Freesia, a native plant of South Africa, is loved for its delicate multicoloured flowers and distinct fragrance. It is a favourite among gardeners for brightening flower beds and floral arrangements alike. Freesia is also a popular ingredient in soaps, lotions and perfumes. The great thing about freesia is that it is easy to grow from seeds and even easier to care for.
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Things you need
- Peat, clay or other small pots
- High-quality potting soil or seed starter
- Watering can or hose
- Organic material (compost or manure)
Start the freesia seeds indoors. Soak the freesia seeds in warm water for 24 hours. Plant the seeds 6 mm (1/4 inch) deep in a peat or other small pot filled with quality potting soil or specialised commercial seed starter. Keep them at a temperature between 18.3 and 23.9 degrees Celsius (65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit). Keep the soil moist, but avoid drowning the seeds. The freesia seeds will germinate in around one month.
Prepare the soil in your garden. Choose a location where the freesia will receive full sun for most of the day. Make sure the soil is well-drained. If rainfall is not absorbed by the soil after five to six hours, choose a different location. You can also improve the soil's drainage by adding 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) of organic material -- such as peat moss, bark, decomposed manure or compost to the area. Work it into the soil with a spade.
Transplant the freesia seeds outdoors. Wait until the danger of frost has passed. Dig holes 5 cm (2 inches) deep and 7.5 cm (3 inches) apart. Carefully remove the freesia seedlings from the indoor pots along with the soil, taking care not to damage the roots. Place the freesia seedlings in the holes and fill the holes with soil.
Water the freesia. Water the seedlings thoroughly, completely soaking the ground around them. Continue to water the seedlings frequently so that the soil is always moist, but not wet. Once freesia flowers, watering can be reduced. Water freesia whenever the top inch of soil feels dry. Once freesia stops flowering, watering can be stopped.
Cut freesia when it blooms. It is safe to cut freesia and use it in bouquets once it blooms. After freesia has bloomed, leave the foliage in place. Freesia needs leaves to gather sunlight and create nourishment for itself.
Remove dry foliage before winter. When the leaves yellow and die toward the end of summer, gently remove them by hand. This will protect freesia during winter dormancy. Freesia should return in spring. If you live in a zone with very cold winters, freesia can be dug up and overwintered indoors. Keep it in an area with temperatures around 4.44 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit).
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