can I plant freesias now?

skiwithchar(z5 (NE Ohio))March 24, 2008

My mom-in-law is coming to visit us (from England), and I just remembered that freesia is her very favorite flower. I haven't planted them before because I've been afraid of forgetting to bring them in for the winter. However, since she's coming, I'm thinking I could stick them in some pots so that they bloom in time for her to enjoy them while she's here (and then they'll be in a place where I can easily bring them in for next winter). She'll be here from Apr. 30 through July 8.

My question is: what do I need to do to make all this happen? Have I totally missed the boat, or do I have a chance to make this work? Our temps are currently around 35 in the daytime and dip a bit lower at night, but I'm hoping that changes very soon :-)

Any and all advice would be wonderful! I've searched and searched other places on this site (and others), and don't see any post that helps me with my particular dilemma.

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Freesias can be planted in the north in spring...when the soil has firmly warmed up.
In your zone 5 that can be anywhere around mid April to ???
This year, we have had one of the snowiest on record...I gotta think you are in the same boat unless your zone 5 is totally different.

Considering planting in mid April...freesias will bloom 10 to 12 weeks AFTER planting.....give or take.
.....your mom might just be in time to see them before she leaves.
You could try to force them to respond earlier....pot them up and plant them out at their best time.

The staggering of the flowering 10 - 12 weeks after planting does them proud in that color can be arranged throughout the season if planted every week or two.

There is no point in trying to rush the season by putting them into the ground earlier than you should. Cold, wet ground will only lead to rot.

You are suggested to plant them close to one another to give each support because they do tend to flop.
You might have to give additional support.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 5:37PM
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skiwithchar(z5 (NE Ohio))

Thank you for this help! I will give it a try! :-) Yes, we still have a bunch of snow in our yard, but possibly it might melt when it rains later this week :-)

I do have two questions from your reply:

When you say to "pot them up and plant them at their best time", does that mean plant in pots now and keep in the garage, then put them outside in mid-April? If so, how much watering/light should I try to give them, and can the light be artificial light?

Also, how close should I plant them to each other keep them from flopping?

I'm very encouraged by your info!! Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 6:37PM
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I just potted up some freesias and used the following instructions.

Indoor Forcing

1. Fill your containers with good quality, well-drained soil. Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes; freesia must never sit in waterlogged soil or they will rot.

2. Site your containers on a sunny windowsill - the sunnier, the better. When grown indoors, freesia often don't get as much light as they'd like and so they tend to flop a bit. We recommend using support rings or stakes in all but greenhouse situations.

3. Plant your freesia 2 deep and 1 apart for the most brilliant display. The bulbs look like small, slim onions. Plant them with the pointed end facing up.

4. After planting, water freesia well, until water comes out of your container's drainage holes. Sprouts will show in a few weeks with leaves and buds following shortly thereafter.

5. When in bloom, the flowering period can be prolonged by placing the potted freesia in a cool room. Flowers may also be snipped for use in a vase. Water plants as needed to keep soil lightly moist.

6. After flowering has finished, freesia plants may be transplanted to outdoor gardens in zones 9-11. In colder areas it's difficult to coax a rebloom. Most gardeners savor the graceful blossoms and their intoxicating fragrance for a single season. Think of freesia as the horticultural equivalent of fine chocolates - while they don't ever last long enough, but they're still delicious.

Quantity tips:
For 12-15" pots - plant 15-20
For 10" pots - plant 12-14
For 8" pots - plant 9

Bit of Horticultural Geometry
Freesia flowers are zygomorphic which just means that they grow along one side of the stem, in a single plane. When you look at a flower stalk however, you'll see that the blooms are facing upwards. How does this work?

Freesias stems have the unusual habit of turning at right angles just below the bottom flower. This causes the upper portion of the stem to grow almost parallel with the ground. The flowers bloom along the top side of the stalk, which makes them lovely to look down into in a garden setting and ideal for arrangements.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 2:21PM
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skiwithchar(z5 (NE Ohio))

Thank you for all this detail!

Do you also know what kinds of temperature range I should keep these within? For instance, should they be warmer in the daytime and cooler at night, and if so how warm and how cool? Or should they be consistent temps, and if so, what temps are good? This will help me figure out where to place these as well as when it might be safe to put them outside, if they're still in bloom when it gets warm enough.

I really appreciate this info!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 11:11AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I planted freesias a few years ago in an area that became over run with daffodils and the freesias never bloomed. Last fall I dug out the daffodils and came upon the freesia bulbs which I threw into a large glazed pot and forgot about them. A couple of months ago I noticed these bulbs sprouting in the pot and did not even remember what they were. They were laying in all positions and the sprouts had them all locked together. I threw about 4 inches of compost on top of them and again forgot about them. I now have a whole pot full of blooming freesias about 12 to 18 inches tall. I guess I could be called the serendipity gardener! Al

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 10:27AM
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jardineratx(zone 8, Texas)

I purchased freesia bulbs about 5 years ago from Lowes and expected very little from them.....blooms in the spring, never to be seen again. I was wrong! They have returned every year since and bloom beautifully and reliably. (they are blooming now) I wonder, however, if I remove the spent blooms, can I extend the blooming period, or are they once bloomers?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 12:54PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I only get one bloom stem from each bulb. Removing the bloomed out stem has never caused a new stem to appear. Al

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 9:16AM
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jardineratx(zone 8, Texas)

Thanks for the info, Al....that's what I figured.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 9:55AM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)


I'm in Zone 8, dallas tx and just purchased some freesia bulbs on sale. Will I be able to plant them now or has the time passed? Everywhere I've been reading never really tells the months in which to plant. So I'm a bit confused.



    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 5:00PM
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I planted freesias in two tall urn type plantes outdoors in January. I believe it was about mid Jan. I thought the foot of snow would kill them all. It didn't. They are coming up now. That's 2 mos to get small amount of foliage.

They are happiest in 50s to 70s. They can take some cold.
Get them planted now. I would do pots so the rains don't overwhelm them. I've never been impressed with them in the ground in my Arlington TX garden.

It may be too late because of the heat here in TX...but...what have you got to lose? If you put them in pots that can come in during the scorching days that may come in late May you might just have the most fragrant house plant ever. If you don't plant them, they won't keep until next Dec or Jan.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 11:19AM
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ashley_plant_addict(Zone 8)

Cynthia, thank you! I was thinking about planting them in a pot and then if it got too hot bringing them in. Also, I wasn't sure if they would last until next winter so thanks for warning me. Looks like I'll pot them tonight when I get home! Oh! I'm so excited now! : )


    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 2:51PM
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