Freesia

Freesia

Freesia

It belongs to Iridaceae family and its native is Africa. The name Freesia is named after German physician, Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese. It consists of sword shaped leaves; thin stems and produces funnel shaped flowers, which is highly fragrant. It flowers in many different attractive colours like yellow, gold, pink, red, white, violet, orange, lavender and violet. Some of its species produces double coloured flowers. It usually blooms from July to August. It is one of the most popular plants and mainly it is used as cut flowers since its flowers can last for 7 to 10 days and also the plant won’t get affected even when we cut them many times until its root system are healthy. This plant must have the support because of its thin stem which bends due to the weight of its flowers. Freesia need more care and attention, hence it is less hardy. It is available in all the seasons and its availability will be very high in winter to spring. This plant looks more attractive when grown in groups. The best quality plant contains at least 7 flowers per stem. It can be used for bath oil, fragrance oil, soap, perfume preparations.

Cultivation : Freesia can be easily grown from corms or bulb by burying it in the soil for about 2 inches depth and each corm must be placed about 4 inches apart and avoid planting too closely. It should not be grown in full sun to partial shade but very hot sun, hence it can’t tolerate over sun. Bulb must be buried in soil in a way such that its end point facing upward, hence there will not be any growth when planted reversely. The bulb must be plucked out after the fall from winter frost and must be cleaned and stored in temperature of about 40°F and not less than that. These bulbs can be planted in late spring.
The soil must be rich and well drained, must be moist and avoid soft and watery soil. Soil must be drained well to avoid rotting of bulb and must be watered regularly with adequate gap and over watering must be avoided. Add liquid fertilizers for better growth.
Keep the plant area clean by regularly removing the dried damaged and died leaves and flowers. The plant requires about 65°F in the beginning for the corm to initiate its growth and for the formation of bud it requires less than 65°F temperature and should not be less than 45°F.
Freesias can also be grown from pots for better flowering. Plant in late August in pots and regularly water till plant starts its growth, it nearly takes 2 weeks for its growth. Water regularly and add fertilizers for better growth of plants. After plants starts growing, plant it in your preferred outdoor location. Use general-purpose fertilizers after the death of flowers and always wait till the natural death of plants.
Propagation : Freesia plant can be propagated by dividing plant every three to four year after flowering. Bulbs are lifted during winter season and it is divided and in early spring it should be replanted in summer.
It can also be propagated from seed by sowing it in spring. Seed starts germinating in few weeks and plant in pots in warm location and wait till it starts its growth. After its growth plant it in outdoor location.
Hence growing this plant from bulb is better than growing from seed hence its time consuming and takes more time period for blooming.
Varieties : Freesias are broadly classified into 3 main groups. They are Fragrant massing, Giant freesias and Double flowering Freesias. The fragrant massing is very effective to grow in garden beds and it can grow up to 20 to 25 cm tall. This type is hardly fragrant. Giant freesias varieties grow up to 30 to 60cm tall, taller than fragrant massing varieties. Its flowers are big and have stronger stems. Double flowering freesias are similar to giant freesia and can grow up to 30 to 40cm tall and it produces flowers that have additional rows of petals and hence its flowers are more attractive than other varieties.
All its varieties have nice fragrance and some of its species will be much more fragrant compared to others especially pink and red flowers producing varieties.
Freesia armstrongii and freesia refracta are most common hybrid species and some of its species are freesia fucata, freesia alba, freesia corymbosa, freesia fergusoniae, freesia speciosa, freesia viridis and so on.
Disease and Cure : Freesia plants are affected by snails, white flies and many insects and cases death of plant, drying and yellowing of leaves. Use pesticides and insecticides to keep the plant free from insects.
Excess water supply will cause the bud to rotten and plant get spoiled, hence appropriate amount of water should to supplied with an adequate days of gap between watering.
This plant fails to bloom its flower due to high temperature, over watering and drying of soil. To ensure good growth of flower keep the soil well drained, moist and provide adequate quantity of water and also avoid planting in over sunny areas.

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