Skip to content
Freesia: A Symphony of Sights and Scents

Freesia: A Symphony of Sights and Scents

From one gardening friend to another, here is the scoop on the friendliest flower in the garden: freesia. Freesias have charmed their way through the garden world since the late 1800s, and hold a special spot in the hearts of green-thumbed enthusiasts everywhere. With their beguiling blooms and sweet scents, these floral flirts seduce the senses, drawing in both human admirers and pollinators alike. Available in an array of illuminating colours, they add a touch of splendour to any garden or container, providing a sumptuous feast for our buzzing companions who eagerly indulge in their blossoms.

Freesia is part of the Iridaceae family, which encompasses approximately 65 genera and 1800 species found worldwide. Freesia alba made its grand entrance in an English nursery in 1878 and caused quite the botanical stir. The result? A rapid spread across Europe, Africa, and North America. 

Origins of Freesias: Are They Indigenous to South Africa?

Freesias are perennial flowering bulbs, comprising 16 native South African species. These are mainly from the winter rainfall region of southern Western Cape. Offering bountiful beauty and joy, freesias effortlessly bring colour, charm, and fragrance to any space they occupy. A national treasure in the world of gardening. 

Ideal Growing Conditions for Freesias

Freesias thrive in locations with dappled shade, ideally where they can bask in morning sunlight and enjoy afternoon shade. The best time to grow freesia is from mid-April when the temperatures cool down significantly. However, you can plant up until mid-June with flowering starting from August and dazzling through to October. Freesias are versatile and grow well in garden beds and containers. Their fragrant and colourful display coincides perfectly with the anticipation of winter's end, spreading joy where they are planted.

Ease of Cultivation

Growing freesias is an easy pursuit that will leave you longing to grow them year after year. Once soil temperatures have cooled, plant freesia corms in garden beds or containers. There is absolutely no need for soaking them beforehand. The recipe for success is straightforward: prepare your soil, follow the planting instructions, and lovingly care for them. 

Grow Fabulous Freesia in Five Easy Steps 

  1. Loosen the soil to a depth of approximately 30cm, ensuring it's well-draining and slightly acidic. 
  2. Make sure to incorporate compost into the soil.
  3. Plant the bulbs 3cm under the soil. 
  4. Mulch with compost.
  5. Water deeply and regularly. 

The rule of thumb is you should water every 3-4 days when planted in the ground, for 10 minutes. If you plant in containers, you should water every 2-3 days until the water runs out the bottom. 

Top tip: For a striking visual impact, consider planting a mass of bulbs together.

Longevity of Freesias

Freesias grace us with blooms for 10-12 weeks. By planting bulbs at intervals, you can ensure a continuous succession of flowers, keeping your beds adorned throughout the season. You can also ensure continuous flowering and colour by planting winter and spring flowering annuals alongside your freesia. 

Freesias as Cut Flowers

These local lovelies make splendid cut flowers. As cut flowers, they retain their beauty for up to three weeks. Snip a few blooms and arrange them in vases around your home. 

Freesia serves as both the common and scientific name for these dainty blossoms. The name freesia also happens to be a tribute to botanical bromance. The botanist Christian P. Ecklon paid homage to his friend and fellow botanist, Friedrich H. T. Freese, by naming the flower after him. That is why it is said that freesia symbolises friendship. 

So, why not follow suit and foster the spirit of friendship? Gift homegrown freesia bouquets to your nearest and dearest this spring. 

Go on, grow blooming bliss with freesia! Happy gardening! 


Previous article April Garden Checklist
Next article Growing daffodils in South Africa

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields