Join the RHS today and support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Don’t miss out - book in advance and save
Their bright colours and heavy perfume make freesia a popular cut flower. Freesias are native to South Africa where they are winter growing plants and are frost tender. The modern hybrid freesias, Freesia × kewensis, are derived from crosses between Freesia refracta and Freesia armstrongii. Prepared corms planted outside in April will flower in late summer or they can be grown in a cool greenhouse for spring flowering.
Prepared corms are heat treated to mimic the hot dry South African. These are available in spring for flowering in July and August but will only flower at this time for one season. Plant 5cm (2in) deep in April, in moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Site in a sunny, sheltered spot with twiggy sticks or wire for support.
Unprepared corms: Available late summer for planting outdoors in August or September. Only suitable for very mild districts with very little frost and these corms can remain in-situ to flower in spring the following year.
Indoors, corms will flower from January to April if planted between August and December. An October planting should under ideal conditions, flower in March for a period of four to five weeks.
Freesias are usually increased by corm offsets.
They can also be grown from seed in about seven to eight months but may not flower for a few seasons;
Prepared corms are readily available in single colours or as mixes of single and double flowers.
There are a number of freesia species listed in the RHS Find a Plant. Bulb specialist R. V. Rogers lists a selection.
Heat damage: Temperatures above 15°C will result in spindly growth and quickly fading blooms. Excessive temperature fluctuations may cause deformed flowers which include separation of the first flower from the others by a long length of flowering stem; vertical, instead of angled flower head; ‘wheat ear’ appearance, caused by excessive elongation of flower bracts.
Frost damage: Depending on the severity of the frost, leaves may turn grey and translucent, then collapse or softening of the flower stem and collapse of flowers.
Pests: Susceptible to aphids, caterpillars and glasshouse red spider mite and mice and voles.
Diseases: Fusarium bulb rot, freesia mosaic virus and gladiolus dry rot fungus (Sclerotinia) can occasionally be encountered.
BulbsBulbs for Christmas floweringBulbs: plantingCut flowers: cutting and conditioningCut flowers: growing and selectingEremurusGerberaHaemanthus and ScadoxusHippeastrumHyacinthsStephanotis floribunda10 AGM plants for the conservatory
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9