"Commercial" Freesias

Leo A. Martin leo@possi.org
Mon, 28 Oct 2013 18:11:53 PDT
> Online information seems to suggest that the
> white / yellow / red cultivars are more fragrant
> than the blue ones, and my assumption is that
> singles will be more fragrant than doubles.

> Minimum was 25 / variety which is really more
> than I wanted. How many can I wedge into
> what size pot?

> Greenhouse... between 50 / 55 degrees Fahrenheit

The commercial Freesia hybrids seem to descended (long ago) from both summer- and
winter-growing species. They usually sprout here in the fall but sometimes stay in leaf
until midsummer. I know people in the Midwest of the USA who treat them as summer bulbs.
I have never noticed a predictable association between color and scent, and sometimes
doubles can be at least as fragrant as singles.

They commercial hybrids don't seem to mind overnight snaps into the mid teens F / -7C so
long as it warms up the next day. Your greenhouse could be kept cooler for the sake of
your winter bulbs, but you might have other plants in there.

If you have a nice deep pot you can plant them almost side by side, at least 10 to a
standard "1-gallon" nursery pot, even more if you plant them in two or three layers.

I like to plant largish winter containers (24" / 60cm across) with layers of
thickly-planted bulbs, and winter annuals (flowers and vegetables) on top. Something in
the container looks good all winter. I might suggest tazetta Narcissus as the bottom
layer, then Freesia above those, then Ranunculus or Anemone above those, then the
annuals. Select from alyssum, blue trailing lobelia (L. erinus), carnation (Dianthus),
stock (Matthiola), flowering tobacco (Nicotiana), arrugula, radishes, Swiss chard,
beets, carrots, Chinese chives, fennel, different colored lettuces, and mizuna. The
lobelia and Nicotiana are the tenderest plants I mentioned; the others take stiff
overnight frosts.

If your container will never get frost add Salvia elegans, pineapple sage, with a
mouth-watering fragrance and spikes of cardinal red flowers most of the winter. It comes
from cloud-forest elevations in Mexico so it does well in cool surroundings. It roots
easily in soil or water.

I mentioned a lot of bulbs to keep the list police at bay.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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