Freesia is a herbaceous plant with tunnel-shaped flowers that create a beautiful focal point or accent to any garden. Freesia grows from bulbs that can be potted or planted in the ground. If you've planted these popular flowers this year, you may be wondering about their bulb care. Like, what do you do with these bulbs after the flowering season? You are in the right place. We gathered all the information you need to properly care for your freesia bulbs, so you can keep enjoying your flowers next year.
When your freesia has finished flowering, the remaining leaves will die off. After the leaves die and before the first frost, you should lift the bulbs from the soil to store them in a warm, frost-free place until next year.
You know that freesia bulbs need to be protected in the winter months, but what is the proper way to store them? Keep reading as we give you proper storage recommendations for your bulbs and tell you what month they can go back into the ground.
Freesia Bulb Care
Bulbs are root structures of your plant that sit underground. You might hear freesia bulbs referred to as corms. Growing freesia from prepared bulbs increases your success with getting blooming flowers. It is possible to grow these flowers via seed, but the chances of this plant dying is higher, and it will take a couple of years to get big enough to bloom.
Freesia bulbs are heat-treated to grow better in different climates. The heat treatment of bulbs is necessary for planting in most zones, as these flowers originated in hot climates like those in South Africa.
Let's talk about care instructions for these bulbs. Whenever you're dealing with freesia bulbs, check them over to ensure they are healthy. Moldy or soft bulbs can be compromised and should be thrown out. Mold causes problems for obvious reasons, while soft spots typically point to rot.
After supporting your flowers through growth and their flowering season, you will prepare the bulbs for storage. When you see the flower heads dying off, cut away the fading flowers and reduce watering.
When the leaves die back completely, remove the bulb from the soil. You want to avoid cutting the leaves prematurely. A good rule is to never cut green leaves, let them die back on their own.
The bulbs can be stored and replanted next year if cared for properly. Note that these bulbs will no longer be heat-treated, which impacts the timing of when they need to be replanted.
How Do You Store Freesia Bulbs?
After you remove your bulbs from the soil, gently clean off any soil or foliage that is present. When you remove the dirt, you may see small cormels growing off your bulb. Use your fingers to remove these as well. You can add a mix of fungicide and insecticide to your clean bulbs for added protection during storage.
Lay your bulbs out on newspaper in a cool, dark, dry area. Make sure the bulbs aren't touching one another and allow them to dry and cure over three weeks. After curing, check your bulbs again for any damage or soft spots. Place dry, healthy bulbs in labeled paper bags with a little peat moss.
Proper labeling of freesia species is important, as each species may have different planting and care requirements. The recommended storage temperature is 77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit for the majority of freesia bulbs. Keep your bulbs dry and warm until the next planting season.
Do Freesia Bulbs Need To Be Dug Up?
Freesia bulbs do need to be dug up. These flowers are perennials, but they, unfortunately, do not survive frosts or freezing temperatures. Leaving bulbs in the ground over winter means these fragrant flowers will not be making a return the following year.
When digging up your freesia bulbs, you need to dig a depth of 8 inches (ca. 20 centimeters) around the plant. You want to be careful not to damage the plant's base or touch your shovel to the plant's roots. Lifting the soil surrounding your plant makes it easier to remove. This process should be done mindfully and with patience.
Read more on our blog post, How To Store Tulip Bulbs After Digging Them Up?
What Month Do You Plant Freesia Bulbs?
What month you plant your Freesia bulbs can change depending on the bulb. If you are planting brand-new bulbs that have been heat-treated or live in a warmer zone, you can plant these flowers in March or April.
When planting bulbs from the previous year, you should plant them in late April through June, well after any chance of frost. Remember, reused bulbs lose the effects of heat treatment and become a bit more sensitive to cool temperatures.
If you are questioning if your timing is too early, go the safe route of waiting a bit longer. You want to avoid getting your bulbs in the ground too soon, just to experience a lethal, unexpected frost.
Maybe you have the option to start growing your freesia indoors. To get early summer flowering, you can begin to grow your flowers inside by planting them in pots during January or February.
Keep them covered indoors, and then transplant your flowers to the ground in the spring. Freesia takes about four months to flower. Consider staggering your planting times to get blooms all Summer long.
Read more on our blog post, When To Plant Perennials [By Zone And State].
Should I Soak Freesia Bulbs Before Planting?
You should soak your freesia bulbs before planting. The time to soak varies on the gardener and the different time frames hold unique benefits. When working with new bulbs, soak them in water for 2 to 60 minutes. This time allows the water to soften the outside tunic of the bulb, promoting growth.
If you start soaking your bulbs and forget they are in there, don't worry. Freesia bulbs can soak for much longer than these 60 minutes and can gain more for it.
If you're planting in the fall, soak your bulbs for 12 hours in water before planting. This elongated time in the water promotes growth from your bulb to begin immediately. Doing this can speed up the growth process by two to three weeks.
Place soaked bulbs about 1-2 inches under the soil and continue to water them regularly. When placed in the soil, keep the tip of the bulb facing upwards and give about 1-inch of space in between each. It is vital for the growth of this flower to keep the well-drained soil moist. Only stopping watering in the dormant season.
Have a look at the video below for some additional planting tips for your freesia:
Do You Deadhead Freesia?
In the full summer sun, you may notice some dead or wilting blossoms within your freesia. Are there benefits to deadheading this plant? There are! Deadheading the flower heads on your freesia can extend the blossoming period and lifespan of your plant.
It is important to deadhead flower bloom heads before they seed. You can do this by cutting the flower head from the stem with pruners or simply pinching the flower bloom off with your thumb and forefinger.
Check your plant daily for wilting flowers, and maintain this process throughout the blooming period. Deadheading not only promotes growth but it keeps your plants looking fresh and aesthetically pleasing.
Read more on our blog post, How Long Do Flowers Typically Take To Grow?
Freesia bulbs need specific care after the plant's blooming period if you want to enjoy them the following year. Bulbs can be dug up and stored, safe from frost and cold temperatures. Overwintering them in dry, warm areas will keep them safe to plant again in the spring.
Freesia is a perennial herbaceous plant, that unfortunately, will die in cold temperatures. We hope you found this article helpful when caring for your freesia bulbs this season, and you get to enjoy your flowers for yet another year by utilizing the information here. Happy gardening!
Looking to add more flowers to your garden? Have a look at our blog post, Where To Buy Peony Plants Or Bulbs Online [Top 50 Stores]