Freesias can be grown indoors with a little care and patience. Not everyone lives in a nice warm part of the country that enables freesias to be grown outdoors in their yard and garden. They can, however, be grown indoors, along with hyacinths and other popular houseplants so that you can also enjoy their beauty. Unlike tulips, which are bulbs and already contain dormant flower buds, freesias are corms that form their flower buds as they grow. Because of this fact, freesias will be a little more of a challenge to force indoors. All you need to do is be aware of their needs and give them proper care you will do fine. Your reward will be a pot of fragrant, colorful blossoms.
1. Potting Freesia Corms- Freesias need a well-drained soil, so your potting mix should be at least one-third vermiculite or perlite. It should also have a neutral pH. Fill the pot to within two inches of the rim, then set the freesia corms on top of the mix two inches (5cm) apart with their ends pointed up. Do not overcrowd the corms as their roots will need space in order to provide adequate nourishment as the plant grows. Once the corms are in place, cover them with an inch (2.5 cm) of soil, then water thoroughly.
2. Siting the Pots- To become compact flowering plants, freesias require a cool period- 55 degrees for about 45 days. Light is not needed until the first leaves show, so a good place to store the pot at this stage is in an unheated garage or basement, or a well-insulated cold frame.
Once green tips emerge, move the plants to a slightly warmer (65 - 70 degrees) [18 - 21 degrees C.], brightly lit location. Light is very important at this stage because the plants need to produce enough food to form flowers. Grow lights can be used for your indoor plants and bulbs.
Don’t be discouraged by hearing all of these requirements. As long as your freesias receive sufficient light, they will manage to bloom. Warmer temperatures, however, will delay flowering and increase bud drop.
3. Supporting the Stems- Your pot of freesias will soon be filled with an abundance of lush, straplike foliage. The plants need some sort of support to keep the leaves from flopping over the side of the pot and to hold up the long flower stem.
You can buy wire supports for this purpose. Twigs pushed into the soil will also do the job, or you can form a cage around the rim of the pot by inserting bamboo stakes and looping string from one stake to the next. Or, use pre-made sticks that can be purchased from a hardware store. Position them into the pot when you plant your corms.
4. Fertilize and Water- Fertilize the plants weekly with a neutral (non-acid) fertilizer. Throughout the plants’ growth, keep the soil moist not sopped. Some municipal water has been know to injure freesias, but this should not be a problem if you use a neutral fertilizer and potting mix.
Your first blossoms may appear between two and four months after planting. They will probably greet you with their sweet aroma even before their soft, cheery purple, red, yellow, or white petals catch your eye. You should continue to fertilize and water them as long as the plants are in bloom, which should be a few weeks.