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Tender Bulb: Freesias

Native to South Africa, Freesias yield colorful, fragrant flowers on only one side of their arching stems (zygomorphic). The tender bulbs may be fall-planted outdoors in HZ 9-10. In HZ 3-8, hold the bulbs over the winter in 60°F, dry conditions and plant them outdoors after any threat of spring frost has passed. Plant the bulbs 2" deep and 4" apart (tip up) in full sunlight and well-draining soil. Allow the foliage to die back naturally. (In HZ 3-8, lift the bulbs after the first fall frost and store over the winter or discard.)

Freesias are among the most prized potted and cut flowers grown indoors in cool, bright greenhouse conditions with good air ventilation without precooling. Pot the bulbs 2" apart and 2" deep in sterile potting soil in well-draining pots. Place them in a 50° to 60°F greenhouse in light shade until the sprouts are 2" tall, then, shift the pots into bright greenhouse sunlight and stake the plants. Water evenly and consistently. Later, as the foliage grows, garden twine may be wrapped around the stakes to support the foliage and flower-laden stems. Lack of flowers or malformed flowers results from too little sunlight and/or too much heat. They flower in 12 to 14 weeks or so once potted. Bulb size: 5 cm/up. HZ: 9-10. Pricing per individual selection:

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