The term freesia refers to a genus of flowers that includes 14 different species. Freesias are flowers that originally come from Africa, and they are popular flowers both in arrangements and as single, cut flowers in vases. According to Teleflora, freesia are the flower used to celebrate 7th anniversaries, and they symbolise innocence and friendship.
Freesias are tall plants that grow from a tuberous root known as a corm. It can get up to 1 foot high, and it features long narrow leaves that are light green in colour. The stalks are slender and tend to be the same height. Freesias produce loose clumps of flowers at the top of each slim stalk. The funnel-shaped flowers face upward thanks to a sharp bed in the stalk, and depending on the species, they can range from white, to red and pink to purple in colour.
The freesia is named after a 19th-century German physician named F. H. T. Freese. It originally comes from southern Africa. The first two species of freesia to be cultivated in Europe include Freesia caryophyllacea, which was thought to be an ixia; and freesia corymbosa, which was thought to be a gladiolus. Freesia was discovered by the horticultural world in 1874, and 10 years later, it had a regular presence in the nursery trade.
Freesias can be propagated through using seeds or through offsets of bulbs, where one bulb will grow a cluster of smaller bulbs around them. They should be planted in locations with full sun, where temperatures drop down between 4.44 and 7.22 degrees Celsius at night. The freesia requires thorough watering while the leaves and flowers are developing, but watering should be reduced to when the soil feels dry after the plant is properly established.
The freesia is an plant that is attractive to birds, butterflies and bees, all of which can help pollinate your garden. It is also resistant to deer and may be grown in beds or in containers. When they are cut, freesias last well in a vase filled with water.
Though freesias are technically a perennial, it takes some effort to convince them to bloom repeatedly. The freesia needs to be stored between three and four months at 29.4 degrees C, after which the corm is planted at progressively lower temperatures for several weeks. Then the temperature is raised, equally slowly, after which the plant is ready to grow again. This mimics the seasonal changes in southern Africa, where the freesia comes from. Freesia planted in the fall will bloom the following spring, while freesias planted in spring will bloom during the summer.