Freesias are understandably one of the most popular flowers. Their elegant foliage and fragrant flowers make them the perfect candidates for flower beds and vases.

Jun 02, 2021 07:06 am
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Growth type
  • Onion
Growth height (from)
from 25 cm to 40 cm
Growth characteristics
  • narrow
  • upright
Flower color
  • purple
  • yellow
  • orange
  • red
  • white
  • multicolored
Flowering time (month)
  • July to September
Flower shape
  • Spike
  • Funnel
Flower characteristics
  • lightly fragrant
Leaf color
  • green
page format
  • grassy
  • long
  • narrow
Fruit shape
  • Capsule
  • sunny to semi-shade
Soil type
  • sandy to loamy
Soil Moisture
  • fresh to humid
ph value
  • weakly alkaline to neutral
Nutrient requirements
  • nutrient-rich
  • rich in humus
Decorative or utility value
  • Flower Decoration
  • Scented plant
  • Flowerbeds
  • Bouquets
  • Planters
  • Rebates
Garden style
  • cottage garden
  • Flower garden
  • Pot garden

Freesia (Freesia x hybrida) belong to the Iridacea family. They were introduced to Europe from South Africa about 100 years ago as houseplants. People soon discovered their appeal in flower bouquets. Later, resourceful breeders selected freesia that also tolerated cool temperatures. This made it possible to move them into the garden. The bulb flowers were named after the researcher and doctor Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese, who lived in the 19th century.


Freesias are permanent bulb flowers. They are characterized by slender growth and reach between 9.84 and 15.75 inches tall. Graceful side inflorescences develop on long stems between their elegant, soaring, grass-like leaves.


Upright, long, and narrow flawless leaves with a smooth red margin are the hallmark of freesias.


From July, elegant, funnel-shaped flowers open on tall stems as branched, overhanging spikes. Breeders have really developed a broad range of charming flower shades. So Freesia x hybrida are not only available in white, yellow, and orange, but also in red and purple varieties in many shades. Some freesias even have several colors or surprise us with double-flowers. They also exude a fine fragrance that is reminiscent of lilacs, roses, and sometimes also lemons.

Freesia flowers
The attractive Freesia flowers exude a pleasant fragrance

Most Freesia varieties available commercially handle our climate well, but they are still sensitive to changes in the weather. If the summer is warm and sunny, freesias flower abundantly into September. If the summer is cool and damp, the flower offering can be somewhat more sparse. But you can take countermeasures: Regularly pruning the stems after the flowers have finished blooming promotes the formation of new flowers.


Freesia x hybrida form irregular, spherical capsule fruit after flowering. They contain round, light to dark brown, shiny seeds.


Freesias generally love warm, sunny places protected from the rain. However, they are also satisfied with somewhat less sun in bright, semi-shade. If they are exposed to blazing sunshine for a long time, they need a permanently moist soil to compensate.

Freesias need a sunny location
Freesias love a sunny place in the garden

Freesias are happiest in a permeable, humus-rich, and moist soil. Freesia x hybrida dislike permanent dryness as much as they do waterlogging. The pH value should be in the neutral, or ideally, alkaline range.


Some garden centers offer freesias pre-cultivated in pots. However, they are generally sold in bags as bulbs. Please check the quality! Because only undamaged bulbs will grow good shoots. Freesias should only be planted in the soil from the middle of May as they are very sensitive to frost. However, it is still worthwhile buying bulbs early and storing them in the dark at room temperature. Experience has shown that they grow shoots better with this type of treatment. It is also worth bathing the bulbs in warm water before planting.

The bulbs should be planted 2 to 3.94 inches deep at a distance of between 3.94 and 7.87 inches apart. It is important to loosen the soil deep down before planting. Freesias look best when they are planted together in tuffs.


Despite their preference for warm, sunny places, freesias are fans of moist soils. So they should be regularly watered during dry periods - from the time they are planted until they flower. They have a less sensitive reaction if they are in dry conditions for a period. Make sure that you do not pour water on the flowers from above. Freesia x hybrida are sensitive to salt, so they should be fertilized very sparingly. However, they are grateful for a potassium-rich fertilizer when they open their buds. Freesias are also happy in sandy soils enriched with compost and an organic fertilizer. The bulbs can be overwintered indoors, however it is not generally worthwhile, as the prepared bulbs only set forth flowering shoots once.

Where to Plant

Freesias have a natural elegance that works with any garden style. They are in good stead in a rural farm garden as well as a purist, modern city garden. They can be combined with bright colors or tone-in-tone with other summer bulb flowers, or to fill gaps between roses and shrubs. Freesia x hybrida are also the perfect summer candidates by themselves in pots on the balcony and patio.

Freesias as cut flowers
Freesias are perfect as cut flowers for colorful bouquets

Freesias have been extremely popular as cut flowers for over 100 years. This is because the timeless classic flowers can last longer than 15 days in a vase - provided its flower stems are cut as low down as possible as soon as the first flowers open. In addition, the water should never be changed in the vase, but only every refilled. Freesias are traditionally popular at weddings as a symbol of love. In plant symbolism they are known as the flower of innocence.


You can find an overview of the Freesia x hybrida varieties here:

  • Freesias with white flowers: ‘Elegance’, ‘Polaris’; double: ‘Double Dutch’
  • Varieties with yellow flowers: ‘Aladin’, ‘Cinderella’; double: ‘Golden Wave’, ‘Yvonne’
  • Light blue flowers: ‘Blue Heaven’
  • Dark blue flowers: ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Cote d´Azur’
  • Red flowers: ‘Rapid Red’; double: ‘Fresco’, ‘Marianne’
  • Pink flowers: ‘Margaret’, ‘Mosella’; double: ‘Rossini’
  • Purple double: ‘Purple Rain’

Freesias can be propagated through seeds. However, the chances of success are moderate and the offspring may look different to the parents. If you want seeds, harvest them as soon as the seed capsules have dried up on the flower stem. The seeds should be left to dry for one to two days in the air before storing them in a closed container. Soak the seeds in lukewarm water for at least one day before sowing out in the early spring. A soil-sand mixture is a suitable substrate.

Diseases and Pests

Freesias occasionally fall victim to viral diseases. The freesia mosaic virus is an annoyance. It turns the leaves brown and stunts the flowers. The bean mosaic virus is just as bad. It turns the leaves yellow before they dry up from the tips inwards. As it is transmitted by lice, an infestation can be prevented with timely intervention. But if Freesia x hybrida suffers from bulb rot, the entire plant withers and the bulb rots. Dispose of diseased plants in the household waste and not on the to prevent this illness from spreading.

Freesias often develop diseases because they are treated incorrectly. Thus, gray mold can appear if the leaves are permanently moist. Classic symptoms are flecks and a gray mold coating. Freesia flowers can dry out if their location is too shady and warm. And what if the bulbs in the garden don’t grow shoots? Then this is often because the voles have struck.