got the floppy feesia leaves. now what??

alinitap(6)April 25, 2011

hi there, bulb experts!

this is my third attempt at growing freesias. first time I planted them outside, and I got one that grew and gave me a bloom- I was in heaven! (well, I think I had planted about 10 bulbs that time...) anyway, that was that, and never seen the fellow again.

next time I planted the corms in a pot, inside. got the floppy lush foliage, no blooms whatsoever. I emailed the website where I got them and they said that the plants probably did not get enough light. Those were gone too. I said to myself that I won't attempt this sgain. Sure enough, I found some corms at Walmart this time, and I couldn't resist... Now I got to the floppy-leaf stage again, then I discovered this forum. I read thru the messages regarding this topic, I still have one question though: now what do I do? Is there any hope left for these plants now that they have so many crazy leaves, or do I need to wait for next year? How do I fix this thing? I long for the fragrant flowers, especially because they are not popular with the florists here in town (Nampa,Idaho), for some reason. I am originally from Europe and in February-March you can find freesias everywhere. Here I only seen them one time at albertsons- they had one sad-looking pot with half-dead flowers in it, and that was the first and last time I seen any...

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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

The Freesia available are nearly always hybrids, bred to produce larger flowers in more colors. Unfortunately the fragrance is usually lost. The original south African plant is shorter often a dirty white, with a great fragrance, that comes up year after year regardless of the growing conditions. The hybrids are beautiful if you can get them to send up blooming stems from among the leaves laying all over the ground. I have them in about a 10 inch container that I made a wire grid about a foot over the top to support the leaves(at least try)and keep the stems vertical until they bloom, when I cut them for a nice arrangement in the house. Al

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 9:16AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

They aren't popular with florists because they are expensive and short lived and small and delicate. Many customers don't know what they are and want bigger showier flowers. (I was a florist for more than twenty years)

As South African natives they must be greenhouse grown commercially and that makes them cost more.

They are frost tender and won't make it outdoors in most of the US, I grew wonderful freesias in Phoenix AZ but here in Portland OR I can't get blooms even in my heated greenhouse, too cloudy here.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 1:23PM
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alinitap(6)

so is there any way I can get mine to produce some blooms, or is it too late now that the leaves are so big? any ideas? thanks

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 12:40AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

In your zone it should not be too late to bloom. Be sure they are in the full sun, NOW, to initiate bloom stems. They will be gone before the hot weather. Al

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 8:54AM
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the_next_generation(5)

You can try a high phosphorous fertilizer and see if that helps them. They do need full sun, so if you don't have enough try adding grow lamps.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 8:07AM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

For next year - for those hybrid Freesias with the big coloured flowers: try a sandy mix in a terracotta pot. You might have more luck if you plant them thinly - say two to a tall-ish six-inch wide pot. I know the corms aren't big but they do seem to do better in a deeper pot so long as they are well-drained.

Good daylight and cooler at night but always above freezing because they're not as hardy as the scented variety. If you can place them next to a brick or concrete wall that holds the warmth, they'll appreciate it.

Use a leaf hoop, as you would for Gladiolus or carnations to stop the flop. They're even worse when the flower spikes come through.

Let them dry off naturally. Don't let them parch over summer. Dry but not droughted, otherwise they tend to diminish. When you lift them for replanting, separate the spawn and grow it on separately.

If you're wanting the scented ones - try raising them from seed. Freesia lactea is what to look for (unless the botanists have been changing names again...:-(( )

For this year - if you can put them outside during the day in a warm, sheltered spot out of the wind and rain they might just, no-promises, commence flowering.

I suspect you will have to work out a local solution to getting them to flower reliably - maybe by starting them in the spring instead of autumn and using your garden's micro-climates to extend the spring if your area shifts suddenly from cool mild spring to hot summer.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 10:02AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

The problem is that they need full sun outdoors but can't live through your winter. If all danger of frost is past you can put them out now but it is likely going to be a battle for you to grow them.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 10:38AM
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