Monday, March 6, 2017

Freesias Make March Magic

Freesia alba blooms in late winter-early spring.
We came home from a week in Arizona to a heavenly scent. I'd hoped as much, but worried the Freesia alba that was ready to bloom when we left would be cloying and unpleasant.

Actually, I was concerned they'd smell like scented tampons. Years ago, I'd purchased a box of Freesia-scented tampons and hated them. It was as if the scent was emanating from inside my body. Wait a minute! It was!

Anyway, I won't go down that road, which luckily I no longer have to travel. Suffice it to say, adding the chemically-created scent that supposedly mimicked a flower's fragrance was like turning a Led Zepplin song into elevator music. Enough said.

Removed that image from your minds? Good. First, just the vision of this particular Freesia promises good things.

Somewhat succulent and just a touch of sparkle that white, thick-petaled flowers have. The golden centers and fuzzy white anthers add more charm and draw you in for a sniff.

Three stems of Freesia alba.
If the scent and beauty recommendation is enough to make you want to try it, jot it on your calendar for next fall. I planted the 10 Freesia alba corms in one pot in mid-October. Counting back around 18 weeks from planting to bloom, you could plant them through mid-December for flowers as late as May.

Two things I'd recommend for good growth and bloom are lights and soil with great drainage. You'll need supplemental light for these African sun-dwellers.

I used a soil mix that included half good potting soil and half a mixture of chicken grit, perlite and coir.

If you have a soil mix that you use for cacti, add some good compost type potting soil to it and you'll have the perfect mix.

Freesia leaves sprouting after just two weeks.
After planting the pointy corms 2 inches deep (between October and December in the Northern Hemisphere), water lightly and put the pot in a sunny spot. The trickiest thing about growing bulbs in the winter is that, many of them, like Freesia, actually prefer cool temperatures. But cool temps and wet soils are a recipe for fungus. I keep my house around 64 degrees F during the winter. But I use a heat mat for newly planted bulbs, which keeps the soil from remaining in a soggy state. My Freesia corms sprouted in about two weeks, and in a month, the leaves were about 8" high.

Strangely enough, the other varieties I'd planted at around the same time as this one are not doing well at all. My guess is they don't like the pot they're in. For the Freesia alba, I just used a thin plastic pot.




1 comment:

  1. While I like freesias I would find it difficult to leave AZ to come home to the mess that is carrying on here. I hope you had a good time.

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