Family: Iridaceae

Freesias are South African cormous plants, loved for their beautiful colours and delicious perfume. The many hybrids range in colour from creamy white through yellow, orange, red, purple, brown, lavender and blue. Low-growing and hardy, they have slender, strap-like leaves and erect flower spikes extending above the leaves in late winter and early spring, depending on the climate. The funnel-shaped flowers grow to 5 cm (2 in) long, with about five to seven on each stem, and make good cut blooms.


F. refracta is a low, tufted plant, to about 30 cm (12 in), with creamy yellow, very fragrant flowers borne in one-sided spikes in late winter and spring.

Modern hybrids, classed as Freesia x hybrida, come in a wide colour range, including red, blue, mauve, pink and purple. Most have no scent. Large, yellow and plain white types generally have the best perfume.


Except in frost-free or relatively frost-free climates, freesias are grown in an airy, cool greenhouse or conservatory as pot plants. Use pots of soil-based compost for the corms, which can be planted in late summer or early autumn. Freesias need good light but shade from direct sun. When flowering is over, watering is gradually reduced until the compost becomes dry. The corms are then stored dry and cool until planting time again. Freesias to be grown in the garden are planted in autumn, 8 cm (3 in) deep, in a sunny position with well-drained soil. Freesias can also be grown from seeds sown in autumn and germinated at 18°C (64°F).


Zone 9.