Botanical Name: Freesia hybrids
Freesia flower is often sold as cut flowers in florist's shops. You can enjoy their beautiful, highly fragrant blooms even longer, though, if you grow freesias yourself as house plants.
Funnel-shaped freesia flowers are sweetly-scented and available in single- and double-flowered varieties. Hybrids offer a big range of gorgeous colors -- lavender, pink, orange, red, yellow, white and bicolors. Surrounding the flower stems are long, strap-like leaves.
Freesia bulbs are actually corms, and are easy to grow indoors. They are warm-natured, meaning corms don't need a cold treatment to bloom; the corms are ready to plant. Choose corms that are firm -- not soft or mushy. Don't buy any that are sprouting. After waiting for months for freesia flower to bloom, you don't want to be disappointed.
Start planting freesia in late summer or early fall for winter or early-spring blooms. You can pot them up every couple weeks for a succession of flowers to enjoy for months.
After all the flowers are spent, reduce watering and allow the foliage to die back naturally.
When the foliage turns brown, stop watering. Then cut them off. Lift the corms out of the potting medium and store them in a dry, warm (80°F/17°C) place for at least 3 months. Corms need at least a 3-month rest before they can be started again. Any rotten or corky corms likely have dry rot and should be discarded.
Leaning stems are likely stretching toward the sunlight. It's a good idea to turn the pot every few days, or as necessary, to expose all sides to light. Also, it's not unusual to stake up flowering freesias because they get top heavy and flop over.
Shriveled, quickly fading blooms are caused by too-high temperatures. Make freesia last longer by keeping the plant in a slightly cooler location. Blooms will last for months if kept at a maximum of 65°F/18°C.
Something bugging your freesias? Aphids are attracted to new growth; look for these insects on leaves and stems and treat any infestation right away. Red spider mites sometimes attack indoor plants in winter because they like dry conditions. Raising the humidity will help to prevent them.
Are freesias poisonous? No. While it's not a good idea to allow cats and dogs to chew on plants, you don't have to worry about this one -- it's non-toxic.
Origin: South Africa
Height: Up to 18 in (46 cm). Flower stems often need to be staked to hold them upright.
Light: Bright, indirect sunlight. Some cool, direct morning sunlight is fine.
Water: Keep the soil lightly moist. Don't overwater because it will cause the corms to rot.
Humidity: Moderate -- around 40-50% relative humidity. If indoor air is dry, discover these easy ways to increase humidity for your houseplants.
Temperature: Warm temperatures 80°F/27°C until corms start sprouting, then keep cool 60-65°F/16-18°C while freesia plant is growing and flowering.
Soil: Good-quality, all-purpose potting mix with added horticultural sand for faster drainage.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks, beginning with the first show of flower buds till the end of flowering. Use a high-phosphorus water-soluble fertilizer.
Propagation: Repot corms each year, following "How to Grow Freesia" steps above. Corms grow offsets that can be separated and potted.