state your name
With no common name, these South African natives are known to all by their botanical name, Freesia, which has several pronunciations: free-zhuh, free-zhee-uh, free-zee-uh and FREE-see-uh.
take a good look
Freesia inflorescences comprise five to 10 trumpet-shaped florets and buds along the topside of a curved stem, sometimes referred to as a "comb." Sweetly fragrant, Freesias are available in single- and double-flowered varieties.
Stems are smooth, thin and often branched and can be as long as 2 feet. Foliage is narrow and sword shaped.
Freesias are available in a wide range of "reds," pinks, oranges, rust/bronze, yellows, lavender, violet (purple), blue-violet, red-violet, white and cream—virtually every color except green and true blue. Some Freesia varieties are bicolored or multicolored.
making scents of it all
The intensity of these flowers' fragrance varies considerably among cultivars. Yellow, white and cream varieties are often more fragrant than other colors.
spring, summer and all
Cut Freesias are available year-round.
For maximum vase life, purchase cut Freesias when the first bud on each stem is just beginning to open and at least two additional buds are showing color. If Freesias are cut too tight, many buds may not open.
outside the box
Unpack Freesias immediately upon their arrival. Remove stem bindings as well as any loose leaves. Sleeves may be left on at this stage, to help protect the blooms, but they should be removed eventually to allow for air circulation among the blooms and stems.
ready for a drink
Recut stems with a sharp blade, removing at least 1 inch of stem. This will remove debris and other stem-plugging microbes in stem ends. Immediately after cutting, dip or place stem ends into a hydration solution to help the flowers absorb water more quickly and easily.
on the waterfront
For best results, place Freesias immediately into a nutrient solution formulated especially for bulb flowers. If using a bulb-flower-specific solution is not possible, place Freesias into a standard flower-food solution.
Whichever flower-food solution you use, prepare it with cold nonfluoridated water. Fluoride can inhibit bloom development and opening and cause flower and leaf tip burn.
After processing Freesias, immediately place them into a floral refrigerator at 33 F to 35 F, and allow them to hydrate for at least two hours before selling or arranging them. Except for design time, keep these flowers refrigerated until sold or delivered. Prolonged refrigeration, however, can cause chilling injury and diminish fragrance, so sell cut Freesias within two days of receipt.
issues with ethyl
Freesias are moderately sensitive to ethylene gas, which causes buds and blooms to drop, buds to become malformed or fail to develop, petals to become translucent and blooms to die more quickly. Make sure your purchases are treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the grower level or during shipping. Also, protect these flowers from sources of ethylene gas in your store.
facts of life
Cut Freesias typically last four to 12 days at the consumer level, depending on variety, care, maturity at the time of sale and the environmental conditions in which they're displayed. If the buds on the lateral (branching) stems develop and open, the blooms generally will not be as large, colorful or long lasting as the blooms on the main stem.
Freesias are members of the Iridaceae (Iris) family and are related to Irises, Crocuses, montbretias (Crocosmias), Gladioli, Ixias and Watsonias, among others.