Freesia Guide: How to Grow & Care for These Attractive Flowers

Read our guide to Freesias for everything you’ll ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for These Attractive Flowers

Freesia is a genus that contains about 20 species of colourful and fragrant flowering plants. Commonly known as “Freesias”, the flowers from this genus are native to regions of southern Africa, especially Cape Provinces.

Nowadays, Freesias are one of the most popular ornamental plants worldwide. Prized for their overall elegant nature, these beauties will look absolutely fabulous in garden landscapes, cute pots, or as cut flowers in superb vases. They are also very low-maintenance, making them great choices for any type of gardener.

When you want to show your close friends or family members how much you care about them, Freesias are the ideal meaningful gifts! For example, red Freesia is a symbol for passion; yellow for friendship, joy, and renewal; pink for motherly love; and white for purity and innocence. While each colour of their flowers has a particular meaning, a multicoloured bouquet symbolizes friendship and thoughtfulness.

About Freesias

  • They belong to the spectacular Iridaceae family, sharing it with many other well-known species including Bugle-lilies, Crocuses, Gladioli, Irises, and Montbretias.
  • Freesia flowers come with different varieties to choose from. The ‘Belleville’, ‘Golden Passion’, ‘Oberon’, and ‘Royal Blue’ cultivars enjoy the greatest fame.
  • Although all Freesias are equally charming, only the Freesia laxa species (Flowering grass) has gained the prestigious Award of Garden Merit. This cultivar is truly unique due to its distinctive flat and star-shaped flowers.
  • Due to their thin stems, these plants cannot always support the weight of their blossoms. You can help your Freesias to stay upright by providing them with some external support, such as a plastic, metal, wooden, or bamboo stake.
  • Their flowers have a specific, pleasing, and sweet fragrance. They play a big part in the production of candles, hand creams, body lotions, shampoos, and perfumes.
  • Freesia plants make for excellent cut flowers alone or in bouquets. Since many people use them in aromatherapy, a bouquet of Freesias in your surroundings can reduce your stress levels and positively impact your mood.
  • These plants have no toxic effects on animals or humans if ingested or touched. Because of this, you can grow Freesias anywhere you want, even near your furry buddies or curious children.
  • The most suitable companion plants for our colourful Freesia flowers are Agave, Alyssum, Clivia, Cosmos, Dahlia, Gladiolus, Iris, Larkspur, Lily of The Valley, Narcissus, Poppy Anemone, Rose, and Tulip.

Freesia Features: An Overview

  • Freesias are herbaceous perennial plants that can reach up to 1 or 2 feet (30-60 cm) in height at maturity. As potted plants, they grow only about 6 to 12 inches (15-31 cm).
  • These plants spread from a conical underground stem called corm that has between 0.5 and 1 inch (1-2.5 cm) in diameter. The corm serves as a storage organ to survive prolonged drought and heat.
  • Their foliage consists of narrow, grass-like, and evergreen leaves with sparsely branched stems of 4 to 16 inches (4-10 cm) long. The leaves usually measure from 4 to 12 inches (10-30) in length.
  • Freesia plants bloom from early spring through late summer. Numerous species come along with fragrant, slender, funnel-shaped flowers. However, some species like Freesia laxa have flat blossoms.
  • In general, their single or double flowers emerge on a long, loose, one-sided tiny stem called a stalk. They show up with a vast colour palette, exhibiting various tints of yellow, white, red, orange, purple, pink, or blue.

Growing Freesias

Freesia flowers are easy-going companions that will grow at their best in environments that mimic their natural habitat. If you live in a region that doesn’t provide these conditions naturally, no worries! You can always keep these plants indoors in pots and simulate their growing demands without any future problems. And, trust us, it is much easier than you might expect!

When it comes to lighting conditions, Freesias do well in full sunlight. For outdoor settings, make sure you grow these flowers in a spot where they can receive lots of bright and direct light. Indoors, place them in the brightest area around your house, such as a south or north-facing window. Freesias are pretty adaptable, so they will also tolerate some daily morning shade.

