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 Freesia subsp. var.  Freesia
Cultivated freesias
Habit: bulbous
Height: to
Width: to
cm40cm 15cm
Height: cm to 40 cm
Width: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to 15 cm
Lifespan: perennial
Origin: S Africa
Bloom: early fall, mid fall, late fall
Exposure: sun
Water: moist
Features: flowers, fragrance, naturalizes
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 8 to 11
Sunset Zones: 8, 9, 12-24, 28, indoors
Flower features: red, orange, yellow, blue, purple, multicolored, white, single, double
Iridaceae > Freesia var. ,

Flowers give of a rich perfume. White or yellow blooms tend to have strongest perfume. Row of 2 inch tubular flowers appear on stems about the same height as leaves. Flowers may be single or double, white, yellow, pink, red, orange, purple, lavender, blue or various combination's of these colors.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Freesia (name unexplained, perhaps personal). Iridaceae. Popular "bulbs for fall planting and winter blooming, and next to the Chinese narcissus, which may be grown in water, they flourish in home windows with less care than most other bulbs; they are also much- prized florists' plants; easily grown, attractive, and fragrant.CH

Cormous plants, with plane narrow lvs. at the base and somewhat on the sts., and showy fls. in small clusters at the top of the slender st.: perianth tubular and funnel-shaped, the segms. more or less unequal; stamens 3, inserted in the tube, the anthers linear; ovary ovoid or oblong, 3-celled, with crowded ovules, the style filiform and the branches 2-fid (Tritonia, closely allied, has simple style-branches): fr. a loculicidal 3- valved caps., bearing turgid seeds.—S. Afr., probably 2 or 3 original species, but the specific limits difficult of determination.CH

Freesias have well-shaped tubular flowers, white or pale yellow. The five to seven flowers are upright and attached along a jointed axis which is suddenly bent back almost at right angles to the vertical peduncle. The popularity of freesias is a growth of the last quarter century or more, although they have been in cultivation since 1816 or earlier. Conservative botanists now suppose that the usual garden freesias are all originally of one stock, which species should be called F. refracta. Extremes of variation in form are shown in Figs. 1578 and 1579, from the long and slender tube of var. alba to the short and broader tube of var. Leichtlinii. One of the earliest pictures of the plant is that in the "Botanical Register" for 1816 (Plate 135. as Tritonia refracta), a part of which is reproduced in Fig. 1578 to show the great irregularity of the corolla-lobes at that early period, and the straggling habit of the flowers, some pointing down and others up. The garden evolution of the freesias has proceeded along two lines. The greatest effort has been expended to produce a pure white flower, and in the best strains the white color is mostly associated with a long and slender tube. The ideal of a yellow flower is less popular, and is mostly associated with the shorter and broader tube. In both cases the forms with straggling inflorescence and irregular corolla-lobes have been suppressed. One may readily see how strongly two-lipped and gaping were the flowers of 1816, and how much the tube was bulged on one side. Any tendencies toward such forms in modern bulbs are signs of undesirable characters. In pedigree plants the lobes are rounded and the flowers symmetrical.CH

These plants are much forced by florists, chiefly for cut-flowers at Christmas. If cut when only two flowers are out, the others will open. They may be had in flower from Christmas until June by successional plantings from August to February. For the best results the largest and highest-priced bulbs should be planted as early as August. Under good care, the bloom may be secured in ten to twelve weeks after the bulbs are planted; it is not necessary that the bulbs be kept cool or stored for a time after potting, as is the case with hyacinths and tulips, for they root quickly and start rapidly into growth. For holiday bloom, the bulbs are planted in October. One of the strong points of freesias is that planting may be delayed longer than with many other bulbs. Bottoms may be dried off gradually in the pots and then be shaken out and kept dry during summer. Repot; the larger bulbs will bloom, but will not give so good results as medium-sized imported bulbs not previously forced. When the plants are growing, keep them cool and moist. Provide good drainage, and let the potting earth contain a little sand and more or less fibrous material. Usually several bulbs are planted together in pots or boxes (about six bulbs in a 5-inch pot). Offsets are freely produced and these may be used for propagation; or seeds may be employed, giving blooming plants in two or three years, or sometimes the recent hybrid forms are said to give bloom in six to seven months from seeding.CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


Freesia calendar?
January: flowering**
February: flowering**
March: flowering**
April: plant*
July: plant**
August: plant**, flowering*
September: flowering*
October: flowering*
Notes: *outdoors, **indoors

In mild climates, plant 2-3in (508cm) deep and apart (pointed end up) in autumn for spring flowering, or in the spring for summer flowering. After flowering, the leaves and stems will dry up, and then sprout from the corms again the next fall.

In cold climates, plant 2in deep indoors in a pot, and 2in apart. Keep in sunny window, with night temperatures as cool as you can. Use a soil-based potting soil with added grit.


Freesia will self-sow if dead flower stems are left alone, though seedling may revert to simple white or cream flowers. Corms will quickly multiply underground. If you purchase or collect seeds, they can be planted in July-August and should sprout easily, possibly blooming their first spring.

Pests and diseases

Freesias are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Large Yellow Underwing.


There are 16 species of Freesia, all native to Africa. Of the species, 12 are native to Cape Province, South Africa, and two to tropical Africa, one species extending north of the equator to Sudan. F. refracta is the most commonly grown species, which during the 19th century got crossed with F. leichtlinii. Many cultivars arose from those species, as well as pink and yellow flowering F. corymbosa.

  Common name Habit Lifespan Exposure Water Min zone Max zone
Freesia Freesia perennial sun moist 8 11
Freesia andersoniae perennial
Freesia caryophyllacea perennial
Freesia laxa False Freesia
Scarlet Freesia
perennial sun moderate
8 11.5

Freesia hybridaCH:

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Freesia hybrida, Hort. Here belong many hybrid forms, some of them known as the "colored freesias," as: F. chapmanii, a cross of the typical F. refracta (F. aurea, Hort.), with var. alba, producing a soft yellow flushed with deeper yellow and with an orange blotch (Gn. 71, p. 165. G.M. 50:164. G. 31:175); F. tubergenii, being a cross of F. refracta alba, and F. armstrongii (G.W. 13, p. 199. G. 28:215. Gn. 69, p. 184. J.H. III. 52:299); F. kcwensis, hybrid probably between F. Armstrongii and F. Leichtlinii; F. Mdidenii, being F. refracta alba x F. Armstronffii; F. Ragwnieri, a race resulting from the crossing of F. refracta, F. Leichtlinii and their hybrids with F. Armstrongii, described as producing scented fls. tinted in shades of pink, rose, purple, blue, brown, orange, and spotted and veined. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



  • w:Freesia. Some of the material on this page may be from Wikipedia, under the Creative Commons license.
  • Freesia QR Code (Size 50, 100, 200, 500)
  • American Horticultural Society: A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, by Christopher Brickell, Judith D. Zuk. 1996. ISBN 0789419432
  • Sunset National Garden Book. Sunset Books, Inc., 1997. ISBN 0376038608

External links

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