Caring For Freesias: Guide To Freesia Care In The Garden
What Is A Freesia?
A freesia (Frisian frese) is a member of the mint family native to Europe and Asia Minor. They are very popular in the garden because they grow well in most soil types, bloom profusely, have attractive foliage and flowers, and produce beautiful fruit. They are considered a weed in some areas due to their tendency to climb up trees and other plants. However, they make excellent houseplants.
The leaves of the freesia are smooth and elliptical, but not serrated like those of many other members of the mint family. Their color ranges from greenish yellow or light purple to bright red or orange. Some varieties may even turn brown when bruised!
Freesia flower buds are small, white, and about 1/4 inch long. They open in late spring or early summer and continue to bloom until frost. Flowers are produced from a single point at the top of each leaflet. Flowering occurs throughout the year except during winter months.
Fruit is produced from a bract just above the bud and consists of three-toed green pods containing seeds that ripen into tiny berries in mid-summer.
Although the name suggests that they are native to Freesia, these plants are actually native to the mountains of eastern Africa and southwestern China. They were first transported to Europe in 1799 where they became very popular in the gardens of Holland. The Dutch named them after French ambassador Johan Martin Preisler von Versen who shipped them from Peking to Holland in 1799.
Freesias should be planted in well-draining soil as they do not like to be wet for extended periods of time. They are very attractive to slugs and snails, but the flowers are worth it!
Many different varieties of freesia are available from nurseries, garden centers, and even big box stores. Most are suitable for growing in pots.
Freesias are sensitive to cold so they should not be planted outdoors until all danger of frost has passed. Even then they should be brought indoors if the temperature is expected to dip below 40 degrees at night. They can be grown in pots and kept inside or they can be planted outdoors, but brought indoors when a cold spell is expected.
A sunny windowsill is an ideal place for growing freesia houseplants. They can also be grown under artificial lights.
Sources & references used in this article:
Arizona & New Mexico Getting Started Garden Guide by FF Rockwell – 1912 – McBride, Nast
Letting go of the harness for the last time: A descriptive realism approach to exploring the ending of working relationships with guide dogs by J Phillips – 2014 – books.google.com
The Book of Fresh Flowers: A Complete Guide to Selecting & Arranging by DM Allen – McNair Scholars Research Journal, 2006 – scholarworks.boisestate.edu
The Flower Chef: A Modern Guide to Do-It-Yourself Floral Arrangements by B Pleasant – 2005 – Storey Publishing
The complete book of flowers by M Hillier – 1988 – books.google.com