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If you live in one of the U.S. regions that enjoys sunshine but not hot summers, like long stretches of coastal California, grow freesia. These plants are happiest in cool temperatures, with day ranges of 55 to 70 degrees farenheit and night time temperatures of 40 to 55. For regions where springs are very short and summers are hot, consider growing freesia indoors.
For the rest of us, freesia can be grown on a very sunny windowsill in a room with limited heat or one kept cool (50-60F) with air conditioning. Sadly, freesia plants do not grow well in hot, humid regions or in areas that tend to be cloudy and rainy.
Freesias do best in full sun sites except where temperatures are hot. These plants thrive in moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Soil that drains poorly and allows water to puddle will encourage bulb rot. If the soil where you’re considering planting doesn’t drain well, find a new location or consider planting in containers.
Average, moderately fertile soil with medium amounts of moisture are fine for freesia. Mixing in a handful of sand can improve drainage. Add a slow release fertilizer when you plant if your soil is a bit lean or if you’re planting in a container. Avoid fertilizers and tap water with floride as that will cause foliage to yellow. Do not use "Super Phosphate" fertilizer for freesia.
Plant freesia bulbs outdoors in spring when frost danger has past and soil has warmed. These plants are native to South African warm (but not hot) regions and aren’t happy with cold soil or frosts.
Freesia bulbs can also be planted in the fall in regions that do not experience winter freezes, i.e. zone 9 -10.
Freesia bulbs typically bloom 3 to 4 months after planting. It is best to buy in the fall for fall planting, and in the spring for spring planting. Bulbs do not hold well out of the ground from one season to another.
Plant bulbs with the points facing upwards. Dig holes and place the bulbs 3 - 4” apart and cover with 2” of soil. Pat the soil gently to eliminate air pockets and water well to settle the soil around the bulbs. Do not water again until you see sprouts.
Freesia bulbs can also be planted in containers for indoor enjoyment. Choose a container with a drainage hole to avoid soggy soil. Plant bulbs 2” deep and 2” apart. Water well. Place the pot in a sunny window. Bulbs usually sprout in 2 to 3 weeks. Water lightly 10 days after planting and then not water again until you see sprouts.
Freesia benefit from the application of a high potassium fertilizer about every two weeks after the flower buds have begun to develop. Be sure to keep soil lightly moist during the plants' active growth period. Allowing the soil to dry completely stresses freesia and may result in crooked stems.
For gardeners in zones 9-10, freesias are perennials that successfully overwintering outdoors. In colder zones, treat as annuals.
Light: Full sun
Depth: Cover with 2" of soil
Water: Average moisture
Uses: Containers and mixed borders
Tip: Great cut flowers
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