advisable to use salt to get rid of slugs as salt is bad for the growth and development of the plant.
Freesia bulbs are plants that are easy to maintain, beautiful to look at, and will make your home and garden smell beautiful throughout the year!