more info on Freesia laxa on BX 298

Tue, 06 Dec 2011 21:31:23 PST
Hi Marie, Brian, Randall and Roland,

I will answer best I can, given just my garden's results, and where they grew before I got them from UCSB.

Marie wrote "Do you grow any of these in the ground?"
Yes.  The red ones I grow only in the ground. The white and blue I grow in pots. Same at UCSB.  The white and blue all came from pots in the lath house but the red came from outside. But I have not tried the red in pots or the white and blue in the ground.

"Do you think the ones you posted pictures of are as hardy?"
Santa Barbara is more mild than Tolleson Arizona Marie so I cannot say. I get frost here but not where I grow them.

These are the same flower as Anomatheca laxa in 'Cape Bulbs' by R. Doutt, whose garden was less than 10 miles from here with the same climate. It has also been called Lapeirousia laxa.  He did not grow this particular species but reports from his research that it occurs "as a woodland plant in the summer-rainfall area. However, it has a winter-growing cycle and is dormant in the summer..." His illustration is of a different variety with larger flowers and the blotches on the dorsal tepals. My red ones bloom in summer, my blue ones in fall/winter, and my white ones in spring.  They have never overlapped in their blooming at my house. 

'The  Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs' mentions Freesia laxa but does not have a section on them.

Brian writes "I am surprised at your comment on Flickr that the flowers last only a day. Must be the Californian heat.... some showing more or less at their best for several days each." 

Randall writes "Here on the Central Coast of California they will last for several days aswell." 
It has not been hot here in Santa Barara, which is on the Central Coast.  It has only reached 70 F a few days since the blue Freesia laxa began their blooming. They are in partial shade so they have been quite cool. Perhaps I do not water them enough. Each stalk has lasted a span of perhaps 5 days but each flower on the stalk only for at most 2 days. I may have an inferior variety.  I certainly have less horticultural expertise!  

Roland writes "Is there somebody with a few seeds form the pure white form?"
I have a pot full of the pure white form.  I do not recall if I have seen them set seed, which may mean they dont.  I will promise you the full crop of whatever seed the white ones set this year if you remind me to check them and figure out the mailing to France part.

There is more information on these in past PBS posts.  Just put "Freesia laxa" into the search box. 

Im glad others are interested in Freesia laxa. They are not so showy. 

- gastil

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