Freesia plants are typically cold-hardy in USDA zones 9 and 10 where you can grow them successfully as perennials. Outside their hardiness zones, most gardeners plant them in early spring and treat them as annuals for best results. These flowers bloom profusely when they experience daytime temperatures of 60 to 70 °F (16-21 °C) and 50 to 55 °F (10-13 °C) at night.

Freesias are among the most trouble-free plants in terms of pest infestations and fungal diseases. Yet, sometimes, these plants will attract pests like slugs, snails, and aphids. In case you encounter a slug or snail infestation, you can simply handpick or remove them with a water spray. For aphids, you must apply insecticidal soap daily, then wipe away the dead intruders with a clean piece of cloth.

Planting Freesias

The planting time for Freesia plants will vary depending on whether you want to grow them in an outdoor or indoor setting. For outdoor-growing specimens, you can choose any day between April and June. If you want to grow these flowers indoors in pots, plant the corms in fall to bloom in late winter or early spring. After planting the bulbs, they should start blooming in about 12 weeks.

Freesias Bulbs

Freesia flowers perform best in pots as individual specimens, but this does not mean that you cannot grow more in a larger container. We recommend you plant their bulbs a few inches apart to provide good air circulation and avoid future problems. This minimum space is also efficient if you are growing more Freesias outdoors in the garden.

In general, Freesias are pretty versatile regarding their growing medium. Although they are susceptible to root rot, you can avoid this issue by planting them in well-draining soil. In case your soil does not come with proper drainage, you can amend it with compost or peat moss to improve its quality. Your indoor Freesias will usually do just fine in any regular potting mix and a pot that has drainage holes at the bottom.

Frequent fertilizing is not mandatory for Freesia flowers to grow healthy and happy. However, they will need a little attention during their active growing period. Once the corms start to send out some seedlings, feed your plants with a balanced flower fertilizer. After this one-time thing, you can stop feeding, then apply fertilizer again when bud flowers appear.

Once their blooming period has come to an end, Freesias typically go dormant and begin to look somewhat sloppy. This is absolutely normal, so you will not have to discard them. Still, you might need to trim their foliage off when it turns yellow.

Watering Freesias

Freesias are not as picky as other flowering plants when it comes to their watering routine. These plants prefer constantly damp soil, but will not appreciate soggy conditions or having their feet wet. This particular demand should not scare you at all because we have the best solution to avoid over-watering!

Freesia flowers usually thrive with regular watering only once every week during their growing and blooming seasons. Yet, the frequency of watering might be different depending on the region you live in and growing conditions. Due to this, you should first check the soil before giving your plants another drink. When the substrate has dried out almost entirely, this is the perfect time to spoil your Freesias with water.

Freesias will have the time of their life in locations with 40-50% humidity. In hot and dry climates, it is wise to keep these plants in a humid room or to spray them with water from time to time.


Propagating Freesias

Do you want to surprise your beloved ones with a lovely gift or simply enrich your collection with more of these plants? Well, what activity could be more exciting and rewarding for a gardener than propagation? Especially when you can propagate your Freesia flowers through the fastest and easiest way – division.

This propagation method, however, is not the usual division you are familiar with. It is even better! Once you have dug your Freesia bulbs out, you do not need to divide them into many sections. Why is that? Well, one of the coolest things about Freesias is that their main corm usually forms small bulbs as offsets.

Basically, all you have to do is remove these adorable offsets very gently and transplant them in their permanent growing location. After the planting process, you can care for your Freesia offsets as you would for the mother plant. Keep in mind, though, that these offsets will not bloom in the next one or two seasons.

In Conclusion

Freesias are some of the most attractive and easy-to-grow ornamental plants out there! If you do not already have a few of these stunning plants In your garden, you should treat yourself with one by any means. Just think about their colourful and sweet-scented flowers for a second. There is no way you can possibly resist the magnetic aura of Freesias!

Are you already growing Freesias? Share your experience in the comments below!

Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact

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