Foliage Friday: Freesias

Can you believe I didn’t know what a freesia was until last week? I know I’ve heard the name before, but I couldn’t tell you what they looked like.

Last week, I noticed my attending had a few beautiful stems of some flowers in a cup of water on her desk. I complimented her on them, and she said, “They’re freesias.” She asked if I wanted to take them, as she thought they were aggravating her allergies. I demurred, but the next morning, they were sitting on my desk.

I recognized these flowers as the same as some flowers that are out in front of our house. They’re flopped over and past their prime now, so I couldn’t get a good photo.

I also saw them in large pot around the Stanford campus.

Apparently the floppiness is an attribute of all freesias, not just the ones in front of our house. They benefit form staking if you want to keep them standing up. I think they look nice in a pot like this (not so much flopping over a walkway).

Freesias are corms and are native to South Africa. In South Africa, they begin to send up foliage in the fall and winter when it is rainy. Then they bloom in the spring and go dormant in the hot, dry summer. (Kind of like cyclamen). Palo Alto’s weather recapitulates this climate pretty well. In fact, in zones 9 and 10, freesias can be grown as perennials. If planted in the fall like other bulbs, they will bloom in the spring. In zones 8 and below, they won’t survive the winter, so they have to be grown as annuals: plant the corms in the spring. You can supposedly save the corms from year to year by digging them up, kind of like dahlia tubers.

How pretty!

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