Freesia laxa subsp. azurea

David Fenwick
Sat, 05 Nov 2011 15:05:34 PDT
Just a couple points to add to that Alberto and to my own comments.

I suspect shade may be a problem with growing subsp. azurea in the UK; it 
may be weak due to the lower winter light levels during its growth period 
here, as it tends to be early here, and flowering for me as early as 
February. I was on the western edge of high ground also so had long periods 
of cloud build-up from the prevailing south-westerly winds, which didn't 
help matters. It's certainly not an ephemeral as F. laxa, which always 
flowered for me during Chelsea week. Unless I timed my plants differently, 
it flowered from seed in just five months, six on the outside. I found F. 
viridis a good deal hardier but have had it replenish itself from seed after 
being frosted.

If azurea is hybridised with the other forms of laxa or with grandiflora, 
the progeny are quite vigorous; the colour range can also be quite stunning. 
As seen with the following Anomatheca. I use Anomatheca here as a group name 
from within Freesia, and to distinguish them from other Freesia species.

Freesia 'Naticoke' - A reported American hybrid (intermediate between F. 
grandiflora and F. laxa subsp. azurea; and I expect will be the 
interspecific hybrid between the species due to performance of progeny)…

Freesia (laxa x grandiflora) x laxa 'Plum Scrumptious' (bred my myself, 
seedling of the above)…

Freesia 'East of Eden' (bred my myself, seedling of the above)…

Freesia 'Shelly' (a chance seedling in my old garden that had flowers nearly 
three times the size of Freesia laxa)…

If someone wants to put some of the images from the links above on the PBS 
Freesia page please feel free.

Similarly, Dirk Wallace produced some very fine hybrids between Freesia 
grandiflora and laxa in Australia; but with laxa as pollen donor, my own 
hybrids were of F. laxa.

I think a lot more could be done horticulturally with this group. One of my 
aims was to produce polyploid hybrids, but I never had the time before 
becoming ill. It would make a fantastic project for someone and given how 
quickly Anomathecas can be flowered from seed..

Best Wishes,
Dave (Penxzance, UK) 

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