Fragrant freesias may not be the first flower that comes to mind when you think of desert gardening, but this perennial can and does grow in the Phoenix area. They are part of the Iris family or Iridaceae.
Freesias have a fruity scent and make excellent cut flowers. It is considered the flower of friendship.
When to Plant Freesia in Phoenix, Arizona
Freesias are native to South Africa and do well in USDA hardiness garden zones 9 and 10. In Phoenix plant bulbs/corms in the fall before the first frost. Fall is the best time of year to grow freesia. The best time to plant in Phoenix is in the months of September and October.
In Phoenix first frost usually happens around the middle of December. Planting before then will give freesia time for their roots to establish.
How to Grow Freesia
Freesia grow well in well-drained soil with morning sun. Dig a hole twice as deep as the size of the bulb or about 2 inches deep. You can put 6-10 bulbs in in each hole, but space the bulbs at least two inches apart.
Bulbs should be planted with the pointy side facing up. If you want to extend their bloom time, plant corms in succession.
How to Care for Freesia
Freesia are tender perennials and grow best when the temperature is 60-70 degrees fahrenheit. Choose a sunny site, preferably one that receives morning sun. Freesia prefer soil with a pH level between 6-7.
They can grow up to 12-16 inches tall in height.
After planting water freesia water well. Then water about an inch a week. Once they start sprouting water so soil is moist. Bulbs don’t like to be soggy, so make sure you have good drainage.
Freesia are perennial bulbs or corms. They will multiply and should be divided every couple years.
The blooms can be too heavy and the stalks will need to be staked. If needed, we like to use the bamboo stakes. Dead head or cut off any faded blooms. Cut back the foliage when it turns yellow.
When do Freesia Bloom
Freesia usually bloom about four months from when they are planted. Their sweet scented blooms are viewed from February through March.
These fragrant flowers do well in containers, garden beds, and borders.